Price Tags for Wet Land: Resource-Making in Late Imperial Russia



On November 9, 2020, the Jordan Center hosted Katja Bruisch, Professor in Environmental History at Trinity College Dublin, for a talk on the peatlands in late imperial Russia. By tracing the messy and arbitrary process by which peatlands were appropriated as resources, the talk reflected the relationship between state, economy, and nature. A historian of modern Russia, Professor Bruisch is interested in the interplay between social, political and environmental change, particularly in the Russian countryside. She has worked on the role of experts in dealing with the ‘agrarian question’ in the late imperial and early Soviet periods. In her current project, she explores ways to integrate environmental perspectives into the history of the modern Russian economy, tracing the transformation of peatlands into hinterlands of industrializing cities and the social and environmental legacies of peat extraction and wetland drainage since the imperial period. Bruisch’s talk was hosted by Anne O’Donnell, Assistant Professor of Russian & Slavic Studies at New York University.

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Ballet in the Cold War: The New York City Ballet’s 1962 Tour of the Soviet Union



On February 5th, the Jordan Center welcomed Professor Anne Searcy for a talk on the exchange of Soviet and American ballet troupes for cultural diplomacy during the Cold War. In October 1962, New York City Ballet (NYCB) toured the Soviet Union, performing seventeen ballets by George Balanchine. Part of the Soviet-American cultural exchange, the NYCB tour was positively received by the Soviet audiences but has since been misunderstood as a sign of political protest. Searcy explored the Soviet responses to Balanchine and his company and argued that the Soviet viewers interpreted these new works through Thaw-era debates about choreography and music. The talk was hosted by Anne O’Donnell, Assistant Professor of Russian & Slavic Studies at New York University. Stream it here.

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“Red and Brown”: Left-Patriotism in Russia, its Ideology and Social Base, 1993-2021



On February 22, Jordan Center for Advanced Study of Russia hosted Dr. Alexey Sakhnin, who spoke about the post-Soviet emergence of a political trend consisting of both leftism and right-wing patriotism. Sakhnin received his PhD in modern Russian history and society, with a dissertation dedicated to the debates about the Soviets within the Bolshevik party, later published under the title The Experience of October: How to Make Revolution. Prosecuted as one of the public faces of the Bolotnaya protests of 2011-12, he lived for five years in exile in Sweden, before returning to Russia to work as a journalist and left-oppositional activist. He was introduced by Rossen Djagalov, Assistant Professor of Russian & Slavic Studies at New York University. Stream it here.

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The Improbable Museum: Igor Savitsky’s Collection of Russian Avant-Garde and Karakalpak Art in Soviet Central Asia



On December 4, 2020, Jordan Center for Advanced Study of Russia hosted Zukhra Kasimova, a PhD candidate in the History Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Kasimova was introduced by Rossen Djagalov, Assistant Professor of Russian Slavic Studies at New York University. Kasimova spoke about Igor Savitsky’s creation of “the second largest collection of Russian modernist art in the world.” The Museum is a unique collection of Karakalpak applied folk art and works of the Russian and Soviet avant-garde located in Nukus, which is approximately 800 kilometers away and a 15-hour train ride from the Uzbek capital Tashkent. Stream it here.

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Making an Anti-imperialist Empire: Revolutionary Russia and the Muslim World



On February 16, Jordan Center for Advanced Study of Russia hosted Professor Norihiro Naganawa, who spoke about his ongoing book project on early Soviet Russia’s engagement with Central Asia, Iran, and the Red Sea. Naganawa is a professor of Central Eurasian Studies at the Slavic and Eurasian Research Center of Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan. He offered a transnational history of revolutionary Russia through the lens of a Tatar revolutionary and Soviet diplomat, Karim Abdraufovich Khakimov (1890-1938). He was introduced by Jane Burbank, Professor Emerita, New York University. Stream it here.

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Fighting HIV/AIDS in Russia: Challenges, Successes, and Working in a Pandemic



On January 13th, the Jordan Center and the Harriman Institute co-hosted a panel on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia as part of the NYC-Russia Public Policy Series. Panelists included Ulla Pape, Researcher at the Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science of Freie Universität Berlin; Robert Heimer,  Professor in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at the Yale University School of Public Health; Anya Sarang, Founder and Director at the Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice; Anton Eremin, Medical Director at AIDS.CENTER; and Jake Rashbass, Senior Program Lead for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Stream it here.

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Navalny and the Kremlin: Politics and Protest in Russia


Navalny

On February 1st, the Jordan Center and the Harriman Institute co-hosted a panel on Alexei Navalny as part of the New York–Russia Public Policy Series. Panelists included Yana Gorokhovskaia, Research Fellow at the Institute of Modern Russia; Pjotr Sauer, Journalist at the Moscow Times; Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, Reader in Russian Politics at King’s College London; and Aleksandra Urman, Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Communication and Media Studies, University of Bern.

