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February 2020

The Damned Gift of Living: Vasilii Shukshin and the Dying Peasant (with Joy Neumeyer, Jordan Center Visiting Scholar)

February 28 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, 19 University Place, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10003 United States
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Vasilii Shukshin rose from a Siberian village to become one of the late Soviet Union’s most celebrated talents. In the paper for this colloquium, Jordan Center visiting scholar Joy Neumeyer draws on previously untapped archival sources to examine his life, work, and significance. Shukshin won a mass following with stories and films featuring rural eccentrics and city transplants who struggled to find individual freedom in a standardizing age. His characters reveled in life’s beauty but agonized over its meaning; those…

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March 2020

“Cloud in Pants:” A Video-Poem by Vladimir Mayakovsky in Russian and English (with Vadim Astrakhan)

March 4 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, 19 University Place, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10003 United States
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In 1915 Vladimir Mayakovsky shocked the Russian poetry scene with his epic poem "Cloud in Pants." One hundred years later Vadim Astrakhan has not only translated the poem into English in his trademark "modernizing / universalizing" fashion, but also put it on film.  In this film he recites the poem in both Russian and English against a vibrant and unique visual background that conveys the spirit of the Russian Avant-garde.   Vadim Astrakhan is a translator and performer from New Jersey.  He is known for…

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From Internationalism to Cosmopolitanism: Literature and Cinema between the Second and Third World (with Rossen Djagalov, New York University)

March 6 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Would there have been a Third World without the Second? Perhaps, but it would have looked very different. Although most histories of these geopolitical blocs and their constituent societies and cultures are written in reference to the West, the interdependence of the Second and Third Worlds is evident not only from a common nomenclature but also from their near-simultaneous disappearance around 1990. In From Internationalism to Postcolonialism Professor Rossen Djagalov addresses this historical blind spot by recounting the story of two…

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The Late-Soviet Underground: (Re-)Collecting the Past (with Ainsley Morse, Dartmouth College)

March 26 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, 19 University Place
New York, NY 10003 United States
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In this talk Professor Ainsley Morse will present a paper which argues for collecting—meaning collecting variously ephemeral “things” (words, poems, books, writers, traditions, ways of life), but also “collecting” as a mode of writing—as both a pathology and a creative mode typical of unofficial literature and art of the late Soviet period. She will focus on two late-Soviet writers: the poet and critic Vsevolod Nekrasov and the poet, critic, curator and émigré Kulturtraeger Konstantin Kuzminsky. Both Kuzminsky and Nekrasov were true “children of the Thaw” in their obsession with truth-telling, “straight talk” and bracing expose .…

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Reading for Energy: Conversion, Excess, and Entropy in Leo Tolstoy (with Jillian Porter, University of Colorado)

March 27 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, 19 University Place
New York, NY 10003 United States
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Jillian Porter explores energy—the “power to make work”—as a shaping force in Tolstoy’s fictions. From the psychic “safety valves” of War and Peace to the steam engines of Anna Karenina and the excesses of The Kreutzer Sonata, the nineteenth-century science of thermodynamics provided Tolstoy with a powerful store of metaphors for the workings of minds, bodies, and literary texts. How did Tolstoy’s fascination with thermodynamics arise, and which structural features of his narratives might it help to explain? Do his…

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April 2020

Abstinence, Pacifism, and the Late Tolstoy’s Queer New World Order (with Ani Kokobobo, University of Kansas)

April 2 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, 19 University Place
New York, NY 10003 United States
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In this talk, I connect Tolstoy’s ideas about gender and sexuality, as reflected in The Kreutzer Sonata, with the main idea born out of his religious conversion: pacifism. For Tolstoy, sexuality came to signify another form of violence, and peaceful living required complete abstinence. Influenced by pacifist thinkers like the Americans William Lloyd Garrison and Adin Ballou, who also embraced feminism, Tolstoy sought a new world order beyond sexuality, defined by peaceful relations between individuals. In contextualizing this new world order, I bring Tolstoy in dialogue with several queer…

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How Pro-Government “Trolls” Influence Online Conversations in Russia (with Anton Sobolev, Yale University)

April 8 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
NYU Politics Department, 19 West 4th Street, Room 217
New York, NY 10012 United States
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In this talk, Dr. Sobolev will explore the behavior and impact of several hundred “trolls” — paid supporters of Vladimir Putin's regime in Russia who were allegedly employed in late 2014 and early 2015 to leave pro-government comments on the popular social media platform LiveJournal. First, he will devise a classification method of the possible objectives that would motivate governments to employ Internet trolls, the strategies trolls use to achieve these objectives, and these strategies' observable implications. Second, combining text…

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Statuary Performances: Neo-Paganism and Memory in the American and Russian Far Right (with Alexandar Mihailovic, Bennington College)

April 8 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Whether it be of Robert E. Lee, Tsar Nicholas II, Huey Long or the head of the NKVD Feliks Dzerzhinsky, political statuary evokes a range of impassioned responses from groups as varied as the Proud Boys and Identity Evropa in the United States, to the Double-Headed Eagle and Izborsk Club in the Russian Federation. The ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017 protested the removal of an equestrian monument to Lee, and brought about the murder…

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On Cameras and Guns in Soviet Film Culture (with Maria Vinogradova, New York University)

April 14 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, 19 University Place
New York, NY 10003 United States
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In the Soviet pantheon of fantasy-machines cameras and guns occupied a special place: if cinema was proclaimed the most important of all arts, then the most powerful cinema was capable of producing “sniper shots” that delivered a fully truthful, objective and scientific image of the world. In this talk Jordan Center visiting scholar Maria Vinogradova explores such metaphors, focusing on the concept and practice of “film-hunting” (kinookhota) as it developed after the 1950s.  In the Soviet film avant-garde the likes…

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Revolution Goes East: Imperial Japan and Soviet Communism (with Tatiana Linkhoeva, New York University)

April 16 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Revolution Goes East is an intellectual history that applies a novel global perspective to the classic story of the rise of communism and the various reactions it provoked in Imperial Japan. Tatiana Linkhoeva demonstrates how contemporary discussions of the Russian Revolution, its containment, and the issue of imperialism played a fundamental role in shaping Japan's imperial society and state. In this bold approach, Linkhoeva explores attitudes toward the Soviet Union and the communist movement among the Japanese military and politicians,…

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