KU to host documentary and discussion of controversial Russian band Pussy Riot

Fri, 05/02/2014

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, together with the departments of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and the Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center, will host a showing of the documentary “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,” with a discussion the following day on the group’s significance in Russia.

The documentary will be shown from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, in the Malott Room of the Kansas Union. The accompanying talk will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 8, in the Kansas Room of the Kansas Union. Both the film showing and subsequent talk are free and open to the public.

The band Pussy Riot has been the subject of international attention since several of the band’s members were imprisoned for their role in performing a protest song inside the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. The 2013 Russian-British documentary “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,” a project of Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, follows the court cases of the Russian feminist/anti-Putin punk rock group. It aired on HBO in 2013.

The panel talk May 8 will feature Ani Kokobobo, assistant professor of Slavic languages and literatures, and Andrew Gilbert, doctoral student of women, gender and sexuality studies,  with Erik Scott, an assistant professor of history, as moderator.

In discussing the upcoming panel talk, Kokobobo noted the band’s continuing relevance in Russia.

“In addressing the 'past' of Pussy Riot we will consider questions such as: what made the punk prayer so offensive in Putin's Russia; and did the protest and arrest of Pussy Riot fit with a general atmosphere of protest in Russia at the time? We will also address the current factions in Pussy Riot after the release of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina," she said.

"Since the two formerly imprisoned members of the group have assumed prisoner's rights as an additional social cause, they have been publicly disowned by the Pussy Riot group. So we will discuss how the current agenda of the two women differs from the original agenda of the feminist punk group," she said. "We will examine how the commercial attention that Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina have received has affected their rapport with former band mates. Finally, we will speculate on the function of Pussy Riot in Russia's future.”  



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