A Century of Movement: Russian Culture and Global Community since 1917

A Century of Movement: Russian Culture and Global Community since 1917

October 12-13, 2017

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Keynote Speakers: Katerina Clark and Marina Frolova-Walker


The cultural products of the last century reflect change, opportunity, and uncertainty, and demonstrate active negotiations between personal identity and social awareness, nationalism and cosmopolitanism, artistic voice and security. This conference, in the centennial year of the Revolution, seeks to explore the transformations set in motion during and after the events of 1917 through an examination of cultural production and practices, located both within and without Russia.

We will explore first and foremost the issue of human migration, particularly the patterns and developments set in motion by the Revolution. Over the course of the century, Russian communities abroad navigated competing ideologies and cultural tensions, including those conflicts stressed by national and global politics. The Revolution, broadly defined, was a catalyst for the changes that affected the cultural developments of generations of Russian artists, writers, and musicians and significantly shaped subsequent discourse—arguably continuing into the present day. Moreover, waves of human movements and resultant diasporic communities have become enmeshed in the cultural lives of their host countries, whose responses have shifted with the global political changes of the interwar years, the Second World War, the Cold War, and the post-1989 world order. In light of today’s desperate discussions regarding the migration of refugees, it is both timely and important that we examine the ways in which human migration yielded and continues to yield both social and cultural challenges and profound creative contributions.

We invite proposals of no more than 300 words for individual twenty-minute papers. Scholars and graduate students of all areas are encouraged to apply, as we hope to assemble a conference which promotes interdisciplinary discussion, with an eye towards the possibility of future publication in a volume of collected essays or a special issue of a journal. In selecting participants, preference will be given to papers that speak to any of the following questions:

  • How has the Revolution and the events following affected the development of global Russian culture and artistic production over the last century?
  • How has ethnic migration, and in particular Russian-Jewish migration, resulted in new considerations of identity, culture, and community?
  • In what ways has the Revolution shaped cultural discourse since 1917?
  • In what ways have movements and migration, set in motion by the Revolution, influenced cultural communities, opportunities, and perspectives?
  • How have issues of authenticity, cultural authority, and cultural responsibility been negotiated through creative expression among Russian artists and/or intelligentsia after the Revolution?
  • How do émigré artists mobilize cultural authority to affect the perception and reception of Russian culture abroad? How might this be complicated by issues of identity?
  • How did contact zones, from Soviet cultural institutions to nostalgia-driven tea rooms, shape cross-cultural and transnational encounters?

Proposals should include presenter name, contact information, institutional affiliation (if any) and a short biographical note (not to exceed 100 words).  Please send proposals to centuryofmovement@gmail.com. The deadline for submission is April 7, 2017.

This conference has been jointly sponsored by the following departments and centers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: The Department of Music, the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies, the Graduate School, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Conference Organizers: Jamie Blake and Grace Kweon, in collaboration with Annegret Fauser