2019 Streams

Friday Streams

1A: Acquisition of Vocabulary at the Intermediate/1 to Advanced/2 Levels of Proficiency
2A: Issues in teaching lower-level language courses: strategies and practices
3A: Moscow Conceptualism
4A: Corpora Based and Corpora Driven Research and Language Instruction
5A: Platonov
6A: AWSS Sponsored Stream: Gender and Sexuality within Slavic Studies
7A: Monopoliphonic/polimonologic Tolstoevsky or Spirited in Flesh

Saturday Streams

1B: Approaches to Teaching Slavic Languages: Connecting Forms and Functions and Creating Meaning
2B: Mimesis in Russian Art and Aesthetic Theory
3B: Supporting Characters in the Soviet Cinema of 70s-80s
4B: Inclusive Pedagogies in Slavic Languages
5B: Red Migrations: Marxism and Mobility in the early 20th Century
6B: Spontaneity, Negativity, Anarchism in Russian Culture
7B: The Russian Medical Humanities

Stream 1A: Acquisition of Vocabulary at the Intermediate/1 to Advanced/2 Levels of Proficiency
Organizer: Susan Kresin

Recent research (Hacking and Tschirner 2017) has demonstrated the core role of vocabulary in successful reading proficiency, with minimal lexical thresholds much higher than previously assumed for each of the ACTFL levels. With this paper serving as a springboard, each of the panelists will present on a specific topic relating to the acquisition of vocabulary, in various modalities (reading, listening, speaking) and in various pedagogical contexts (both college and high school language courses and topic-based content courses, and in both regular and accelerated language programs).

Stream 2A: Issues in teaching lower-level language courses: strategies and practices
Organizer: Katya Nemtchinova

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.

Stream 3A: Moscow Conceptualism
Organizers: Christina Schwartz and Semyon Leonenko

This stream will address the complex relationship between the verbal and visual in the context of “Moscow Conceptualism” of the 70s and 80s. As Boris Groys writes, “the goal of Moscow conceptualism was to change the direction of one’s gaze from future to present, from inner vision to external image. Or: to become an external spectator in a world of shared visions” (Groys, History Becomes Form: Moscow Conceptualism, 2010, 2). The objective of our stream is to develop a more comprehensive view of an important era in unofficial cultural production by initiating an interdisciplinary dialogue between art historical, anthropological, and literary approaches to Moscow conceptualism.

We envision two panels focused on various aspects of Moscow conceptualism and a roundtable exploring its legacies and what might constitute the “post-conceptual” in contemporary Russian art/literature. In addition to classics of the movement, participants may want to consider lesser known figures or works of Moscow conceptualism, models of interaction between the verbal/visual/performative/theoretical in particular works, the movement’s relationship to conceptual art in the West, the role of spectatorship and the archive.

Stream 4A: Corpora-Based and Corpora-Driven Research and Language Instruction
Organizers: Valentina Apresyan, Irina Mikaelian

The proposed stream is conceived as a logical sequel of the 2018 stream Corpora in Linguistic Research and Language Teaching and intends to continue exploration of theoretical and applied aspects of corpus linguistics within the field of Slavic languages. The stream will center around three broad topics: non-standard Russian and learner corpora; parallel corpora and multilingual databases as an instrument of cross-linguistic investigation; instruction-oriented databases and corpus-informed instructional tools.

Learner and parallel corpora in combination with monolingual corpora of original texts are invaluable tools in understanding the nature and the causes of errors and other features of non-standard texts, such as first language interference, calquing, etc.

Among other applications, learner corpora allow for identifying general patterns of language acquisition by groups of learners of various first languages; developing linguistic portraits of non-native speakers depending on their linguistic levels; comparing patterns of errors of heritage and traditional learners of language.

Parallel corpora have proven to be both an invaluable source of comparative data and a powerful instrument for studying cross-linguistic differences. A methodological framework has been proposed to account for language-specific lexical phenomena (cf. Zalizniak, Shmelev, Inkova).

In particular, it has been shown that the degree of language-specificity of a lexical unit with respect to a given language can be “measured” using a set of criteria, such as the number and type of translation models and translation stimuli for this unit. Besides informing a fine-grained semantic analysis of various lexical units, parallel corpora allows for establishing cross-linguistic equivalences between units belonging to different linguistic levels. For example, a lexical unit expressing a certain attitude in Russian (such as doubt, apprehension, or probability) can systematically correspond to a grammatical mood in European languages.