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Poor Liza and Russia’s Sentimental Marketplace


Kirill Ospovat

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


Kenneth Pinnow

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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Sergei Eisenstein and Immersion in Nature


Sergei Eisenstein and Immersion in Nature

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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NYC Russia Public Policy Series: Is it Time to Rethink Our Russia Policy?



On October 19th, the Jordan Center and the Harriman Institute convened for the latest in their New York City — Russia Public Policy Series. Panelists included Rose Gottemoeller, Thomas Graham, David J. Kramer, and Evelyn N. Farkas, who continued the discussion they began in August at Politico in articles “It’s Time to Rethink Our Russia Policy” and “No, Now Is Not the Time for Another Russia Reset.”

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Ode to the Hybrid: Writing as a Russian-American



On October 16, 2020, the Jordan Center hosted Olga Livshin, an English-language poet of Jewish descent, via Russia and Ukraine. Livshin began by introducing and reading excerpts from her recently published A Life Replaced: Poems with Translations from Anna Akhmatova and Vladimir Gandelsman (2019). She then joined Professor Eliot Borenstein to discuss the challenges of finding the right words for transnational ties to her home countries after the 2016 election as a poet and translator.

It is not a coincidence that Livshin started to compile poems for her book in the US election year of 2016. “It is one of those projects you know you’ll have to do someday; and then you realize that you’ll have to do it soon—because the voices, such as yours, are not exactly being represented,” said Livshin, setting the tone for her experience as a minority writer caught in many worlds.

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Revolution Goes East: Imperial Japan and Soviet Communism



On September 17, Professor Tatiana Linkhoeva of NYU History joined the Jordan Center and the Center for the Humanities for the virtual launch of her book, Revolution Goes East (Cornell University Press, 2020). The monograph applies a novel global perspective to the classic story of the rise of communism and the various reactions it provoked in Imperial Japan. Linkhoeva started her talk by debunking the popular belief that socialism and communism only existed in countries like China and Korea, but not in Japan. She brought into focus the underexplored Japanese leftist thought and movement prominent in the imperial period and onwards. “A lot of the interwar developments in Japan happened either as a reaction or in conversation with the rise of socialist ideas globally and domestically,” said Linkhoeva.

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Interrogating the Declining Significance of Pushkin’s Blackness: Henry James, Ivan Turgenev, and Literary Nationalism (with Korey Garibaldi and Emily Wang)



On October 14th, Professors Korey Garibaldi and Emily Wang, both of Notre Dame, joined the Jordan Center to speak about their collaborative work on race and literature in talk entitled “Interrogating the Declining Significance of Pushkin’s Blackness: Henry James, Ivan Turgenev, and Literary Nationalism.”

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The Difficulty Of Ending a Story: On the ‘Thick Novels



On September 23rd Schamma Schahadat, of the University of Tübingen, joined the Jordan Center for another talk with 19v, a working group on 19th century Russian culture.  She discussed Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment in her talk, “The Difficulty Of Ending a Story: On the ‘Thick Novels.’”

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A Trial Against Racial Hatred: White Chauvinism and International Communism



On September 21st, Sean Guillory, host of the SRB Podcast and Digital Scholarship Curator in the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, joined the Jordan Center and Yale University’s Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies for a talk on the Yokinen trial, “A Trial Against Racial Hatred: White Chauvinism and International Communism.”

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From Internationalism to Postcolonialism: Literature and Cinema between the Second and Third World



“Is the post- in postcolonial the post- in post-Soviet?” asked David C. Moore in 2001, prompting a reexamination of the dynamics between the Russian metropole and its Eurasian peripheries. But to deploy the postcolonial optic here is to presuppose the passing of an era of global ideological and cultural entanglements, primarily unfolding between the Second and the Third Worlds before the end of the Cold War. In his book talk on March 6th, 2020, Professor Rossen Djagalov revisited the history of Soviet Union’s cultural engagements with the literature, films, and cultures from a region now known as the Global South. His new monograph, From Internationalism to Postcolonialism: Literature and Cinema between the Second and Third World (McGill-Queens, 2020), reconstructs the Soviet Third-Worldist literary formation as that which bridges between the interwar-era internationalism and the present-day (post-Soviet) postcolonial studies. Rossen Djagalov is an Assistant Professor of Russian Slavic Studies at New York University, who focuses on socialist culture globally and, more specifically, on the linkages between cultural producers and audiences in the USSR and abroad. The talk was introduced by Yannis Kotsonis, Professor of History & Russian & Slavic Studies at New York University.

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How to Make Precarious Russia Habitable – or, What Russians Want in Putin’s Fourth Term



An enduring irony of life in small-town Russia, according to Morris, is that the structural causes of its fragility and decline – dependent on a single-Soviet-era company – are also the cause for its resilience. Morris referred to this phenomenon as “compressed social geography,” which emerges from the overwhelmingly blue-collar nature of this town that sustains solidarities, networks and moral values inherited from the socialist period.

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