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Events

Plotting Publics: Science, Society, and Literature in Russia and Eastern Europe

General Programming

Cosponsors
  • Department of Slavic Languages
  • The Harriman Institute
Organizer
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
Contact
email address [email protected]
Notes
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required.
man reading to children

This conference explores the intersections of literary culture and the scientific study of society in Russia and Eastern Europe. The literary culture of the region was fixated on studying its publics long before the science of society became a distinct form of knowledge production. Literature was also among the first to put to the test ideas of social engineering, developing social imaginaries for the future, as the sciences sought to transform the present. Given the richness of the dialogue between literary culture and the study of society, this conference asks: what epistemic frameworks did literature offer to the emergent science of society–understood broadly as studies of society, its economy, and governance–and what did it borrow? What methodological, theoretical, and political approaches did both domains of knowledge share, and how did they diverge? What can we learn by examining the two in tandem, as building upon or contesting one another?

The conference will hone in on the political implications of literature’s entanglement with the social science project. It will ask how literature aided emergent and established studies of society, such as sociology, political science, economics, and law, in making sense of its publics and polity. Conversely, to what ends did such literature employ scientific methods, and what kinds of ideas about the people and the state did it popularize? What were the effects of literary intervention in the domain of science, especially of its ventures into the studies of ethnic and racial diversity, national identity, systems of governance, and economic hierarchies? In probing these questions, the conference will aim to uncover a shared methodology of society and will identify the dynamic vision of how social, ethnic, racial, and national identities are plotted and maintained throughout history.

Please email [email protected] to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.

Program

time11:15am EDT

Opening Remarks

time11:30am - 1:00pm EDT

Panel 1. Utopian Protocols
God-Builders Among the Godless: Gorky, Bogdanov, and Early Soviet Utopianism

Maya Vinokour

New York University

Marx Defends the Human: Pavel Gurevich’s Critique of Western Anthropocentrism in 1980s

Jinyi Chu

Yale University

Discussant

Jessica Merrill

Columbia University

Chair

Veniamin Gushchin

Columbia University

time1:00pm - 2:00pm EDT

Lunch

time2:00pm - 3:45pm EDT

Panel 2. Culture's Plots
Literary Naturalism and the Discursive Construction of Russian Homo Economicus

Vadim Shneyder

University of California, Los Angeles

Sorokin’s Queues

Jillian Porter

New York University

Discussant

Chloë Kitzinger

Rutgers University

Chair

Valeriia Mutc

Columbia University

time4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT

Panel 3. Public Minds
The Logic of Autoimmunity in Anton Chekhov's Island Sakhalin

Julia Vaingurt

University of Illinois at Chicago

Mind Reading, In Public: Plotting Psychopower through Soviet Fiction & Mass Spectacle

Cate Reilly

Duke University

Discussant

Anne Lounsbery

New York Univesrity

Chair

Zachary J. Deming

Columbia University

time9:30am EDT

Coffee

кофе

time10:00am - 11:30am EDT

Panel 4. Capital Acts
Chekhov’s Drama of Capital and Russia’s Rise of Financialization

Alisa Zhulina

New York University

Capital Acts: Maxim Gorky and the Economic Imaginaries of Late Imperial Russia

Valeriia Mutc

Columbia University

Discussant

Kimberly Jannarone

Yale University

Chair

Alexey Shvyrkov

Columbia University

time11:45am - 1:00pm EDT

Panel 5. Scripting the Nation
Ethnographic Gothics: writing human sacrifice in modern Russian imperial ethnography (1880s-1910s)

Marina Mogilner

University of Illinois at Chicago

Mother Tongue and Other Tongues: Annensky and the Psychology of Language

D. Brian Kim

University of Pennsylvania

Discussant

Ilya Vinitsky

Princeton University

Chair

Mark Lipovetsky

Columbia University