Parallel corpora are of particular interest for Slavic linguistics and pedagogy. Russian-Polish, Russian-Ukrainian, Russian-Byelorussian, Russian-Czech, Polish- Czech parallel corpora (to name a few) can be effectively used for cross-linguistic comparison between closely related languages.

Thus, corpora can be used to both test and generate hypotheses, permitting researchers to create systematic descriptions of existing patterns and errors and to make accurate predictions of potential errors, to identify “the spots of trouble” and their causes, and to adjust language teaching accordingly.

The stream will comprise two or three panels. We invite papers pertaining to one of the general topics introduced above. We particularly encourage submissions dealing with Slavic languages other than Russian.

Stream 5A: Platonov
Organizers: Eric Naiman, Jason Cieply, Nariman Skakov, and Tom Seifrid

We welcome work devoted to all aspects of Platonov's career. Ideally, we would like to focus at least one panel on a single work, and we call especially for papers devoted to "Ювенильное море," "Хлеб и чтение," "Впрок", "Муссорный ветер" or "Семен." Comparative work will also be welcome.

Stream 6A: AWSS Sponsored Stream: Gender and Sexuality within Slavic Studies
Organizers: Natalie McCauley, Colleen Lucey, Adrienne Harris, and Hilde Hoogenboom

Issues of gender and sexuality continue to remain in the spotlight of news outlets in Russian, East European, and Eurasian and in the West. With increasing tension over LGBT/Pride movements in the former and the #metoo movement in the latter, we feel that our field should continue to give issues of gender and sexuality specific attention. This stream of panels will focus on questions of gender and sexuality in politics and history, in literature and film, and in the language classroom. In addition, we hope to build on some of the productive discussions from last year’s AWSS-sponsored panels, which focused on gender in performance and politics, in language, and in space in post-Soviet culture. We welcome papers that engage with these themes across disciplines; as examples, we hope to invite presentations focusing on artistic works created by women or non-cishet artists, works that feature diverse representations of gender and/or sexuality, the changing (or unchanging) views on gender in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia, the role of gender in the language classroom, and representations of masculinity and femininity in the media.

Stream 7A: Monopolifonic/polimonologic Tolstoevsky or Spirited in Flesh
Organizers: Victoria Juharyan and Susan McReynolds

Nikolai Berdiaev has remarked that “Tolstoy and Dostoevsky exemplify an insoluble controversy, in which two sets of assumptions, two fundamental concepts of existence, confront one another.” Dmitry Merezhkovsky has called Dostoevsky a “seer of the spirit” (‘a poet of faith and mystic revelation’) and Tolstoy a “seer of the flesh” (‘a singer of corporeality and unclouded vision’). Two decades after Tolstoy’s death, Bakhtin defined Dostoevsky as “polyphonic” and Tolstoy as “monologic.” As Caryl Emerson brilliantly sums it up: “Very early, during Tolstoy’s lifetime, readers sensed that these two worlds were incompatible,” yet “The Tolstoy/Dostoevsky parallel lives can also help us grasp the organization and value-hierarchies of their respective literary worlds.”

Our stream of panels titled “Monopolifonic/polimonologic Tolstoevsky or Spirited in Flesh” seeks to foster dialogue, collaboration, and community among scholars whose research focuses on any aspects of the lives and works of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy as well as to challenge these long established dichotomies and bring Berdiaev’s “insoluble controversy” between the two great literary lights of Russia into more direct scholarly scrutiny and a multi-voiced ongoing conversation. What resulted last year with our Tolstoevsky stream was a sort of mini-conference within the framework of the larger conference, a mini-conference devoted to shared concerns and debates between Tolstoy and Dostoevsky scholars as well as between value-hierarchies of these thinkers’ respective literary worlds.

Stream 1B: Approaches to teaching Slavic languages: connecting forms and functions and creating meaning
Organizers: Anna Asulfieva and Olesya Kisselev

The stream intends to continue and build upon the experiences of the 2018 stream on language pedagogy, entitled “Learning trajectory of Russian second language learners”. We will to focus the 2019 stream on the teaching and learning of grammar in instructed settings. We understand the term grammar as a phenomenon that arises from the interplay of linguistic form and function (meaning) and permeates all levels and planes of linguistic expression.

