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Tenure-track Assistant Professor of Soviet and Russian History, New York University, Deadline November 12


Department of Russian & Slavic Studies and Department of History
New York University

The Department of Russian and Slavic Studies and the Department of History of New York University seek a tenure-track, assistant professor of Soviet and Russian history since 1917. The position will begin September 1, 2011, pending administrative and budgetary approval. The successful candidate will divide responsibilities equally between the two departments. The position is open to candidates whose research concerns any period of Russian and Soviet history from 1917 to the present, including all sub-fields and interdisciplinary approaches.

The committee will begin reviewing applications on November 12, 2010. All application materials must be submitted electronically. To apply for this joint faculty position please submit cover letter, curriculum vitae, and three letters of reference via the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies web site at or Department of History web site at

NYU is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

Posted in: Job Postings
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Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema Journal Announces Article Competition, Submission Deadline: April 1

The following message comes to CEERES from the editors of the Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema Journal:

Postgraduate/Graduate Article Competition
for Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema (SRSC)

In 2011 Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema enters its fifth year of publication. It has established itself as a scholarly journal of high ranking, with a rigorous, anonymous double peer review system.

In the Soviet tradition of the grand public celebration of anniversaries, we have decided to mark the journal’s fifth birthday with an essay competition.

Articles on any aspect of Russian/Soviet cinema will be considered, with a maximum length of 6,000 words. These should be original works, and should not have been submitted for publication elsewhere. The texts should be sent to the Editor, at the address below, with the name of an academic supervisor (including email) who can be contacted to confirm that the author is a doctoral student at a Higher Education Institution. All submissions must be in English, and non-native speakers are advised to have their texts “styled” before submission.

Deadline for submission: 1 April 2011

The jury will be composed of the journal’s co-editors; they will assess the submissions anonymously. Results will be available by 1 September 2011. First Prize: £150, a year’s free subscription to the journal, and three Intellect books of your choice. The winning article will of course appear in SRSC, in volume 5.3 (2011).

A style sheet – and a free issue for download – can be found on Intellect’s website at,id=135/view,page=2/

I look forward to hearing from you,
Birgit Beumers
Editor, SRSC

Posted in: Calls for Papers and Upcoming Conferences, Resources (Funding, Study Abroad, Internships, etc.)
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Exhibits on “Tolstoy’s Final Journey” and “Gulag Art” at Regenstein Library, Now through December

Please visit:

Regenstein Library Exhibit: “Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy, 1828-1910; 1910: The Last Year, The Final Journey”

Novelist—Playwright—Philosopher—Religious Thinker—Educator…

A hundred display cases, a museum, in fact, would be needed to adequately illustrate the works of this literary giant and explore the vastness of his influence. His complete works have been published in 90 volumes (1928) and more recently, in a projected 100 volumes (2000-), while the books and articles written about him number in the tens of thousands. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of his death, this exhibit, in its minuscule space, attempts only to provide a glimpse into the final year of a tempestuous soul, still searching at the very end for answers to questions he posed throughout his life: What is Art? Truth? God? Love? Death? His political influence was so great, so feared by the Tsarist government, that he was hounded and censored to the very end; his moral influence, giving rise to a worldwide movement, was so contrary to the church establishment that he was excommunicated. And in spite of all efforts by church and state to prevent the event of his death from vitalizing his millions of supporters among the young, the peasantry, and the intelligentsia, his death was turned into a feverish media event.

Much has been written of Tolstoy’s dramatic final days. His dream of a contemplative old age in the shadow of his 80 year-old sister Maria’s monastery walls at the Shamardino convent were short-lived, as he quickly left the monastery when his family discovered his whereabouts. Fleeing to the Caucasus by train, Tolstoy falls ill and dies in the stationmaster’s rooms at the Astapovo station. He was buried, according to his wishes, in the woods of his beloved estate Yasnaia Poliana, without religious ceremonies or addresses. In tribute, crowds of thousands gathered along the route of his journey home, singing the prayer for the dead “Memory Eternal”.

“In the middle of the night of October 28, 1910, Lev Tolstoy closed the door to the room where his wife of forty-eight years was sleeping, packed his things and left his home, never to return. At the age of eighty-two, the most famous living Russian embarked on a final journey that would become one of the great legends of the twentieth century. His disappearance immediately became a national sensation… As he lay dying of pneumonia, he became the hero of a national narrative of immense significance.” (William Nickell, The Death of Tolstoy, Russia on the Eve, Astapovo Station, 1910.)

The exhibit is located in the Second Floor Reading Room of Regenstein Library and will run through December 2010.

