Panel Stream Topics for 2017The final submission deadline for the 2017 AATSEEL conference was July 1, 2016.
The Political in Contemporary Russian Culture
Organizers: Matthew Walker (Brown University) and Mark Lipovetsky (University of Colorado, Boulder)
Rapid politization of the cultural sphere has become obvious since the trial of Pussy Riot in 2012 and continued by debates about Zviaginstev's Leviathan, a postmodernist production of Tannhauser, Petr Pavlensky's actions. We rely on Jacques Rancière's characterization of the political: “The essence of politics is the manifestation of issensus, as the presence of two worlds in one […] The essence of politics is dissensus. Dissensus is not the confrontation between interests or opinions. It is the manifestation of a distance of the sensible from itself.” In other words, we wish to invite papers analyzing various manifestations of the political in literature, film, and art of the 2000-2010s, but go beyond thematic aspects. The focus on the "dissensus" in the author's (heroes') subjectivities as well as the form and "modality" (such as, for example, performativity) of the work, in our opinion, would allow to define new parameters of contemporary Russian culture and enrich the category of the political as a tool of the cultural analysis.
Three Left Panels! OBERIU and its Afterlives in Russian Culture
Organizers: Ania Aizman (Harvard) and Geoff Cebula (The College of New Jersey)
Incompatible notions of radicalism and tradition have always been central to practice and legacy of the OBERIU poets. For contemporary observers, it was often impossible to decide whether they represented a radically new form of art or a throwback to the prerevolutionary avant-garde. According to one account, no less an authority on literary inheritance than Viktor Shklovsky underscored this contradiction when he first met them in 1926: “If the leader of the Western Futurists were to visit us again, I don’t doubt that [you] would occupy the position of Khlebnikov.” Occupying the figurative seat of the previous generation’s great innovator, the young poets represent both continuity with the past and a radical path forward. Moreover, the oberiuty themselves wholeheartedly embraced their ambiguous position by alternately naming themselves the “Left Flank” and the “Academy of Left Classics.” Though playful, these names raise fundamental questions about the role of tradition in innovation, the internal consistency of avant-gardism as a concept, and the nature of literary inheritance. This panel stream will address these questions through a series of events dedicated to analyzing both the historical OBERIU and the problem of avant-garde inheritance more broadly. By focusing on OBERIU and groups influenced by them, we hope to raise general questions about avant-gardism and artistic inheritance.
Our broad theme is an investigation of what happens to avant-garde movements when they start to become assimilated to “tradition” in their own right. Within this general problem, our proposed panels focus on the OBERIU poets as both inheritors of the Futurist tradition and as representatives of an “anti-tradition” for later generations of Soviet artists.
We are envisioning this as a three-event stream:
Russian Literature of the Anthropocene
Organizer: Alec Brookes (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
Attempts to explain the geological epoch now known as the Anthropocene have provoked truly interdisciplinary conversations about the causes, symptoms and solutions for an epoch defined by human-driven modifications of the earth’s environments. In seeking a way out of “second nature”—the modern transformations of the earth since the long sixteenth century—Anna Tsing asserts that it is “up to fabulists, including non-Western and non-civilizational storytellers to remind us of the lively activities of all beings, human and non human.” In order to remind of this post-human, more-than-human and other-than-human nature, we therefore look to the specificity within Russian literature, its attention to landscape—landscapes that spanned one sixth of the earth’s surface at one point during the Anthropocene, to the long and complicated entanglements within Russian literature of discourse and material, and to those entanglements that might still point a way forward. This stream shifts our attention away from the anthropocentrism of historical time, suggesting instead the urgency and scope of geological time.
Translation in Slavic Contexts
Organizer: Maria Khotimsky (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
The goal of this panel stream is to explore various aspects of translation in Slavic and East European contexts, including political, social, cultural, and aesthetic. We hope to connect scholars who explore various topics in the history of translation and its changing functions in various historical epochs, and in contemporary era of globalization. The panel sequence builds on earlier conference events, such as 2014 conference on Translation in Russian Contexts at Uppsala University, Sweden in June 2014 (organized by Julie Hansen and Susanna Witt), as well as several round tables and panel sequences at ASEEES and AATSEEL conferences in the past years.
At AATSEEL 2017, we aim to organize several events devoted to Translation Studies and Slavic Studies. Some will be of innovative format, such as a Conversation with poetry translators, as well as a State of the Field seminar with established scholars who have helped shape interdisciplinary connections between Translation Studies and Slavic Studies, who will share their experience in teaching, research and editorial work, and discuss recent and ongoing publications and projects.
We are currently seeking paper proposals for two panels: one will address socio-political aspects of translation (ideology and censorship in translation, translation and literary markets, translation in contemporary globalized contexts), and another panel with a more historical or philological focus (literary cross-influences in translation, aesthetics and poetics of translation, translation in the heritage of writers and poets).
