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GeoCurrents Changes: Departure of Asya Pereltsvaig

Submitted by on April 28, 2014 – 11:39 am 24 Comments |  
ancient map of the worldDear Readers,

I am sorry to say that Asya Pereltsvaig is leaving GeoCurrents, effective immediately, due to personal reasons. As Asya is going her own way, she has taken all of her posts with her. I wish her well in her new endeavors.

I will continue to post articles on GeoCurrents, although the frequency of posting will decrease, at least for the next two months. Claire Negiar  will also offer a few posts over the next month. After that time, I will be doing all of the posting myself.

Finally, I will also be making some minor changes to the site, editing such features as “About GeoCurrents,”  and perhaps adding a few other features as well.

As always, I give my sincerely appreciation to Kevin Morton for his superb technical work on the site.

Comments and suggestions for future directions are welcome.

Best wishes,

Martin Lewis


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  • Muhammad

    No!! Madam Asya, I’ll miss your posts, this is sad news 🙁

    Please take good care of yourself Madam, thanks for all the work you’ve done, I will miss you 🙁

  • If that decision could be reversed, it would be a good thing.

    • I should also point out that not only are all of Asya’s excellent articles gone, but the comments to those articles are gone as well. I had hoped to go back and re-read the lengthy comments by the person who told us about the film Единожды солгав (now that I’ve watched it), but it seems that is no longer possible. I had also wanted to point out to Asya that the lead essay in the latest issue of The American Historical Review, about the micro-history of Heliogoland, reminded me of some of the recent articles here on geocurrents about islands and small countries with split heritages. Alas, all those good connections are gone. It would be great if they could come back.

  • abayer

    Why are the existing posts being removed? Are they ending up anywhere else online or just vanishing?

    • Verpadoro

      Yes, I agree.
      Is it possible to put them in one archive folder ?

      • Luke S.

        Hopefully they will not be removed forever.

  • Verpadoro

    I hope that she will be able to come back on Geocurrent one day.

    With the erasing of all of her articles, I think that many readers, like me, can think that the reason (“due to personal reasons”) is more complicated than this simple expression.

    I enjoy reading all of the post that are on Geocurrent : from Martin Lewis, from Claire Negiar, from Asya Pereltsvaig. Without Asya, the number of articles is going to drop.

  • Luke S.

    That is too bad. Hopefully sometime her articles can return. They were very interesting. I am glad you and Claire will still be posting.

  • Xezlec

    Darn. She was really interesting.

  • Dear Muhammad, Xezlec, Reticulator, abayer, Verpadoro, and Luke S.! Thank you very much for your touching comments — they tell me that my work was not all for nothing. I too enjoyed our discussions and will miss them, but it is time to move on. The posts had to come down with my departure for a number of legal and financial reasons. I don’t suppose we’d realized that the comments would be deleted as well, which is rather unfortunate. I do have the majority of them in my email account, however, so they are not gone forever!

    As I am going to work on other projects for the nearest future, I don’t have immediate plans for making my posts available elsewhere, as several of you asked for. I might at a later date post them on, my old blog which already contains many interesting posts, so check it out. It is quite likely that the number of posts on GeoCurrents will indeed drop, as Verpadoro said, and most likely its Facebook page will become less active, as I was doing all of the GeoCurrents Facebook outreach. If you’d like to receive timely updates on new GeoCurrents posts, please use some other subscription function (see the top of this page).

    Reticulator, could you please email me a link to your blog, as I would love to continue our discussions of Russian movies? I’ve been re-watching “Autumn Marathon” since we last spoke and I’d love to read your posts on it again.

    Once again, thank you all for the vote of confidence and best wishes to all the readers and to GeoCurrents!

    • Asya, thanks for getting back in touch with us. My Russian movie blog is at (I just now sent you a Facebook friend request, too, which you can do with as you wish, but you might not recognize it as coming from me, because on Facebook I use my real name – John Gorentz. And Facebook didn’t give me a chance to explain the connection.) I also [obnoxious self-promotion alert] have a blog at where I often get into maps and geographical topics, though not in the way and at the scale that GeoCurrents has done.

      • Hi Reticulator, aka John Gorentz! Thanks for the links to your blogs, I’ll be sure to check them both out. I don’t see a friend request on FB yet, but I will keep an eye out. We’ll be in touch!

    • SirBedevere

      I will, of course, be watching LanguagesOfTheWorld closely. This place won’t be the same without you.

    • Removing past posts from a blog is a highly unusual move, and the fact that you were by far the most frequent contributor makes this extra jarring. I think I speak for most readers when I say we would appreciate knowing more about what’s going on – but of course I wish you the best of luck with your future pursuits regardless.

    • Evgeniy

      Very sorry. It’s a loss for the Internet.

      I have a request, if I may. Could you please email me back (“explxxxx” at Google mail, “”) my comment on the movie “Having lied just once” («Единожды солгав»)? Unfortunately, I had not saved it on my computer. This comment is important for me personally; all the other writings of mine on this site, not really. I know I was not kind to you, but it would be nice of you if you did. I am *not* intending on getting personal, I would just like to have my comment. 😉 Thank you very much, Asya.


