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The Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia

Upcoming Events

September 2020

On Cameras and Guns in Soviet Film Culture (with Maria Vinogradova, New York University)

September 29 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, 19 University Place
New York, NY 10003 United States
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In the Soviet pantheon of fantasy-machines cameras and guns occupied a special place: if cinema was proclaimed the most important of all arts, then the most powerful cinema was capable of producing “sniper shots” that delivered a fully truthful, objective and scientific image of the world. In this talk Jordan Center visiting scholar Maria Vinogradova explores such metaphors, focusing on the concept and practice of “film-hunting” (kinookhota) as it developed after the 1950s. In the Soviet film avant-garde the likes…

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October 2020

Human-Non-Human Entanglements of Prediction in Permafrost-Bound Land (with Olga Ulturgasheva)

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

The intensification of ecological fragility and rapidity of environmental change in the Siberian Arctic questions adaptability and human capacity to predict and avert ecological disasters while pointing at potential limitations of available models for forecasting and mitigating environmental calamities. Given the bounded human capacity for predicting unpredictable, the challenge is to craft a tentative strategy that takes into detailed and balanced consideration limitations and productive potential of knowledge whether scientific or public. This talk will examine the potentials of co-mobilising…

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

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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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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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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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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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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November 2020

Price Tags for Wet Land: Resource-making in Late Imperial Russia (with Katja Bruisch)

November 9 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

In late imperial Russia, rising demand for energy and widespread concerns about the depletion of forests caused an interest in peat as an industrial fuel. In the booming industrial districts of the Vladimir and Moscow provinces in particular, factory owners adopted peat fuel to fire furnaces and operate engines, while railroad operators made experiments to move trains with the help of peat. Their efforts were encouraged by the imperial state which, itself an owner of substantial peatbogs, provided the personal…

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December 2020

Poor Liza and Russia’s Sentimental Marketplace (with Kirill Ospovat)

December 11 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

The talk will investigate links between narrative modes and visions of economy that defined Russian sentimentalism. While in English-language Russianist scholarship social aspects of sentimental fiction have been largely ignored, they occupy a central place both in Soviet-era studies and in contemporary interpretations of English and French sentimentalism. Through a close reading of Karamzin’s classic Poor Liza I will illuminate the constructions of “sentimental commerce” which aligned specific modes of subjectivity and spectatorship with visions of the market, debates on…

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