The European University at St. Petersburg (EUSP), which is among Russia’s leading institutions of higher education, has recently been sanctioned by the Russian state oversight agency for higher education, Rosobrnadzor, for ostensible violations of administrative standards and regulations. AATSEEL stands in full solidarity with the EUSP, its administration, staff and students, as they seek to eliminate any possible lapses identified by the agency, and in their legal defense of the institution and its mission.

The European University at St. Petersburg is unquestionably a leader in Russia education and scholarship. Its professors are globally recognized authorities in a range of social-scientific and humanistic disciplines, whose publications appear in the most visible and highly rated scholarly journals and presses of the world. The graduates of the EUSP go on to become important and productive professionals in business and government, and also to pursue careers as successful scholars in their own right at other leading institutions in Russia and elsewhere. The EUSP’s programs for foreign students are among the most important centers offering the riches of Russian scholarship and culture to the world.

In all of this activity, the EUSP is one of the most important institutions presenting Russian scholarship to the world and interpreting global scholarly life for Russia, contributing in this way to global communication and mutual understanding.

This makes the recent administrative actions of Rosobrnadzor, which have placed the functioning of this extraordinarily valuable institution in question, highly regrettable. With this letter, AATSEEL expresses complete support for the EUSP and urges the Russian state and its agencies to work with the institution to overcome any regulatory concerns that might impede its important educational and scholarly work.

Kevin M. F. Platt

Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor in the Humanities

Chair, Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory

President, AATSEEL


Shakespeare in Prague: Imagining the Bard in the Heart of Europe

Czech & Slovak Scenography for Shakespeare

Columbus Museum of Art (Columbus, Ohio, US)

March 3rd and 4th, 2017

Co-sponsored by the Department of Slavic and Eastern European Studies, the Department of Theatre, and the Center for Slavic & East European Studies at The Ohio State University (US)

Organizer: Dr. Joe Brandesky, The Ohio State University (brandesky.1@osu.edu)

Coordinator: Dr. Shilarna Stokes, The Ohio State University (stokes.217@osu.edu)

This international symposium will complement the exhibit Shakespeare in Prague: Imagining the Bard in the Heart Europe presented by the Columbus Museum of Art from February 3rd through May 7th, 2017. Set amidst a display of innovative and dynamic designs by theatre artists including Vlastislav Hofman, Frantisek Troster, Josef Svoboda, Jaroslav Malina, and many others, this conference aims to publicize and advance compelling new research on the ways that Shakespeare has been imagined and transformed by Central European designers, theatres, histories, and cultures from the nineteenth century to the present. The conference is part of a series—with previous conferences at the University of Hull (UK) and Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic)—and is itself set within a wider international research project that encompasses several art exhibitions and monographs, as well as an edited collection of essays.

For more than a century-and-a-half, the work of scenic artists has been understood as essential to the continuing growth of the rich theatre cultures of Central Europe. Moreover, through the reproduction and circulation of their designs, as well as through the theoretical, aesthetic, and technological innovations their designs have inspired, Central European scenic artists have exercised an unparalleled influence on the development of scenography as a global discipline, and have provided key models for understanding connections between theatre, literature, culture, politics, space, and subjectivity.

The significant impact of Central European scenography on international theatre history, theory, and practice may be apprehended by taking account of its many original contributions to the global production and reception of Shakespeare. Recognizing the many ways that Shakespearean productions, texts, images and tropes have historically been employed—as engines of innovation, as instruments of intercultural dialogue, as tools of cultural hegemony, as critical sites of resistance, as devices for sustaining or legitimizing local and national forms, among many others—this conference invites prospective participants to investigate intersections between scenographic innovation and Shakespearean tradition as these have been embedded in or emerged from the particular cultural, aesthetic, social and political environments that have evolved in Central European cultures over the last 250 years or more.

We welcome papers that consider:

socio-historical, political, aesthetic, technical, and historiographical analyses of scenic designs and scenographic elements

scenography as a medium for the creation of local and national identities, as well as other political, ideological, ethnic or cultural identities

scenographic traditions, genealogies, and legacies

contemporary research in scenography in relation to past practices

the development of scenography as a discipline

the presentation, re-presentation and archiving of the materials of performance and of the work of designers

the relationship between histories of place and design

different theoretical paradigms or aesthetic regimes that have influenced the development of scenography, and vice versa

the presentation or ‘restaging’ of historic scenography

the influences of scenography on acting and directing practices (and vice versa)

the influences of scenography on dramaturgy, criticism, audience experience, and/or reception (and vice versa)

the relationship between textual, visual and spatial modes of translation and/or adaptation

The accompanying exhibit centers on works housed in Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia. However, we invite papers that consider interpretations of Shakespeare throughout Central Europe. In seeking out a broad range of presentations, we take scenography to include costumes, settings, make-up, sound design, lighting design, media design, masks, puppets and other objects, and we encourage submissions from scholars and practitioners at all career stages, and from a wide range of fields.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words and a brief bio (approximately 200 words) to Shilarna Stokes (Symposium Coordinator) at stokes.217@osu.edu by Monday, September 12th. Submissions sent well in advance of this deadline are welcome and encouraged.

For queries, please also contact Shilarna Stokes at stokes.217@osu.edu. Notifications of acceptance as well as details concerning registration, lodging, and transportation will be forthcoming in late September or early October.

On behalf of the Project Organizing Committee:

Joe Brandesky, The Ohio State University (brandesky.1@osu.edu)

Christian M. Billing, University of Hull (c.m.billing@hull.ac.uk)

Pavel Drábek, University of Hull (p.drabek.hull.ac.uk)

Vlasta Koubská, Academy of Performing Arts, Prague (vlasta.koubska@gmail.com)

Šárka Havlíčková Kysová, Masaryk University, Brno (66521@mail.muni.cz)

Barbora Přihodová, Villanova University (bprihodova@gmail.com)

Nad’a Satková, Masaryk University, Brno (nsatkova@seznam.cz)