The Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) would like to organize a stream on 19th century women’s writing in Slavic and Eurasian Literature and Culture. This stream of three panels will interrogate how women writers, often relegated to the margins of literary culture, both attempted to conform to prevailing literary norms, while at the same time, they subverted or department from them. Topics under discussion will include: women’s agency to create an authentic authorial voice within what was largely a masculine tradition; the problematics of (pseudo)anonymous authorship; their use of creative themes or materials that were not usually explored in art; their relationship to traditional genre categories such as Romanticism and Sentimentalism; and the challenges they faced in getting their work into print and creating communities of readers. Additionally, the panel will also consider ways in which we can include women’s works in the general curriculum, instead of relegating their works to specific women’s writing courses or modules.
We encourage presentations focusing on creative production by women that feature diverse representations of gender, sexuality, and personal identity, the relationship of gender to state and political power, and representations of masculinity and femininity.
Across geopolitical contexts, critical Indigenous theory has forced a shift beyond metaphors of “decolonizing” academic work (Tuck and Yang 2012; Alekseeva 2019). Scholar-activists have instead pursued projects that act on institutional and economic reality to move toward a post-colonial-capitalist world (Dzhabbarova 2022). However, in most cases, these projects engage communities subject to Euro-US colonization separately from communities facing Russian colonization and colonial forces in Eurasia more broadly. Exceptions to this rule, such as the Arctic Council’s language revitalization initiatives and Soviet-era collaborations among Indigenous thinkers, demonstrate the potency of co-opting academic institutions to connect decolonial movements inside and outside Russian state control (Grenoble 2021, Kuznetsov 2020, Balthaser 2020). If the US-based field currently known as Russian Studies is to contribute to these connections, it must embrace the affordances of “Indigeneity” despite the complexities of translating that term in Eurasia. This stream, therefore, proposes a reframing of Russian Studies away from its imperial/colonial center and toward a focus on Indigenous realities and imaginations, particularly imaginations of post-Russian local worlds. As the Russian Federation’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine brings ideas of defederation into public discourse, how can academic and cultural workers help create worlds that outlive Russian dominance?
Stream participants might actualize this question in any of its disciplinary valences, from transnational organizing strategies and language curriculum design in the present day to analyses of cultural and political history that can shape decolonial action. While some participants may offer position papers on overarching terminological questions of Indigeneity in Eurasia, others will center specific communities, texts, and practices to elucidate the implications of Indigenous Studies frameworks in territories under past and present Russian control, as well as in transcontinental networks of relation involving these territories.
This stream will consist of two research panels and a roundtable on decolonial pedagogy.
Alekseeva, Sasha. 2019. “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor.” Strelka Institute, February 8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA_2gK3wnK0.
Balthaser, Benjamin. 2020. “From Lapwai to Leningrad: Archie Phinney, Marxism, and the Making of Indigenous Modernity.” Ab Imperio 2020 (1): 39–58.
Dzhabbarova, Egana. 2022. Dekolonial’nost’: nastoiashchee i budushchee. Sbornik statiei. Moscow: Gorizontal’.
Grenoble, Lenore A. 2021. “Learning Even and Evenki in the Northern Linguistic Landscape.” In Kohen, Hilah, Irina Sadovina, Tetyana Dzyadevych, Dylan Charter, Anna Gomboeva, Lenore A. Grenoble, Jessica Kantarovich, and Rossina Soyan. “Teaching and Learning Indigenous Languages of the Russian Federation.” Russian Language Journal / Русский Язык 71 (3): 89–115.
Kuznetsov, Igor. 2020. “Archie Phinney, A Soviet Ethnographer.” Ab Imperio 2020 (1): 59–74.
Tuck, Eve, and K. Wayne Yang. 2012. “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 1 (1): 1–40.
The stream focuses on the theory and practice of developing students’ intercultural skills in world language and literature classes. World language and literature classes are often the primary vehicles for college and K-12 students to encounter cultures other than their own. The stream will address the following questions: How to effectively prepare our students for real-world intercultural communication situations? How do we ensure that young people recognize and accept differences in cross-cultural perceptions, world views, attitudes, decision-making, etc. without judging other people? How to reasonably evaluate students’ intercultural skills?
In 2020, Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay expressed her concern that “the world is torn by conflicts and wars, and new global challenges and threats – such as populism, deep inequalities, and violent extremism – are on the rise, undermining women and men’s abilities to live together.” (1) That is especially true for the Slavic world enduring the humanitarian catastrophe caused by Russian troops invading the territory of sovereign Ukraine, since February 2022. As Vladimir Pastukhov, Honorary Senior Research Associate (UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies) said in a recent interview, the war front is not just on the battleground, but it is in people’s minds. (2)
We invite teachers and scholars working on intercultural communication to join our stream. We envision two panels and a roundtable. The first panel would focus on the current theoretical approaches to intercultural competency; the second panel would focus on specific classroom instruction examples; and the roundtable would be an opportunity for a structured discussion of key issues.
