Jenny KaminerWomen with a Thirst for Destruction: The Bad Mother in Russian Culture

Northwestern University Press, 2014

by Julie Fette on January 20, 2015

Jenny Kaminer

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Jenny Kaminer‘s new book, Women with a Thirst for Destruction: The Bad Mother in Russian Culture (Northwestern University Press, 2014) analyzes Russian myths of motherhood over time and in particular, the evolving myths of the figure of the “bad mother.” Her study examines how political, religious, economic, social, and cultural factors affect Russians’ conception of motherhood throughout history: what motherhood is, and what it should be. Kaminer focuses on three critical periods of transformation and consolidation: the abolition of serfdom in 1861, the 1917 Russian Revolution, and the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. She investigates how good and bad mothers are depicted in various works of literature and culture, from Anna Karenina to media depictions of Chechen female suicide bombers in 2002. Winner of the 2014 Prize for Best Book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Women’s Studies from the Association for Women in Slavic Studies.

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