Producing Whiteness through Format Adaptation: US Post-Soviet Diaspora on Transnational Reality TV

A Seminar with Claudia Sadowski-Smith (Arizona State University)

//Thursday, March 25 2021, 2-4 PM EST

//Online Event

//Suggested Reading

//Registration via Eventbrite

Located at the intersection of media and migration studies, this talk examines the representation of post-Soviet migration on transnational reality TV. Because performers with transnational ties are frequently cast to help facilitate the adaptation of popular formats to new cultural or national contexts, reality TV lends itself particularly well to an analysis of the mediated constitution of underrepresented migrant groups like the post-Soviet diaspora in the United States. Yet the demands of format adaptation restrict even shows produced by post-Soviet migrants to tired narratives of immigrant adaptation that racialize cast members as collectively “white” and uniquely different from other contemporary US migrant groups. The complexity and diversity of the post-Soviet diaspora only finds expression in migrants’ social media postings and interviews surrounding the shows.

Claudia Sadowski-Smith is Professor of English and American Studies at Arizona State University. She is the author of The New Immigrant Whiteness: Neoliberalism, Race, and Post-Soviet Migration to the United States (New York University Press, 2018), Border Fictions: Globalization, Empire, and Writing at the Boundaries of the United States (University of Virginia Press, 2008), and Globalization on the Line: Culture, Capital, and Citizenship at U.S. Borders (Palgrave, 2002). She has edited or co-edited two special journal issues, one on comparative border studies and the other on postsocialist literatures in the United States, and published articles on US-Canada and US-Mexico border literatures, comparative migration studies, and transnational adoption. She is currently at work on a special journal issue on representations of Global Post/Socialism.

Suggested Text: "Introduction: Presumed White: Race, Neoliberalism, and Modes of Migration in the Post-Soviet Diaspora." The New Immigrant Whiteness: Neoliberalism, Race, and Post-Soviet Migration to the United States (New York University Press, 2018)

Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University, 1250 Guy Street, FB 319,Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3H 2T4

Mailing address: Gem Lab, School of Cinema, FB 319, Concordia University, 

1455 Maisonneuve BLVD. West, Montreal, QC Canada, H3G 1M8


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