2022 Streams


Paper proposals for streams should be submitted via the regular submission portal under "individual paper submissions". Please select "stream related" from the drop-down menu (do NOT select the topic division (e.g., "literature/culture", "linguistics", etc.).

Teaching Methods with an Eye towards Equity

Winter/Spring 2021 featured a number of well-attended ACTR webinars and a Spring Teachers’ Lounge Series to explore issues of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the field. Out of these introductory discussions has emerged the desire to examine course design on both a micro- and macro-level that engages with concepts in current educational research to promote greater equity in the classroom. How might we define “Teaching Methods with an Eye towards Equity” in a language or literature/culture class? Where are the intersections in the research on brain science, second language acquisition theory, and equitable teaching practices? What curricular materials, learning approaches and activities, assessment structures and grading practices promote both language acquisition and equity? How are these concepts realized in a culture or literature class? Panelists on this stream will address these or other relevant questions, proposing best practices that engage current research on the topic. Accepted presentations will be placed into one of two panels:

1. Teaching Methods with an Eye towards Equity: Course Design and Curricular Content

2. Teaching Methods with an Eye towards Equity: Assessment Structures and Grading Practices

There will be four presentations per panel. Presentations are limited to 10-15 minutes. Current panelists represent a variety of generations of scholars and educational settings: 2 pre-college, 1 graduate student, 1 Lecturer, 1 Professor.

Contemporaries

This stream considers one of the most famous photographs in Russian literary history, the 1856 studio portrait of Druzhinin, Goncharov, Grigorovich, Ostrovsky, Tolstoi, and Turgenev as contributors to Sovremennik. The picture documents a period of relative peace between the journal’s leading authors and critics—one that would not survive the changing ideological positions that were at that time already beginning to emerge. What did Russian literature look like in the pages of the journal on the eve of this transformation? The panel will examine these writers in the context of this moment following the end of the Crimean War, during the first years of Alexander II and his promise of reforms. Possible topics include: the role of the journal in the development of Russian intellectual history; the artistic and personal feuds and friendships of its contributors; the distancing of these writers from the journal’s political and artistic platforms; contributors forgotten and neglected; significant particularities of this iconic journal, its editorial teams and contributors; and, of course, the photograph itself. Attention will also necessarily be paid to those not shown in the photograph—the radical critics who would become the faces of the journal and transform its politics.

Othering and Authority in Slavic Studies

From what scholarly position is the Slavic world studied? The Cold War bifurcated scholarship into pro- and anti-Soviet stances. Then and later, scholars in the Anglo-American world tended to imagine scholarship produced in the region as offering simply data, to be theorized by scholars elsewhere (perhaps after it has been dissociated from the theoretical frame in which it was presented, which is imagined as naively politicized). This attitude is hard to sustain given the increasing scholarly interaction between scholars who speak English and those who speak the languages of the region, the rise of scholars from the region in English-speaking academia, and the calls throughout the academy to “decolonize theory” and acknowledge that Western European and North American epistemologies and ontologies are not necessarily universally valid. Papers in this stream consider the conflicts and conversations in Slavic studies between methodologies and theories from varied locations.

Neverending History: New Historical Cinema in Russia

The last ten years of Russian cinema were marked by a search for new ways of narrativizing Soviet history. The trend came to a head in the late 2010s-2020s, with a succession of contentious and widely discussed works: Kantemir Balagov’s Beanpole (2019), Andrei Konchalovsky’s Dear Comrades (2020), and the most controversial of them all – Dau by Il’ya Khrzhanovsky (2019-20). Precariously balancing historical accuracy and aestheticism, the films’ desire to destabilize accepted historical narratives became embedded in their form as well as in the plots, sparking a conversation about the emergence of new historical cinema in Russia.

How do these films transcend cliches of historical cinema and reinvent the genre?

How does their radical aestheticization of historical events fit with the claims of historical accuracy and the purportedly realistic storylines?

How does the use of new categories of analysis (gender, class, trauma) affect the films’ vision of the Soviet past?

And finally, what kinds of commentary about the present political climate in Russia do these films offer?

The stream seeks to answer these and similar questions, and in so doing, to cast light on one of the most prominent trends in Russian cinema today.

