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Artis Ostups

Artis Ostups is a researcher at the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia, and a doctoral student at the University of Tartu, where he is also a member of the Narrative, Culture, Cognition research group. He previously studied philosophy at the University of Latvia and Charles University in Prague. His dissertation examines the heterogeneity of historical time in contemporary Latvian fiction.

University of Tartu

Institute of Cultural Research
Ülikooli 18
50090 Tartu


Personal site (etis.ee)

Heterogenity of Historical Time in the Contemporary Latvian Novel: A Comparative Perspective

My dissertation draws on trauma studies, contemporary philosophy of history and narrative theory to consider how time is experienced in post-Soviet Latvian fiction. I am particularly inspired by such concepts as melancholia (Dominick LaCapra), multitemporal present (Marek Tamm and Laurent Olivier), presence (Eelco Runia) and sublime historical experience (Frank Ankersmit). These philosophical concepts illuminate the non-linear nature of time after the decline of modern time regime which was driven by the idea of progress. As if arguing against this obsession with the future, post-Soviet fiction in Latvia and elsewhere is more concerned with the sudden and haunting return of traumatic past events. I contend that this phenomenon can be best understood by analyzing how philosophical concepts of time resonate with certain narrative structures and strategies. Ultimately, I address also the ethical questions behind the non-linear organization of time, showing how melancholia, especially in post-Soviet context, can function as a valuable reaction to the past.

  • “Tagadnes mirāža: vēsture un melanholija,” in Tagadnības skārums: veltījumkrājums profesorei Mārai Rubenei, ed. Igors Gubenko. Rīga: LU FSI [forthcoming in 2023]. (in Latvian)
  • “Metonymy, Presence, and the Ethics of Imagination in Postmemorial Writing: Andra Manfelde’s Zemnīcas bērni and Katja Petrowskaja’s Maybe Esther,” Interdisciplinary Literary Studies 25,1 (2023): 124–141, https://muse.jhu.edu/pub/2/article/882365.
  • “Secondary Witnessing and Narrative Erasure in Inga Gaile’s The Beautiful Ones,” Colloquia 50 (2022): 13-28, https://doi.org/10.51554/Coll.22.50.02.
  • “Metarefleksivitāte un modernisms Montas Kromas dzejā,” in Monta Kroma: dzeja un refleksija, ed. Artis Ostups, Jānis Ozoliņš and Kārlis Vērdiņš. Rīga: LU LFMI, 2022, 180–198. (in Latvian)
  • “‘The Scar Will Always Be There’: The Post-Soviet Melancholia in Gundega Repše’s Conjuring Iron,” Interlitteraria 25,2 (2020): 408–421, https://doi.org/10.12697/IL.2020.25.2.12
  • “No melanholijas līdz sērām: padomju okupācijas trauma Gundegas Repšes romānā ‘Dzelzs apvārdošana’ un Noras Ikstenas romānā ‘Mātes piens’,” Letonica 40 (2019): 114–128, http://lulfmi.lv/page/view?link=LETONICA-Nr-40-%282019%29.  (in Latvian)
  • “Rēgs, fotogrāfija un atbildība Paula Bankovska romānā ’18’,” Aktuālas problēmas literatūras un kultūras pētniecībā 24 (2019): 133–144. (in Latvian)
  • “Modernisma ietekmes mūsdienu dzejā,” in Latviešu literatūra 2007–2015, ed. Kārlis Vērdiņš. Rīga: LU LFMI, 2018, 159–187. (in Latvian)
  • “Valtera Benjamina un Teodora V. Adorno lirikas teorija: valoda starp reprezentāciju un neizsakāmo,” Letonica 34 (2016): 69–80, http://lulfmi.lv/Letonica-Nr34-2016. (in Latvian)
  • “Fluchtpunkte – Ostseeraumnarrative,” panel discussion and readings at the Tage baltischer Literatur, Literaturhaus Zürich in cooperation with the IRTG Baltic Peripeties, Zurich, February 25, 2023.
  • Project presentation at the IRTG Festive Anniversary Baltic Sea Region Narratives, Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg, Greifswald, April 6, 2022.
  • “Pagātnes klātbūtne Ināras Vērzemnieks darbā ‘Starp dzīvajiem un mirušajiem’,” (in Latvian) conference Aktuālas problēmas literatūras un kultūras pētniecībā, Liepāja University, March 24-25, 2022.
  • “Metonymy, Presence and Ethical Imagination in Postmemorial Writing: Andra Manfelde’s ‘Children of the Bunker and Katja Petrowskaja’s ‘maybe Esther‘,” conference Regīna Ezera and Eastern European Literature, Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia, National Library of Latvia, December 3-4, 2021.
  • “The Ethics of Unnarrated: Collective Trauma in Gundega Repše’s Novel ‘Conjuring Iron‘,35th International Conference on Narrative, International Society for the Study of Narrative, New Orleans, March 5-7, 2020.
  • “The Demands of History: Conceptualizing the Post-Revolutionary Melancholy of Contemporary Latvian Fiction,” 13th International Conference of the Estonian Association of Comparative Literature (EACL), Department of Literature and Theatrical Studies of the University of Tartu, September 29 – October 1, 2019.
  • “’Unfillable Void’: Photography and Melancholy in Pauls Bankovskis’s Novel ’18‘,3rd Memory, Melancholy and Nostalgia International Interdisciplinary Conference, University of Gdansk, December 3-4, 2018.

University studies and degrees

  • Since 2019
  • Editor-in-chief of the interdisciplinary scholarly journal Letonica.
  • Since 2018
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Tartu.
  • Since 2017
  • Researcher at the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia.
  • 2011–2013
  • Master of Philosophy, University of Latvia.
  • 2008-2011
  • Bachelor of Philosophy, University of Latvia.


  • Since 2021
  • Creative Writing, Art Academy of Latvia, Riga.
  • Since 2021
  • Critical Theory, Art Academy of Latvia, Riga.