Maputo – City of the Future!

I recently stumbled across an old class project I did for an intensive Russian course that served as a tourist promo for the capital of Mozambique, Maputo. As you might imagine, after the end of the Cold War there hasn’t been much need for Russian-language advertising. Then again, because of the 1977-1992 Civil War, there probably wasn’t too great of an interest from Russians in visiting either.

That being said, I had the chance to visit in 2010 and loved the experience. It’s a city whose buildings are frozen in time, although that time happens to be a mish-mash of 19th century Portuguese colonialism and 20th century Marxist-Leninist brutalism. Mostly I loved the fish market, though.

Anyway, if you want to relive my past (and the city’s) then here’s a cheesy powerpoint with corny effects, so caveat emptor: Мапуто.

Generations and Radicalism

A quick overview of relevant Estonians
A quick chronology of some relevant Estonians (click for full-size)

Anyone with a cursory knowledge of Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons or Dostoevsky’s Demons is already familiar with the idea of generations in Russian radicalism. But rather than a conflict of ideologies or the disconnect between inflammatory speech and incendiary action, the Estonian example shows a steady build-up in pressure from the first generation, roughly those born in the mid-1850s to mid-1860s, through the next two generations of a decade apiece, the last of which featured participants in the revolution of 1905 as young as 16. Naturally it’s fair to question whether 10 years is long enough to even consider a generation, but I think it’s fair to suggest that these cohorts shared certain traits that distinguished them from one another. I need to think about it more systematically first, however.

Reading Suggestions for Dissertation Distraction

Reading for pleasure is one of those distractions that feels so wrong, yet is oh so necessary. I’m currently reading David Shields’ Reality Hunger after finishing some of his later works (all of which I recommend). There are times, though, when I finish someone’s oeuvre and find myself at a loss for what to read next.

No more! Whichbook has been great at recommending books based on thematic sliders. Although, to be fair, I base that entirely on the algorithm outputting Bernardo Atxaga’s Seven Houses in France, which has been on my to-read list for some time now. If I end up hating it, I’ll have to reevaluate this endorsement…

A Brave New World

I really ought to have more of an online presence, especially if I’m involved in the Digital Humanities community. At the very least you can expect to see a few recent conference presentations uploaded in the near future (and hopefully much more!).