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“100 Year Anniversary of the 1917 Revolution” – A Usable Past: Law and Time at the End of the Russian Revolution

November 15, 2017 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Please join us on November 15th, 2017 for “A Usable Past: Law and Time at the End of the Russian Revolution”, a talk by Anne O’Donnell, Assistant Professor of History and Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University. This is the third event in the lecture series entitled “100 Year Anniversary of the 1917 Revolution”, hosted by the NYU Jordan Center and co-sponsored by the NYU Department of History.

It was quite a year: an autocracy collapsed, power spilled onto the streets, and the world’s first successful socialist revolution unfolded in Petrograd. It was the end of an era and the start of another. Not surprisingly the controversy continues, with many of us finding meaning and a model, others a dire warning, and still others lessons on how to do it differently. Five events at the NYU Jordan Center will adopt different approaches to that same year and consider multiple possible meanings — from the angst of intellectuals to the nature of non-capitalist law and value to longue duree of world history. The lecture series culminates in a keynote by the renowned Sheila Fitzpatrick and roundtable with scholars representing diverse disciplinary perspectives: literature, culture, history and politics.

In her lecture, Anne O’Donnell will consider how, among the many resources of power up for grabs in the wake of the October Revolution, Bolshevik revolutionaries, early Soviet functionaries, and ordinary people attempted to mobilize an especially slippery resource: time. Like their peers among the European combatants of the First World War, Soviet authorities found it necessary to “play” with conceptions of time in order to deal with a number of stubborn post-war difficulties, particularly in the sphere of material life. Inflation, requisition, and other aftereffects of the Great War all demanded interventions pinned to a pre-war ideal type: the year 1913. Unlike their peers in Europe, however, the Bolshevik dependence on time-play extended beyond the ambit of recovery, into basic principles of revolutionary governance, for years to come. This paper examines creative uses of time in post-revolutionary Russia and considers their implications for the fate of the revolutionary project.


For more information regarding the “100 Year Anniversary of the 1917 Revolution” lecture series, please contact jordan.russia.center@nyu.edu

Watch the event video here

Read the recap of the event here


Image: “Lenin, Vladimir: during the Russian Revolution, 1917”. Photo. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Web. 28 Aug. 2017. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Russian-Revolution-of-1917?oasmId=121015>


November 15, 2017
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
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Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia
(212) 992-6575


NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia
19 University Place, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10003 United States
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