The Specificity of Russian Orientalism in Vasily Polenov’s ‘Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery’ (with Anastasia Loseva and Discussants Nadieszda Kizenko and Emily Laskin)

Join us for another 19v seminar! Please note that this event will be held in Russian.  The conception and execution of the picture “Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery” (Who among you is without sin?, 1887, State Russian Museum) can be seen as constituting the boundaries of a twenty-year period in the work of […]

Free Style: Democratic Virtue and the Capitalist Hustle on Russian TV in the Final Days of Perestroika (with Pavel Khazanov)

When murky grand history was unfolding on the streets of Moscow between December 1990 and August 1991, a parallel murky history was taking place in Moscow’s mass media circles, where the old Soviet behemoth of Gosteleradio was rapidly undergoing an evolution towards a post-Soviet market model. At this time, members of Perestroika’s most culturally impactful […]

The Five Joyces: How James Joyce was Read in Russia (with Jose Vergara)

While James Joyce’s place in the modernist pantheon has long been firmly entrenched, its resonances continue to be uncovered. In the Russian context, the Irish writer has occupied many roles since his work was first translated in the mid-1920s. This talk will trace the development not of a monolithic Joyce, but rather of five separate Russian […]

Backwardness and the Russian Case: On Modernization and its Discontent (with Alessandro Stanziani)

Since the eighteenth century, Russia had the unique privilege of being constantly associated to a double dilemma, in terms of modernity (temporalities) and its spatial limits: is it Russia like Europe or Asia? Is it modern or backward? In every instance, these reflections were a response to structural transformations in states, societies and economies: the […]

Moscow of the Plan/Moscow of the Shadows: Skyscrapers and Displacement during Late Stalinism (with Katherine Zubovich)

New York, NY

In the early years of the Cold War, the skyline of Moscow was forever transformed by a citywide skyscraper building project. As the steel girders of the monumental towers went up, the centuries-old metropolis was reinvented to embody the greatness of Stalinist society. This talk delves into the ideological tensions and social cleavages exposed by […]

Writing the Photograph: Russian Photo-Poetics in the 20th and 21st Centuries (with Molly Blasing)

Dr. Molly Blasing will present material from her recent book, Snapshots of the Soul: Photo-Poetic Encounters in Modern Russian Culture (Cornell UP, 2021). Snapshots of the Soul considers how photography has shaped Russian poetry from the early twentieth century to the present day. In this talk, we will consider examples of photo-poetic writing by Pasternak, Tsvetaeva, Brodsky, and other […]

Polarization and its (Dis)contents: Russian Activists’ Search for “Points of Contact” in the Late Putin Era (with Maria Sidorkina)

Political polarization has been on the minds of Russian activists since at least 2012, when state-affiliated media started pushing the story of a divided nation. Since that time, many independent and oppositional media outlets have also found the “culture war” framing compelling. By now, the trope of a polarized nation has become a discursive commonplace […]

Technology and Blind Activism in Cold War Europe (with Maria Galmarini)

New York, NY

In the late 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, spectacular accomplishments in space research sharpened public awareness of technological progress and the ways in which it could be harnessed by the two competing blocs of a divided world. Among the many communities that began to reflect on the meaning and impact of technology […]