Language development and language pedagogy of Slavic languages: Focus on morphology

Rich morphological paradigms typical of Slavic languages have long been recognized as a unique challenge for learners of Russian with first languages with less complex morphological features as well as for heritage learners of Slavic languages. The stream will address various topics in Slavic morphology, both nominal and pronominal inflection, verbal domain, the intersections between morphology and other tiers of the language system (phonology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics); the stream will explore these topics from theoretical, acquisitional, and pedagogical perspectives. The stream will be organized in two panels. We invite linguists, researchers, and language instructors in the field to share their research findings and pedagogical approaches.

Women Writers and Artists in Slavic and Eurasian Literature and Culture (Pre-20th century)

The Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) would like to organize a stream on pre-20th century women writers and artists in Slavic and Eurasian Literature and Culture. This stream of panels will focus women’s creative production across a wide range of media, from literature, poetry, memoir, and publicistic writing to the visual arts and material culture. We encourage presenters to explore how women creatives have both contributed to and interrogated their contemporary political discourse. In addition, we hope to build on some of the productive discussions from last year’s AWSS-sponsored panels, which focused on the multiple ways that Slavic Women’s and Gender Studies increasingly breaches national, disciplinary, and chronological boundaries.

We welcome papers that engage with these themes on a variety of levels; we hope to invite presentations focusing on creative works by women that feature diverse representations of gender, sexuality, and personal identity, the role of gender in public discourse in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Eurasia, and representations of masculinity and femininity in visual culture.

Data, Technology, and Language Acquisition

This stream is for anyone interested in how data and technology can be applied to language learning.

Suitable topics - Tools you use:

Technology you find useful in learning or teaching

language, and how you use it.

Tools you make:

Technology you develop; your goals, status, and results.

Data Statistics:

Information gathered on how we learn languages.

Data Organization:

Structuring of target material for students or for research.

Technology:

Using technology to ease student comprehension of facets of a new language.

Using technology for adaptive testing or reinforcement (such as spaced-repetition).

We hope this stream may be a suitable forum for students to share their feedback on the use of technology in language learning.

Uneven and Combined Development

The theory of Uneven and Combined Development (UCD) was famously formulated by Lev Trotsky to explain the Russian Revolutions of 1917. More broadly, UCD has reemerged in recent years as both a theoretical problem and a scholarly methodology in fields such as history and international relations. This stream is interested in UCD as a concept in cultural analysis. If, as some have argued, Pyotr Chaadaev’s diagnosis of Russia’s unique position with respect to world culture anticipates the idea of UCD, then how can UCD help locate the particularity of Slavic and East European cultures through their historical development, rather than a timeless essence? How does UCD give shape to specific cultural (artistic, literary, cinematic, etc.) forms, whether of specific works or genres and national traditions? In turn, how might cultural production give form to the experience of UCD? How might UCD allow for a reframing of familiar tropes like cultural “belatedness”? What kinds of “unevenness” or multiple zones can be observed within our region’s engagement with the rest of the world (for example, the non-aligned movement during the Cold War alongside Soviet involvement in anti-colonial movements)? How does UCD shed light on dynamics of translation and reception of imported cultural forms? We invite abstracts dealing with any period and area of REEES considered through the lens of UCD. We are also open to related fields of inquiry such as Ernst Bloch’s “non-synchronicity”, World-Systems Theory, and Dependency Theory.



The Counter-Human

In an interview conducted at Cornell University in 1994, Samuel Delany-- literary theorist, queer activist, and a Black author of speculative fiction -- asserted that it was time for literature to question its own “monologic aesthetic” centered wholly on “an individual or group of individuals” making their way through a passive world. In order to subvert this hierarchy, we must find new “protagonists” for the stories we tell. These new subjects would consist of “the exciting, material, impinging” elements of the non-human, inhuman, and other-than-human that had long been relegated to the backgrounds and margins of literary and cultural imaginations: “landscapes, technologies, and life forms both known and unknown,“ operating in “dialogic interpenetration” with the human and with each other.

