Harriet Murav sees the interpretation of the supra in Harsha Ram’s article as advancing a third element within the binary opposition of the colonizer and the colonized: a national cultural form that escapes the confines of Benedict Anderson’s modular nationality. Murav accepts Ram’s approach, but problematizes the application of the term “sovereignty” (referring to Chatterjee, whose model Ram applies in his study) in the structural situation of absent political power. She discusses this in relation to Yiddish literature and the Jewish national imagination in the Russian empire and early USSR. She finds in Yiddish literature a number of different concepts of belonging that are not reducible to nationalism and have multiple cultural sources. She, however, does not see there the precolonial national sovereignty that Chatterjee finds in his analysis of Bengali culture. Georgians in the Russian empire as well as Jews as a Soviet nation did not have political sovereignty, and this should be taken into account when focusing on literary forms of the hybrid national imagination. The material conditions of freedom and unfreedom matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalAb Imperio
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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