In this Stream, we invite the participants to discuss conceptual frameworks and practical approaches to teaching grammar that explore the inherent connections between the traditionally labeled components of the language system, i.e., lexicon – syntax – semantics – text, and to ponder over how these connections are best uncovered and taught in the second language classroom. The Stream will target such questions as: reconceptualization of language input, models of grammar instruction, and types of communicative activities most effective to form-function prerogative.

We propose three panels loosely organized around these sub-topics: Panel 1 will explore interfaces between syntax and lexis (e.g., teaching vocabulary in relation to its formal properties); Panel 2 will address the issues of teaching syntax at the sentential level (e.g., grammar of sentence, syntax-semantics interface, sentence in the text environment, etc.); finally, Panel 3 will interfaces between syntax and discourse (e.g., syntactic structures in building textual meanings, text analysis, text production.)

Stream 2B: Mimesis in Russian Art and Aesthetic Theory
Organizers: Chloë Kitzinger and Kit Pribble

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 both “world-creation” and “world-imitation” – it is at once a self-enclosed fictional heterocosm, and a depiction of a world knowable outside itself (cf. S. Halliwell, The Aesthetics of Mimesis, 2002). Russian literature, art, and aesthetic theory have long been marked by an acute tension between these two faces of mimesis. When political, cultural, and institutional circumstances give art and literature a strong claim to authority about reality, how does the fictional and aesthetic status of mimetic art become – implicitly or explicitly – problematic? We will continue to explore these tensions in the third and final year of this stream.

This year we hope to include two open panels, and a roundtable discussion devoted to a single text, Pushkin’s Evgenii Onegin, as it relates to problems of mimesis. Roundtable papers might examine Pushkin’s novel-in-verse in light of modern criticism and aesthetic theory, or in dialogue with the aesthetic debates of the 19th-century. What claims to mimesis are woven through, subsequently read into, and/or challenged by this foundational Romantic text? If you would like your paper to be considered for the roundtable, please note this in your proposal. For the open panels, possible topics include, among many others: utopian visions in (socialist) realist texts; the interplay between visual and verbal mimesis; the relationship between mimetic and ethical capacity in both artists and spectators; questions about the ideal experience and effect of the mimetic work of art. Papers focusing on authors and theorists from all periods, working in all genres and media, are welcome.

Stream 3B: Supporting Characters in the Soviet Cinema of 70s-80s
Organizer: Marina Rojavin

As a follow-up to our panel-stream at AATSEEL, “Character Archetypes in the Soviet Cinema of the Post-Thaw Era,” this roundtable-stream also focuses on films of the 70s and early 80s. This is a continuation of the discussion of the anti-hero, but from a different angle.

This time, it will be a conversation about supporting characters who typically challenge the anti-hero/anti-heroine and play a significant role in the main character’s development, more profoundly and vividly bringing their problems to the forefront. The supporting characters usually were able to live in the Soviet system, while the transgressive main characters could not. For instance, in Flights in Dreams and Reality (Balayan, 1983), the main character’s friend and colleague adjusted to the system and he confronted the former. There are Zhenya Lukashin’s friends and girlfriends in “Irony of Fate…” (Ryazanov, 1975). There is also “Stalker” (Tarkovsky, 1982) with the Writer and the Professor, who play a noteworthy role in the development of the Stalker’s character, or "The Theme" (Panfilоv, 1970) with the protagonist Pasha’s new and old friends, who act differently than she does and function as the most immediate stand-ins for the main character's family, altering a paradigmatic familial background.

Additionally, if we look at female supporting characters, we might notice that although they actively influence the development of main characters, their role is different than that of males. The films portray them in a domestic or personal sphere more so than in a social or professional one. All this is intended to further our discussion of anti-heroes.