In the twenty-first century, under the sign of the Anthropocene, the conventional distinction between object-worlds and human subjects has given way to the study of precisely such “dialogic interpenetrations.” The ontological turn in critical theory-- including but not limited to object-orientation, speculative realism, new materialism, and ecocriticism -- has inevitably made its mark on recent anthropological and historical investigations in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian studies. Yet literary and cultural studies in the field are only now beginning to take up Delany’s challenge in its theories and methods, despite an identifiable and incredibly rich tradition of what we call “counter-human” storytelling in the region (see the fall 2020 special issue of Russian Literature devoted to “Russian Literature of the Anthropocene,” edited by Alec Brookes [co-organizer] and Elena Fratto).

The stream of panels on what we call the “Counter-Human” aims to radically expand the scope of this work. We call for papers that would not just offer new theoretical tools and methodological insights, but also introduce the AATSEEL community to previously unexamined archives, genres, movements, and modes of imagination. Beyond directing our attention to the “other Others” in literary, visual, and media arts, this stream seeks presentations that actively challenge our anthropocentric preconceptions; actively interrogate the unequal relations of power inherent in a “monologic” focus on the human; and embody dialectical and dialogic approaches to the other-than-human in literary practices and cultural forms.


Russian Literature and Western Modernism

Due to the legacy of official Soviet literary policy, the intertextual presence of Western modernism in the writings of Russian authors, until recently, has been discussed as an exception rather than a systematic phenomenon. We would suggest that recent research is shifting this paradigm and that the exceptions that testify against the rule are too numerous not to explore in a more systematic way. In this stream of panels, we invite papers that look into influences, repulsions, translations, allusions, publishing histories, and other aspects of Russian authors’ engagement with modernist aesthetics in the 'West' (Anglo-American, German, French, Italian, Spanish, etc.). Papers may consider Russian literature of any period. We hope to put together three panels that can be arranged either according to a thematic or a chronological principle and that might address some of the following questions: Which representatives of Western modernism left a noticeable trace on Russian literature? In what way? How did the official Soviet, underground, or immigrant milieu shape Russian interaction with Western modernist works? How does post-perestroika Russian literature perceive Western modernism, and how has this shifted in recent years?

Carceral States in Slavic and East European Studies

In light of the controversial events related to issues of policing and incarceration that we have witnessed in the past year in the U.S, Eastern Europe, and Russia, this proposed stream aims to examine the field’s understanding and teaching of/in prisons. The powerful legacy of Russian and Eastern European authoritarian regimes and their historical practices of unjust detention, imprisonment, and exile also offer the opportunity to consider how the past inflects more recent conflicts between the state and its citizens and immigrants. Our panel will showcase new research on prison literature, a category that includes but is not limited to fictional depictions of prison and labor camps, autobiography, memoirs, and letters from a range of eras. Our roundtable will address
approaches to teaching prison literature and academics teaching literature in prisons, a growing practice in general and within Slavic Studies in particular. Operating on the principle that prisons are institutions which are intricately tied to society despite their fortified walls obscuring what happens therein, this stream seeks to illuminate an array of carceral states understood both as governmental biopolitical regimes of punishment and control, and the experiences of captivity and coercion.

Russian Poetry and Poetics

Poetry has been a key genre in many different periods of Russian literature, from the first intentionally literary attempts in the eighteenth century to the Golden Age of Pushkin, from the modernist proliferation of the early twentieth century to today’s globally distributed Russophone poetry. This stream aims to bring together scholars working on poetry today, to showcase and share new approaches to a wide range of poetic material. It features two panels exploring different aspects of Russian poetry: first, issues of poetics and stylistics, such as versification, figures of speech, and imagery, so as to explore how these aspects contribute to convey a poem’s meaning. The second panel considers pre-nineteenth-century elements in twentieth- and twenty-first-century poems, rooting them in their cultural background and illuminating links between distinct literary epochs.

The stream welcomes papers that engage with these themes in order to think about the practice of Russian poetry in the different phases of its production—from the early modern, to the modern, to the contemporary.



Tolstoy

This stream intends to foster dialogue, collaboration, and community among scholars who research topics related to the works of Tolstoy. Recognizing that Tolstoy is a broad topic, our stream seeks to reflect a diversity of approaches to include many different aspects of Tolstoy scholarship. In addition to bringing together a variety of approaches, our stream aims to bring together scholars working in different institutional contexts and stages of their careers.

We especially welcome papers related to adaptation, animals, and questions of gender and sexuality. Panels will consist of four presenters each and all presentations will be limited to 10-15 minutes.