Friday, June 18, 2010

Soil and Soul: the Symbolic World of Russianness

by Elena Hellberg-Hirn

Fairly good for what it does, but a little uneven and some of the most interesting points cold have covered in more detail. The introduction and the way the work incorporates background anthropology and cultural analysis is compelling, and the main conclusions are reasonable. The work also becomes highly engaging in its analysis of food, material culture and racialized constructs of Russian identity as linked to each other. For too much of the rest of the book, though, the pace drags, content with summarizing a wide range of issues rather than exploring some of them in real detail. Could have been a lot more effective with narrower focus and tigher analysis of the most pivotal components of the examined history.

Worse than: Recipes for Russia by Alison Smith
Better than: Much Depends on Dinner by Margaret Visser

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