In recent years, the topic of energy has gained increasing prominence in both public and scholarly discourse. Amidst ever-intensifying competition for global energy markets and mounting ecological crisis, the history of energy production and the emergence of related forms of thought and aesthetic representation have stimulated intense interest across the humanities.
Co-sponsored by The Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies, the Dean for the Humanities, the Department of Anthropology, and the Environmental Humanities Initiative at the Center for the Humanities, this interdisciplinary symposium will examine energy as a shaping force in Russian literature, visual culture, and social practice from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. We will investigate such questions as: How did the new unifying concept of energy as a “power to make work” structure Russian realist novels and paintings? How did the poetics of energy shape pre-Revolutionary and Stalinist utopianism? And how has the extraction or exhaustion of specific sources of energy—living bodies, fossil fuels, (hydro-)electricity, nuclear fission—generated distinctive aesthetic features in Soviet and post-Soviet literature and cinema?