Stream 4B: Inclusive Pedagogies in Slavic Languages
Organizers: Rachel Stauffer, Jill Martiniuk, and Natalie McCauley

Learners in K-12 and post-secondary Slavic language classes are increasingly diverse in ability, second/heritage language fluency, ethnic and socioeconomic background, gender identity and sexual orientation, and immigration status. In order for our field to thrive, the teaching of Slavic languages must adapt to this diversity by creating classrooms and instructional materials that foster inclusivity, accommodate and facilitate diverse learning abilities, and cultivate an environment in which all students may succeed and engage meaningfully with the content. The topics of this stream will include: accommodation in face-to-face and online classrooms, such as how to involve and assist students who struggle with social skills in communicative tasks and how to minimize performance anxiety for students struggling with clinical anxiety and panic conditions; representation and inclusivity, such as how to adapt existing instructional materials to be relatable for students of diverse ethnic, socioeconomic, gender, and sexual identities; and, overall, how to make all students feel welcome and included, regardless of the cultural capital they bring to the classroom. Papers in this stream will apply current research in any of the following fields to instruction of any Slavic language: higher education, digital classrooms, learning management systems, language learning and identity, special education theory and practice, language learning for part-time students, self-regulated learning, educational equity, multicultural education, bilingual education, and third-language acquisition.

Stream 5B: Red Migrations: Marxism and Mobility in the early 20th Century
Organizers: Phillip Gleissner and Bradley Gorski

Building on conversations begun during the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, this stream critically reexamines the transnational aftermath of that cataclysmic event. In contrast to traditional émigré studies, we focus on the multidirectional and multilateral movements across borders by specifically leftist thinkers, artists, and writers. From avant-garde poets like David Burliuk, to Marxist theoreticians like Gyorgy Lukacs, to “fellow travelers” like Paul Robeson, leftists of all stripes were inspired and at times impelled by the Soviet revolution to cross borders. The resulting circulation—of ideas, aesthetic forms, as well as individuals—not only contributed enormously to the ferment of creative activity in the early Soviet years, but also deeply informed international leftist aesthetic and political practice throughout the twentieth century.

By interrogating this era of leftist mobility, the stream will contribute to our understanding of the international resonance of the 1917 revolution. It will also highlight the porousness of the boundaries between east and west, between émigrés and leftists, and between “Western” Marxism and “Soviet” Marxism as theoretical traditions. Ultimately, the stream asks, does a transnational perspective give us new insight into broader leftist projects, and conversely, does revolutionary Marxism create a special kind of transnational condition?

Stream 6B: Spontaneity, Negativity, Anarchism in Russian Culture
Organizers: Ania Aizman and Anastasiya Osipova

This stream explores the development and influence of anarchist principles in Eastern European culture. We consider tensions between stikhiinost’ and soznatel’nost’, between negation and political didacticism, and their influence on aesthetic innovations. We investigate literary and artistic efforts to undo authoritarian language – and to find forms of non-authoritarian collective speech. We discuss the interrelation between the formal aspects of language and anarchist thought. How do prose and poetry enact the refutation of the teleological view of history and the resistance to representation? How does art express anarchist projects such as direct action and direct democracy? How do anarchist forms of life, from mutual aid to nomadism, develop and flourish in literary/artistic spaces? And how do spontaneity, negativity, and anarchism give rise to critical approaches in a range of disciplines – from documentary writing to ethnography?

This stream welcomes panelists who work across genres, media, and temporalities to explore principles implicitly associated with anarchism such as spontaneity and negativity. With reference to explicit anarchist moments in Russian culture, from the history of the People’s Will movement to Malevich’s Suprematist abstractions, we also consider contemporary expressions of anarchism in Russia and larger Eastern European region. We are interested in applications of anarchist critical paradigms to the analysis of literary and artistic works, and welcome papers that engage with theory.

Stream 7B: The Russian Medical Humanities
Organizer: Melissa Miller

Since the 1960s the field of the medical humanities has experienced tremendous growth in the United States. At its core interdisciplinary, the medical humanities seek to combine expertise in both medicine and the liberal arts, such as literature, music, film, history and cultural studies, in order to “re-humanize” medical education and ensure better patient outcomes. The field of narrative medicine has received particular attention for its call to train physicians to treat their patients as human beings with complex individual stories, as opposed to a strict focus on the discrete symptoms of disease. In recent years, medical schools at universities such as Columbia and North Carolina at Chapel Hill have introduced full-length programs in the medical humanities and narrative medicine into their curricula.

However, these ideas are not new or particular to the West. The papers in this stream will each explore how similar ideas have profoundly shaped the careers and creative output of Russian artists from the 19th century until the present day. By drawing on the rich tradition of the physician-writer in Russia, we will also discuss what contributions Russian literature and culture can make to the global medical humanities.