In her transnational plays Lenin’s Shoe (2010) and Aliens with Extraordinary Skills (2010), Romanian American playwright Saviana Stănescu explores discourses of capitalist market economies, democracy, postsocialism, and gender that overlie the geographies of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the United States. Staging these discourses predominately by way of the embodied performances of US migrant women from Eastern Europe, Stănescu’s plays raise questions about the relationship between (post)socialist nations and the United States, and about the attendant ideologies of socialism and capitalism in the post-9/11 moment. These female characters drive change as well as navigate it, showing that gender is central to the creation, embodiment, and performance of knowledge. The focus on women protagonists as primary producers of a transnational knowledge—one that bridges US and (post)socialist histories—counters the idea that postsocialism, and especially postsocialist feminism, has remained invisible in the West, where Eastern Europe is assumed to be in the process of becoming like the West rather than representing an inherently different space, with its own set of (post)socialist knowledge.
Staging the Postsocialist Woman: Saviana Stănescu’s Alternative Transnations
Oana Popescu-Sandu is associate professor of world literature at the University of Southern Indiana. Her recent publications include articles in Journal of World Literature and Journal of European Studies (with Oana Godeanu-Kenworthy).
Oana Popescu-Sandu; Staging the Postsocialist Woman: Saviana Stănescu’s Alternative Transnations. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 March 2019; 65 (1-2): 167–186. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-7378861
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