Borat: Satire, Politics, and National Image in the Post-Soviet "East"

Guest lecture by professor Robert A. Saunders

In his lecture, professor Saunders will explore Western mass media’s tendency to treat the post-Soviet republics as an undifferentiated and ridiculous morass, which can be used as handy geopolitical setting for corruption, poverty, backwardness, intolerance, and – most importantly – self-righteous laughter. He will delve into the history of Borat, from the character’s humble beginnings as an unnamed Moldovan to his worldwide fame and well-documented feud with the government of Kazakhstan. And he will discuss the major findings of his book The Many Faces of Sacha Baron Cohen: Politics, Parody, and the Battle over Borat and the longer-term impact of the "Boratistan" parody on the post-Soviet realm.

Robert A. Saunders is a Professor at the Department of History and Political Science at Farmingdale State College (SUNY), where he teaches courses on comparative religions, global politics, and world history. His geographic areas of focus include Russia and Central Asia, Europe, and the Muslim world. His research explores the impact of popular culture and mass media on geopolitics, nationalism, and religious identity.

Contact person Tine Roesen, Russian Studies, ToRS,