Kaitlin Fertaly is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder whose research has broadly focused on the shifting practices of everyday life in Armenia following the collapse of the Soviet Union, with a particular focus on changing gender roles. More specifically, she has examined the geopoliticization of gender in Armenia, the impacts of the financialization of social reproduction, and geopolitical entanglements of doing research abroad. Kaitlin is currently a research associate at the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities at the University of Montana Missoula where she works on applied disability studies projects.


‘I Can’t Stay Here Anymore’: Cruel optimism and generational practices of endurance in post-Soviet Armenia

Different generations of Armenians have experienced and responded to the nearly constant upheaval of post-Soviet Armenian society in markedly divergent ways. Young women, in particular, are optimistic for new opportunities made possible by shifting gender roles and imaginations of a good life though they acknowledge the obstacles they face in terms of accessing those opportunities. Their world has become increasingly unrecognizable as they attempt to navigate between competing visions of a “good life”—one that worked for their parents’ generation and a “modern” vision of independence and mobility. This paper explores the affective and spatial practices of young women as they endure and navigate a shifting sense of the world to address the multiple “longings and belongings” that influence young women’s decisions to stay or to migrate. It specifically addresses the role of affect in shaping how individuals think of themselves, home, and their practices of mobility or enduring in place.

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