Call for Papers
BETWEEN HISTORY AND PAST: SOVIET LEGACY AS THE TRAUMATIC OBJECT OF CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN CULTURE
Workshop at the University of Sheffield (UK), 30-31 October 2010
The workshop will address the relationship between contemporary Russian culture and Russia's Soviet past, the relationship characterized by profound ambiguity. Almost two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union Russian society and culture is increasingly dependent on its Soviet heritage, which is upheld and rejected, often simultaneously, in practically all fields of symbolic production, from state ideology to architecture, from elitist literature to mass culture. The aim of the workshop is to navigate the array of discourses in order to trace the ways in which Soviet past functions not as a self-contained object, however complex and ambiguous, but rather as a space of projections, displacements and symbolizations, as a symptom whose affective charge betrays the urgency of its underlying problematic.
The main impetus behind the workshop is to look at the Soviet past through the traumatic contradictions of the present. Contemporary Russian culture is suspended between the unstable historical narrative of the new nation's emergence from the ruins of the USSR and the legacy of Soviet culture, whose models, revolutionary or Stalinist, no longer work. The resultant impossibility of symbolic structuration creates a tangible traumatic void at the core of contemporary Russian culture which its subjects try to fill with their inconsistent, emotional, and ideologically charged interventions. Whether praised or vilified, likened to the present of contrasted with it, the Soviet past is influenced by Russia's current predicament in no lesser degree than it itself influences Russia's present.
We invite papers from an open variety of disciplines that will be neither purely historical (i.e., tracing the actual historical transformation of Soviet culture into contemporary Russian one) nor purely immanent (i.e., approaching the Soviet past as a fantasmatic image pertaining to the Russian present) but rather address the gap between historical genealogies and immanent perceptions, the gap conditioned by the traumatic impossibility to merge narratives of Russian history and the fantasmatic visions of the Soviet past.
The workshop will be coordinated with Russian Aviation and Space: Technology and Cultural Imagination workshop that will be held at the University of Leeds, UK, on 29 October 2010 (for more details please visit http://aviation.vladstrukov.com/). Sheffield and Leeds are within a short train ride from each other.
Please, send your abstracts /300 words/ accompanied by a CV to the workshop organizers, Evgeny Dobrenko and Andrey Shcherbenok, at firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 June 2010.
Dr. Andrey Shcherbenok
Royal Society Newton International Fellow
Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies
University of Sheffield, Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover St, Sheffield S3 7RA
Phone: +44 0793 014 3021 Email: email@example.com
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