1. Deardorff, D. Manual for Developing Intercultural Competences: Story Circles, Routledge, 2020.
2. Pastukhov, V. Pastukhovskie Chetvergi [Pastukhov’s Thursdaysl], Zhivoy Gvozd, interviewed by Alexey Venediktov, April 21, 2022. https://youtu.be/SRwhMJ9nDUY
The suggested stream topic allows to accommodate different types of presentation. Potential participants can share with the audience both their critique of the traditional approach to teaching Russian verbal aspect and, also, bring in some new ideas on how to overcome the outlined deficiencies in the traditional approach. The focus of individual panel presentations can be on the theory of verbal aspect or methodology of teaching it; it could also inform on the Russian language learner’s experience or the new ideas from recently published research -- in other words, anything that could contribute to improving effectiveness of learning / teaching the system of Russian verbal aspect. The panels will be organized based on the topical predominancies of abstracts, received from the potential participants. They will be concluded by a round table discussion of both panels’ presentations with the emphasis on new ideas and practices.
Structure: Two panels plus a round table
The practice of public debate and polemics has a long history in Russian culture. Particularly during the Soviet period these often vehement disputes, which took place across the pages of newspapers and journals, did much to shape the dominant literary and artistic discourse of the time. From the fierce quarrels over the proper, communist attitude toward art and artistic production of the early 1920s, to the realism debates of the 1950s, examples of these ideologically laden and acutely consequential arguments abound. Not confined to the Soviet period, we see writers and intellectuals of the Imperial era engaged in literary querelles in the pages of thick journals, as well as critics discussing the changing status of literature after the fall of the Soviet Union.
For this stream, we call for papers on literary and scholarly debates. While there are no chronological or geographical constraints, we welcome contributions focusing on conceptual questions, which explore the function of these debates within the literary and academic fields at different historical points, and interrogate their link (if any) to actual literary or artistic production. Can we consider such debates as constituting, at a given historical moment, a specific genre? What is the historically situated significance of constructing and speaking against an academic or literary “enemy?” How does the function of literary and scholarly debate change overtime, and how does the official status (or lack thereof) of the forum affect this function; e.g. do these debates have the same function in emigree and Samizdat publications as they do in official Soviet journals? Put otherwise, how are we to understand this culture of public debates, what role did they play in structuring intellectual and artistic life, and what impact did they have on artistic production and, possibly, artistic reception?
Embracing the principles of student-centered learning is not new, however translating them into actual practice is challenging. The proposal is to have 3 panels as part of the stream to explore the following: (1) Who are our students, what do we know about them and how do we know it? (2) Engaging students in ways relevant to them in terms of both instructional design and assessments; (3) Embracing innovation and a more dynamic approaches to be more student-centered. Panelists will be invited to share their research, experiments and experiences in their efforts to make their classrooms and curricula more student-centered. Examples may include sharing results of investigations into who the students are and what they think about learning in general and Russian in particular, creating inclusive classrooms and online communities for increasingly diverse populations, exploiting new technologies, rethinking syllabus design and “grading,” for example. In addition to those listed below, we have interested participants from Brazil, South Africa, Czech Republic, Great Britain, as well as those listed below, who have indicated they will submit proposals.
This stream will focus on Russophone literature (poetry and prose) directed against the imperialist discourse of the necessity of war, which has prevailed in Russian literature since at least the 18th century. Meanwhile, other kinds of utterances and voices have gradually developed which discredit the victorious, unifying “bellopoetics”: revelations of the catastrophic nature of what is endured in war, of the experience of war for individual human lives. How have these utterances developed over the course of the past two centuries? What devices, forms of historical narration and depictions of subjectivity have been used? What is the relationship here between prose and poetry? How about official and unofficial writing? Can we talk about a tradition of Russian anti-war writing?
We encourage proposals for papers about authors writing against the traditions of imperialist military rhetoric (and literature), in the Horatian mode: seeking out the stranger and lonelier voices, those which clash with the military song-and-dance ensembles. To some extent we could call this “deserter poetics.” We imagine articles treating “different” writers such as Velimir Khlebnikov, Yan Satunovsky, Lydia Ginzburg, and many others. How did these writers understand war and grapple with it in their writings—not only in terms of ideology, but in the way they construct subjectivity (personal, lyrical, historical), in the formal aspects of this writing (even the grammar)?
Three: one panel, two roundtables