Tamizdat as a Literary Practice and Political Institution of the Cold War Era (with Yasha Klots)
October 17 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Throughout the Soviet century, tamizdat (literally, “published over there,” or abroad) comprised manuscripts rejected, censored or never submitted for publication at home but smuggled through various channels across the Iron Curtain and printed elsewhere, with or without the authors’ knowledge or consent. Until perestroika, when the Curtain began to rust, these publications were used as a weapon on the cultural fronts of the Cold War. In his talk, Yasha Klots will speak about the history of tamizdat as a literary practice and political institution, as well as about its relevance today, when censorship and political persecution in Putin’s Russia is back, having generated another “wave” of emigration from Russia. He will also touch on the Tamizdat Project’s dedication to supporting students displaced by war or repressions in their home countries since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Yasha Klots is Associate Professor of Russian Literature at Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center. His research interests are book history, Russian and East European émigré literature and culture, urbanism, and Gulag narratives (particularly Varlam Shalamov). He is the author of several books, including Tamizdat: Contraband Russian Literature in the Cold War Era (Cornell UP, 2023), and the director of Tamizdat Project, a public scholarship and charity initiative devoted to the study of banned books from the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.