June Pachuta Farris
Bibliographer for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies

Please visit:

Gulag Art

an exhibit running through December 2010 in Regenstein Library

For both the professional artists and amateurs who were able to create artworks within the Gulag, the lack of oppressive Party mandates limiting content and stylistic expression would have meant greater freedom to experiment with style and content. However, due to the limited choice of subjects, materials and inadequate time to complete each work, artworks which were created by prisoners in the Gulag camps can be described as “journalistic” in style, more often than not depicting scenes or elements from the prisoner’s daily life — their immediate surroundings — such as landscapes, portraiture, domestic still-lives and interiors, as well as narrative scenes depicting human torture, the realities of imprisonment and harsh physical labour. Portrayals of landscapes with churches and graveyards point to the high mortality rates of the “revolutionary era” of the Stalinist Soviet Union.

In the Gulag, creativity took on many forms, from written memoirs (such as one work currently on display by Evfrosiniia Kersnovskaia), to arts and crafts, paintings and body art. Tattoos were the common marks of identification among the “real” criminals. Professional artists who found themselves in concentration camps were often “employed” by the criminals, drawing tattoos in exchange for food or “protection” from other inmates. The subject matter varied according to every criminal’s past. Tattoos were markings which spoke of the horrible deeds that every vor (“thief”) had performed or where they “did time” for their crimes. Among the most popular tattoos were the images of Soviet leaders. These were often applied to chest right over the heart or at the back of the head in the hope that guards were less likely to shoot a prisoner through the image of a great leader. Other tattoos were of explicitly sexual content, employing anti-Semitic and sexist imagery, swastikas, demonic characters, and allegorical motifs. There were also tattoos which marked a prisoner’s time in the Gulag, explicitly pointing to the horrific death tolls, listing the names of the camps through which the prisoner had survived and various propaganda slogans.

There are currently 290 Gulag museum initiatives on the territory of the former USSR, none of which appear to be state-sponsored. Information relevant to cultural undertakings of the Gulag camps is scarce and the number of visual artists who suffered imprisonment during the Stalinist reign is an elusive figure. Official records, written and revised numerous times, prove to be somewhat unreliable. The Memorial society is the largest organization which is currently working on preserving the memory of the Gulag through its digital database as well as the Virtual Museum. The Virtual Gulag Museum brings together research and archives from the former Soviet Union to record the existence of the Gulag and the suffering of its victims. Its collection of visual artifacts remains the most accessible and significant in the study of Gulag arts and crafts.

The exhibit is located in the Second Floor Reading Room of Regenstein Library and will run through December 2010.

Katya Pereyaslavska, Guest Curator
Master of Information Candidate, M.A. Fine Art History, University of Toronto

Posted in: CEERES Events/News, University of Chicago Events
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Slavic Colloquium: “Evgenii Cherviakov and the Poetics of Early Soviet Cinema,” Petr Bagrov, May 18

Co-sponsored by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Department of Cinema and Media Studies

“Evgenii Cherviakov and the Poetics of Early Soviet Cinema,” by Petr Bagrov

Time: 4:30pm, Tuesday, May 18.
Location: Cobb 310 (5811 S. Ellis Avenue)

Posted in: University of Chicago Events
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Call for Papers: “Between History and Past: Soviet Legacy as the Traumatic Object of Contemporary Russian Culture,” Deadline: June 1

Call for Papers


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 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
by 1 June 2010.

Posted in: Calls for Papers and Upcoming Conferences
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Artspeaks: Ilya and Emilia Kabakov at the MCA, May 19

The cultural historian Svetlana Boym once called the monumental art installations of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov “memory museums,” remarking that each of these works “turns into a refuge from exile.”

Ilya Kabakov is a Russian-American conceptual artist of Jewish origin, born in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. He worked for thirty years in Moscow, from the 1950s until the late 1980s and now lives and works on Long Island with his wife, Emilia. Throughout his forty-year plus career, Kabakov has produced a wide range of paintings, drawings, installations, and theoretical texts—not to mention extensive memoirs that track his life from his childhood to the early 1980s. In recent years, the Kabakovs have created installations that evoke the visual culture of the Soviet Union, though this theme has never been the exclusive focus of their work.

By using fictional artist biographies, many inspired by his own experiences, Kabakov has examined the birth and death of the Soviet Union as a metaphor for the ambitions and failures of modernity. In the Soviet experience, Kabakov discovers elements common to every modern society, and in so doing seeks to materialize the psychological landscapes of urban secular life. Rather than depicting the Soviet Union exclusively as a failed political and social project, the Kabakovs’ installations treat the USSR as one of the many utopian undertakings of the twentieth century. By reexamining historical narratives, while simultaneously interjecting personal perspectives, the Kabakovs demonstrate that every project, whether important or trivial, public or private, destructive or emancipatory, must wrestle with the temptations of an authoritarian will to power.

A retrospective of their work together will be followed by a conversation with Matthew Jesse Jackson, Professor of Art History and Visual Arts (Univ. of Chicago).

For more information:

*Ticket Prices

Single event tickets:
$20—general public
$5 – students with valid ID

For tickets, call 773.702.8080

Time: Wednesday, May 19 7:30pm

Location: Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago Avenue


Posted in: Chicago Events
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