Slavic Colloquium

Several times every quarter, the Slavic colloquium brings a variety of scholars - established professors and recently minted PhDs, from the US and other countries - to share their recent research in Slavic and Eurasian languages, literatures, and cultures. The events are hosted by the Slavic Department but open to any interested listeners.


Boris Gasparov, Columbia University
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 17:15 - 18:30
Building 260, Room 216

Kant’s critique of cognition, by laying bare categories inherent to pure reason, caused what could be called “metaphysical anxiety” among the generation of the 1790s: a feeling that the self is imprisoned in its own consciousness and cut off from the absoluteness of the universe. While philosophical idealism, beginning with Fichte, sought to assert the absoluteness of the ‘I’, early Romantics envisioned a “dialogical” solution, whereby the Self overcomes its inherent limitation by reaching out to the Other, and through the multiplicity of...

Yury Leving, Dalhousie University
Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 17:15 - 18:30
Building 260, Room 216

The technogenic image of a human in a water-resistant costume arrived in Russia not long before the launch of the diving school – first and foremost thanks to the educational belles-lettres then in translation, in particular, Jules Verne’s novels. The Russian poets of the 1920s and 1930s became extremely interested in the image of the diver, the Übermensch who has allowed poetic imagination to roam the heretofore unseen, mysterious universe of the underwater column. Taking the image of the diver as a paradigmatic object of poetic imagination, Leving will offer some observations...

Boris Wolfson, Amherst College
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 17:15 - 18:30
Building 260, Room 216

Boris Wolfson, Amherst College

‘Stage Fright: Performing (for) Stalin in New Soviet Drama, 1932-1934’

January 16, 2013: 5.15pm

Pigott Hall (Building 260), Room 216

The task of creating new scripts for the Soviet stage was invested in the early 1930s with an urgency that complicates our understanding of the era's cultural dynamics. The contradictory attempts to define a Soviet dramatic idiom played a crucial role in shaping one of the decade's most important spectacles of power, the First Congress of Soviet Writers. How do the...

Kevin Platt, University of Pennsylvania
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 17:15 - 18:30
Building 260, Room 216

‘Modernism’s Long Century’

February 13, 2013: 5.15pm

Pigott Hall (Building 260), Room 216

During the 1980s and 1990s, scholars and cultural commentators from the left (TJ Clark, Peter Bürger) and from the right (Francis Fukuyama) converged in suggesting that modernism had come to its end—an end at times attributed to the failure of the modernist or avant-garde project, and at others figured as the triumph of a single project for modernity. Yet in the course of the past ten years, it has become clear that that "post-modernist...

Devin Fore, Princeton University
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 17:15 - 18:30
Building 260, Room 216

‘The Emergence of Soviet Factography’

February 27, 2013: 5.15pm

Pigott Hall (Building 260), Room 216

Despite its presumed association with the documentary impulses found in Europe and the Americas, Soviet factography, which flourished between 1924 and 1931, in fact bears little resemblance to these other movements. Its fleeting sketches, or ocherki, were a far more elusive genre than conventional documentary, closer to modes of avant-garde experimentation than to socialist realist didacticism. This talk pursues two inquiries, one formal-literary...

Irina Belobrovtseva, University of Tallinn
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 17:15 - 18:30
Building 260, Room 216

‘Stalin’s Secret Police in Mikhail Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita’

April 10, 2013: 5.15pm

Pigott Hall (Building 260), Room 216

Lecture in Russian
 

The lecture discusses a recurring motif in Bulgakov's novel that plays a crucial role in the author's entire oeuvre. The novel's "text-within-a-text" structure contrasts the secret police presence in ancient Yershalaim with that in the Moscow of the novel. Bulgakov’s grotesque depiction of Soviet State security reveals the writer's resolve...

Polina Barskova, Hampshire College
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 17:15 - 18:30
Building 260, Room 216

‘Poetics of Continuity and Destruction: Discovery of the Next Generation of The OBERIU Poets (1941-1942)’

April 17, 2013: 5.15pm

Pigott Hall (Building 260), Room 216

 

Amidst the vast yet primarily unstudied map of cultural production during the Siege, a unique place belongs to the poets of the Leningrad Avant-Garde, who continued the tradition of the group of Absurdist poets who called themselves OBERIU. While the members of OBERIU themselves—Aleksandr Vvedensky, Daniil Kharms, Nikolai Oleinikov and Konstantin Vaginov...

Wolf Schmidt, University of Hamburg
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 17:15 - 18:30
Building 260, Room 216

Wolf Schmid, University of Hamburg

‘Eventfulness: a New Field of Narratology’

April 24, 2013: 5.15pm

Pigott Hall (Building 260), Room 216

 

Eventfulness is an important narrative phenomenon and a major narratological tool applicable, in culture-specific and historically shifting circumstances, to all media representing changes of state. While it is not an objective category that can be generically applied to representations, it is at least in some of its parameters a hermeneutic, subject-dependent and context-sensitive...

Nikolai Bogomolov, Moscow State University
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 17:15 - 18:30
Building 260, Room 216

Nikolai Bogomolov, Moscow State University

'Silver Age as Subculture'

May 22, 2013: 5.15pm

Pigott Hall (Building 260), Room 216

 

Omry Ronen’s book The Fallacy of the Silver Age called the applicability of the term “Silver Age” into question. Professor Bogomolov's talk attempts to offer a justification for its existence. Typically, when scholars discuss the idea of “subculture,” they have in mind the opposition of subculture to the “mainstream.” However, it seems more...

Fedor B. Poljakov, University of Vienna
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 17:15 - 19:00
Building 260, Room 252

            This talk discusses different notions of the archaic in the history of modern Russian culture and the way they change over time. The talk takes as its material literary works and the debates that surround literary language -- what it should or should not be like. This controversy, which flared up in the 18th century and shows no signs of abating to this day, touches not only upon the purely technical questions of literary studies, but also upon ideological questions. Since the 18th century these debates have revolved around...

Bengt Jangfeldt
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 17:15 - 19:00
Building 260, Room 252

During the 1920’s, Mayakovsky was the leading Soviet poet. Not in the sense that he was the best one, but he dominated the literary scene by claiming to reflect and represent the new era better than others. This claim was not shared by the Party and the literary establishment, and during the first years after Mayakovsky’s suicide in 1930 his works were almost not published at all. However, in 1935 he was canonized by Stalin as the “best and most talented poet of our Soviet epoch”. After this began his evolution into a Monument. Over the years this monument came be...

Michael Gorham, University of Florida
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 17:15 - 19:00
Building 260, Room 216

The push and pull between language innovators and archaists in Russia dates back at least two centuries to the time of Shishkov and Karamzin and takes on particularly acute cultural meaning during times of radical social change. Particularly when members of a society in flux are looking for alternative guideposts and anchors, language becomes a potent symbol of continuity and change, of traditional and new thinking, of stability and innovation. In the most recent rendition of this battle for authority and identity through language, the period of change (beginning with perestroika and...

Michael Kunichika, New York University
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 17:15 - 19:00
Building 260, Room 216

Scattered throughout the South of the Russian Empire was a form of stone statuary commonly referred to as kamennye baby, or stone women. Long the subject of archaeological speculation, often of the wildest sort, the statuary became the object of sustained artistic attention during the modernist period in Russia. In this talk, Michael Kunichika examines an episode in the career of Russian  modernist appropriation of the statuary, when the poet Sergei Bobrov and the artist Natal'ia Goncharova laid claim to the statue as evidence of Russian's own "native antiquity" and...