In the Western imagination, Russian culture is seen as something essentially spiritual and intellectual. And yet there exists another Russian culture, a culture of the street, an everyday culture – in other words, a culture that is popular, and above all material. Examples of this culture throughout the centuries are as diverse as they are numerous. They include the 17th and 18th century lubok, Rodchenko and Mayakovsky’s candy wrappers of the 1920s, the stilyagi phenomenon of the 1950s, and 21st century Russian commercial culture. These cultural phenomena are especially interesting for the way in which they question the East-West distinction around which Russian national identity is so often constructed. And yet few researchers look at this important – central? – aspect of Russian culture. This is precisely the aim of this, the 23rd international conference of the British-French Association for the Study of Russian Culture. The conference is open not just to Slavists, but also to historians, anthropologists, ethnographers, sociologists, and colleagues working in related disciplines. Questions to be addressed include: how should we define Russian popular and / or material culture, and how different is it from Western culture? Who produces this culture? What values does it embody? How are objects of Russian material culture used in everyday life? What is the relationship of this culture to ‘high’ Russian culture? Proposals for papers concerning any aspect of Russian popular and / or material culture since Peter the Great will be particularly welcome. However, the organising committee will also consider papers dealing with an earlier period.
The official languages of the conference are English, French and Russian. Paper proposals, in the form of a 200-word abstract, should be sent to the conference organisers, Graham ROBERTS, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Agnès CALLADINE (email@example.com) by 31 March 2013 at the latest.
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