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October 2020

Challenging “The Imam of Atheism”: Islamist Anti-Communism and the Soviet Union, 1958-1979 (with Timothy Nunan)

October 28 @ 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Between the Soviet Union’s outreach to countries like Egypt and Afghanistan in the mid-1950s and the growing role of Communists in Iraq following that country’s 1958 revolution, Muslim intellectuals and ulema feared the expansion of Communism in the Middle East. They began to conceive of Islam as a distinct ideological system and alternative to capitalism and socialism, and they looked to other post-colonial countries for models of how they could organize political organizations to rival Communist parties. Taking advantage of…

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A “Complete” Atlas of the Russian Empire (with Catherine Evtuhov)

October 26 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Utility (pol’za) was a watchword of Empress Elizabeth’s reign (1741-61). The 1745 Atlas of the Russian Empire, published in nineteen regional maps and a general map of the empire, was presented in this spirit. The atlas united “geographical rules” and “new observations” to create a complete picture of the All-Russian Empire and contiguous lands. The visual and the imperial intersect in two important ways in the crafting of the Atlas. First, scientific visualization by specialists trained in geography and astronomy,…

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Sergei Eisenstein and Immersion in Nature (with Joan Neuberger)

October 23 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

At a time when nearly everyone else was writing about nature as something to be conquered, Eisenstein was joining personal experience with Romantic and Indigenous tropes to write about self-immersion in nature as a a source of individual liberation, a model for understanding film reception, and a blueprint for a utopian socialist collective. This presentation will examine his 1945 essay, “The Music of Landscape,” to show how immersion in nature offered Eisenstein new avenues for further developing his ideas about…

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Magnanimous Husbands, Repentant Wives: Sovereignty and Governmentality in Russian Domestic Fiction (The Case of “Polin’ka Saks”) (with Ilya Kliger and Discussant Harsha Ram)

October 21 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Join us for another 19v seminar! This presentation is dedicated to Alexander Druzhinin’s spectacularly influential epistolary novella Polin’ka Saks, published at the end of 1847 in Sovremennik.  Professor Ilya Kliger will attempt an analysis of Polinka Saks with an eye to the wider context of Russian and Western domestic fiction and with special attention to a small corpus of texts – translated and original, literary, belletristic, and scholarly – published the same year in the same journal.  Most broadly at stake is the distinctiveness…

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

October 19 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Join us for another virtual meeting of the New York-Russia Public Policy Seminar, a forum co-hosted by the Jordan Center and Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. US-Russia relations continue to deteriorate. Across contentious issues such as Russia’s interventions in Syria and Ukraine, Western sanctions, an arms control agenda on life support, and competing views about global leadership and international order, US and Russian policymakers appear to be fundamentally at odds. Russia’s domestic interference in US elections further…

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Ode to the Hybrid: Writing as a Russian-American (with Olga Livshin)

October 16 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Olga Livshin is an English-language poet of Jewish descent, via Russia and Ukraine. The Los Angeles Review of Books described her 2019 book as follows: "In her inventive collection of 'poems with translations,' A Life Replaced, ... Livshin writes in conversation with Akhmatova, using the older poet’s grief as a guide to navigate the depressing present." In conversation with Eliot Borenstein, Livshin will discuss the challenges of finding the right words for transnational ties to her home countries after the 2016 election as a…

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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)

October 14 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Though most scholarship on Pushkin’s reception in the United States focuses on twentieth-century African American literature, the origins of this encounter remain poorly understood. In fact, nineteenth-century commentators on both sides of the Atlantic were obsessed with Pushkin’s racial heritage—as both a Russian, and as a canonical European writer of African descent. This collaborative talk (prepared by a transatlantic historian of race and a Slavist) brings together little-remembered newspaper records, personal correspondence, and others texts—from the mid-1830s onwards—to recover how…

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Camera Caucasica: Networks of Photographic Practices in the Transimperial Caucasus (with Dominik Gutmeyr and Discussant Naomi Caffee)

October 12 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Join us for another 19v seminar! Against the backdrop of photographic practices in the wider Caucasus region, this presentation looks to address theoretical and methodological specifics of the history of photography in imperial times and to map some of the networks that provided the conceptual and practical basis for the production, circulation and reception of photographic images. As the project in progress puts an emphasis on shared histories and the entanglement of photographic practices across imperial borders rather than on…

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Christ, Hadji Murat, and the Late Tolstoy’s Non-Hegemonic Masculinities (with Ani Kokobobo and Discussant Julie Buckler)

October 7 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Join us for another 19v seminar! In this lecture, Professor Ani Kokobobo traces a new minority masculinity in Tolstoy's late narratives after the author denounces sexuality in works like The Kreutzer Sonata. If typical Tolstoyan "seeker" characters, like Andrei Bolkonsky, Pierre Bezukhov, and Konstantin Levin were always social misfits who did not fit within societal roles and sought a sphere outside of society for their own mental growth and development, a number of Tolstoy’s later characters take matters further and…

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It Will Be Fun and Terrifying: Nationalism and Protest in Post-Soviet Russia (with Fabrizio Fenghi, Brown University)

October 6 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

The National Bolshevik Party, founded in the mid-1990s by Eduard Limonov and Aleksandr Dugin, began as an attempt to combine radically different ideologies. In the years that followed, Limonov, Dugin, and the movements they led underwent dramatic shifts. The two leaders eventually became political adversaries, with Dugin and his organizations strongly supporting Putin’s regime while Limonov and his groups became part of the liberal opposition. To illuminate the role of these right-wing ideas in contemporary Russian society, Fabrizio Fenghi examines…

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