A Review of Kate Brown's "Dispatches from Dystopia: Histories of the Places Not Yet Forgotten Place."”. Slavic Review 76.2 (2017): , 76, 2, 504-505. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract“
Brown’s dispatches are not yet another exercise in self-absorbing autoethnography, a genre that has become prominent among scholars in the last three decades. When read together, her disparate observations merge into an important methodological message, framed succinctly as a deceptively simple question: “What is wrong with acknowledging being there?” Indeed, what is wrong in explaining the procedure through which the documents have been procured? What is wrong in admitting the partiality of knowledge that shaped the decision about selecting (or discarding) evidence? What is wrong in revealing one’s own affective relation to the people encountered and the topics discussed? The short answer is nothing. Brown’s perceptively-narrated book is an inspiring example of historical research that treats uncertainties not as deficiency but as a reason for questioning the conclusiveness and finality of the organizing and mapping practices of historical research.