      • Evgeniy, no problem. Since another reader wanted to re-read the comment, I am pasting it below:

        I look at films from another perspective, more «philosophical» than «technical», and also I rather despise the role of an artistic movie as a means of talking about factual details themselves; not that they can’t do, of course, but their main goal, to which all other goals are in
        subordination, is different, otherwise a documentary would be much better off. So, my noting is different. I happened to watch Осенний марафон and Единожды солгав at approximately the same time, the two share the same main themes, that of a lie as a result to a lie to oneself and that of how one makes art, and I found that the treatment of both themes in Осенний марафон was, perhaps, more naïve and less serious. Of course, the sake of a movie (in that mov
        ies are very similar to literature) cannot be to *solve* a problem, for such goal a philosophical treatise would do better, but the goal is to pose a problem, show objects and their relations that invoke thinking on them, that constitute an interesting problem.

        So, Единожды солгав shew in which circumstances people lie and what they think about it; how lie transforms into truth both in their minds and in reality, and how it starts to affect their lives not openly, but from inside their acceptance. Also, the movie shew how art is nascent from those sprouts of truth that cannot leave the seeking mind; note, for example, how pictures of the Mission Control Center were gradually
        transforming into a combination of image-captured ideas that might give birth to a new painting. All that was a show, worthy following cogitation; is this so with “Осенний марафон”? In my opinion, partly. The same ideas are
        being evolved; but compare the main characters. In “Единожды солгав”, this is a person, who is shewn to have many sources of external influence on him. On the left hand, he seeks social agreement and is ready to bargain his principles; on the other hand, he quotes Pushkin
        and is ready to question explanations of life that he encounters, showing himself an adept of absolute freedom of art. Such strife of ideas is almost completely lacking in the case of the protagonist of “Осенний марафон”. He talks about “protest”, but does not seem to understand what it means. His lies are comical in how they do not have
        sometimes any practical purpose; for example, he does not want to tell to his amante that her gift, a costume, was torn by his wife. Why? maybe because he did not want to discuss further questions of life with his amante. Did that mean he was unable to think? Possibly.
        Anyway, this character appears impossible in his fixedness on one great trait: inability to internally oppose lie. There is no fight of considerations, like is shewn in Единожды солгав, so whithout details of this fight presented there is no material for further thinking. An impossible character is shewn, well then? Banal.

        Really, this is uneasy to guess where he finds mental resources for making art; an idea comes in that he is a charlatan. This idea is somewhat artificially denied by the scene where he works until midnight on a short story, but still. The latter observation, by the way, is probably
        condivided in one part by the authors of the movie. There is a scene where he gives a lesson of the art of translation at a college. He does not seem to be saying anything useful; but that’s even not the point. Remember the student with his homework that included a few sentences about some girl? The protagonist criticised his work off (which, indeed, had a major mistake in the last sentence), but, meanwhile, note how well these words corresponded to the image of the girl shown in close-up! There is a contrast between what he is saying and what we see; and then, saying that there is no search of new forms in his work, he did not give an
        examples how such claim might be substantiated, but instead initiated a meaningless contest among the students of providing words for substiution.

        These topics (mental freedom and nature of art) have nothing to do with politics; both of these topics are exercised in these movies without breaking faults, so both of these are quite bearable into the future. There are quite interesting details in Осенний марафон, which I won’t mention as I
        already wrote a lot in this comment. The movie appears internally self-consistent, which is an important feature.

  • Nicolas

    How sad to see Asya Pereltsvaig leave my fifth most visited website!

    GeoCurrents has been more than the strict sum of its parts. Altogether, posts from M. Lewis, those from A. Pereltsvaig and those from both have a great value in my eyes, making this site a solid, rich, well-informed, critical-minded and versatile source for thinking.

    Does anyone know if there is such a thing as a black market for complete and up-to-date blog archives? 🙂 Maybe the Internet wayback machine would help cure my already-growing nostalgia.

    I hope nothing unpleasant happened. Martin, Asya, I will try anyway to follow your works wherever each of you two choose to publish!

  • noornaj

    Oh my! I am so sorry to see Prof. Pereltsvaig go. I hope that maybe she and Prof. Lewis and others who write for will publish their posts (with or without the comments) as ebooks so we can continue to have access to the information. Thank you and good luck Prof. Pereltsvaig!

  • Nice information
    about geographical changes. It was a great work, Martin.

    I will be waiting for future posting.
    Thanks for this one.

  • D. Schwartz

    It’s sad to see you go. Your willingness to engage with us commentors, in spite of our stances, was wonderful and a great addition to your articles. I

    I hope your legal issues are not more than potentially troublesome.

    • Thank you for your kind words, D. Schwartz. I am still happy to engage in an occasional discussion, although lately I’ve not been following GeoCurrents as closely as I have in the past. Are you on Facebook?

      • D. Schwartz

        Well it’s a bit more random than what I present here. if you dare please accept my friend request if not that’s OK too and I wish you the best.