Organizer: Susan McReynolds (Northwestern University) & The North American Dostoevsky Society
We propose a stream dedicated to topics in research and teaching the works of Dostoevsky. Two panels will consist of scholarly papers that explore special topics in Dostoevsky studies; the roundtable will foster conversation about teaching Dostoevsky. We envision the possibility of organizing a dedicated Dostoevsky stream each year, following this model of two research panels—with topics changing each year—plus a teaching roundtable. For 2017, we propose the following topics:
This year, stream will thus offer a panel formed around a coherent scholarly theme (Dostoevsky and the Law); a panel open to contributions submitted by AATSEEL members (NADS); and a roundtable addressing pedagogy.
Elementary-level Language Instruction: Theory and Practice
Organizer: Katya Nemtchinova (Seattle Pacific University)
Elementary-level language courses can lay a solid foundation for further language and culture study. Even with the availability of helpful course materials it is the instructor who is primarily responsible for introduction and facilitation of the basic linguistic structures and functions in such a way as to increase their learners’ interest and motivation to pursue the study of the language to more advanced levels. This panel stream will explore the theoretical and practical issues of the elementary-level language instruction. The presentations will raise the subjects of various methodologies integrated with the development of the four language skills, fostering intercultural competence, assessment and evaluation, and the use of technology. Individual presenters will discuss a number of innovative classroom materials and techniques that could strengthen the elementary curriculum and suggest successful instructional strategies and collaborative projects that appeal to various learning styles and help stimulate language production in the context of classroom-specific uses. The theoretical and practical ideas presented by panelists will appeal to a wide range of practitioners in the field who will be able to adapt these suggestions to their own curricula and improve student learning in authentic, real-world contexts.
Women's Experience of War on Soviet and Post-Soviet Screen
Organizer: Marina Rojavin (Bryn Mawr College)
This panel stream addresses issues concerning the representation of and the role assigned to women in war films in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia. The canonical images of “fighting women,” which do not conform to Western stereotypes of “femininity,” women, who are conventionally pretty, docile, and caring, and those who have both set of traits will be examined to demonstrate the transition between the ideal woman of the 1930s to that of the postwar era. The two mother characters will be studied in the context of narratives about wartime on Ukrainian soil in the productions by Kiev Film Studios in 1943-44. A non-conventional depiction of women in wartime who did not match the Soviet female archetype and who were neither physically strong nor beautiful in appearance will be explored in the paper on Aleksei German Sr.’s films of the 70s. The appearance of young women fighters, their mental and physical feminine problems in the setting of war, and a new image of femininity shown in the Stanislav Rostotsky’s film in 1972 will be the subject of formal analysis and will be discussed in its historical context. The panel will also examine films which give voice to problems of contemporary Russian society during the 2000s. In particular, it will be demonstrated how one of the most transgressive moments in Russian women’s history has been exploited by today’s state propaganda by focusing on the film which explores the story of the first all-women battalion formed in 1917 by the Provisional Government in order to raise the spirit of the Russian army.
Mimesis in Russian Art and Aesthetic Theory
Organizers: Chloë Kitzinger (UC Berkeley) and Tatyana Gershkovich (Harvard)
In the Poetics, Aristotle gave shape to the idea of the mimetic artwork as a fiction: the representation of an action, with the power to intellectually and emotionally engage its audience independently of fidelity to the factual truth. Understood in this way, a mimetic work entails (in the classicist Stephen Halliwell’s terms) both “world-creation” and “world-imitation” – it is at once a self-enclosed fictional heterocosm, and a depiction of a world knowable outside itself. It might be argued that the tension between these two faces of mimesis has taken particularly acute form in Russia, throughout a literary tradition that seems, as a recent history puts it, “always about to forget that it is merely made up out of words” (C. Emerson, The Cambridge Introduction to Russian Literature). When social, political, cultural, and institutional circumstances give art and literature a strong claim to authority about reality and the inner ‘truth’ of things, how does the fictional and aesthetic status of mimetic art become – implicitly or explicitly – problematic?
This panel stream would invite papers on the aspects and faces of mimesis in Russian literature, art, and aesthetic theory. Possible topics among others include: utopian visions in realist texts; the interplay between visual and verbal mimesis; “aesthetic” and “radical” critics’ conceptions of realism and verisimilitude; and questions about the ideal experience and effect of the mimetic work of art – as envisioned in the aesthetic theories of writers from Belinsky, Chernyshevsky, Dobroliubov, and Pisarev to Tolstoy, Viach. Ivanov, Nabokov, and Bakhtin; or as woven into mimetic works themselves (from the realist prose of Turgenev, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, or Chekhov to twentieth-century works of Symbolism, socialist realism, and beyond).