All the Russias' Blog

A space for news and opinion, sponsored by The Jordan Center

Poor Liza and Russia’s Sentimental Marketplace

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On December 11, 2020, the Jordan Center welcomed Prof. Kirill Ospovat for a talk on links between narrative modes and visions of economy that defined Russian sentimentalism. Through a close reading of Karamzin’s classic Poor Liza (1792), Ospovat will illuminate the constructions of “sentimental commerce” which aligned specific modes of subjectivity and spectatorship with visions of the market, debates on luxury, and analysis of poverty. He is an assistant professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of “Terror and Pity: Aleksandr Sumarokov and the Theater of Power in Elizabethan Russia” (2016) and “Pridvornaia slovesnost’. Institut literatury i konstruktsii absoliutizma v Rossii serediny XVIII veka” (2020). His next book will explore the social aspects of Russian sentimental fiction through close readings of Karamzin, Gogol, and Dostoevsky. The talk was introduced by Ilya Kliger, Associate Professor of Russian & Slavic Studies at New York University.

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Kirill Ospovat

Medical Ethics and the Crisis of the Doctor-Patient Relationship in the Early Soviet Union

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On November 2, 2020, the Jordan Center welcomed Kenneth Pinnow for a talk on the doctor-patient relationship amid the Soviet state’s undertaking of providing universal public health in the 1920s and 1930s. Dr. Pinnow is Professor of History and Global Health Studies at Allegheny College. He currently holds the Henry B. and Patricia Bush Tippie Professorship and recently served as the director of Allegheny’s Global Health Studies Program. He is the author of Lost to the Collective: Suicide and the Promise of Soviet Socialism (Cornell, 2010), and has published on criminology and the social sciences in the early Soviet Union. He is currently researching the history of medical ethics and research in the Soviet Union, with an emphasis on the formative decades of the USSR. The talk was introduced by Yanni Kotsonis, Professor of History and Russian & Slavic Studies at New York University.

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Kenneth Pinnow

Sergei Eisenstein and Immersion in Nature

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On October 23, 2020, the Jordan Center hosted Joan Neuberger, Professor of History at The University of Texas at Austin, for a talk on Soviet filmmaker and theorist Sergei Eisenstein’s 1945 essay, “The Music of Landscape.” By juxtaposing Eisenstein’s cosmology with his contemporaries’ anthropocentric discourses, Neuberger showed how immersion in nature offered Eisenstein new avenues for further developing his ideas about self, art, radical politics, and the productive contradictions of montage. The talk was introduced by Bruce Grant, Professor of Anthropology at New York University.

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Sergei Eisenstein and Immersion in Nature

Minds and Bodies in the World, or: Learning to Love Dostoevsky

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I’m not one of those American Slavists who came to the study of Russian literature by way of Dostoevsky. For a long time, I wasn’t even particularly interested—I’m afraid that I took the pseudo-Nabokovian reading of Dostoevsky as my own, and even as my students clamored for more Dostoevsky, I resisted the idea of a Russian literature defined by Big Ideas.

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