Published: May 22, 2017



Mark Leiderman and Sergei Ushakin

Thanks to a generous grant from the Center for Western Civilizations, support from the Arts and Sciences Fund for Excellence and our own budget, GSLL hosted in 2016-17 a large-scale series of lectures by prominent Russian Studies scholars. The Russian Series was attached to two significant events – centennial of the Russian Revolution in 2017 and the launch of the Russian graduate program at CU. The series included seven lectures and represented Russian culture from folklore to the space program and current politics. Prominent scholars visited CU with lectures for The Russian Series: in September Andrew Kahn (Oxford University) gave an exciting lecture on Pushkin’s interpretations of history; in November Elena Minyonok (Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Andrew JenksWorld Literature) spoke about the present-day’s (re) inventions of Russian folklore and Nadezhda Azhgikhina (a prominent Russian journalist) discussed the new meaning of journalism and hardships of journalists under Putin’s political regime. A new year began with Oleg Proskurin’s (Emory University) festive lecture on prototypes of Gogol’s Nozdrev. In early March Sergei Oushakine (Princeton University) delivered a theoretically dazzling lecture on Shklovsky’s “discovery” of things behind words and how this affected all Russian avant-garde and resonates with contemporary theory. In mid-March Eric Naiman (University of California-Berkeley) in his intellectually provocative lecture focused on sexual subtexts of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. The series conclude with Andrew Jenks (California State University, Long Beach) opening the hidden utopian potential of the US-USSR space collaboration in the 1970s. All lectures were well attended not only by Russian faculty and graduate students, but also by guests from other departments and even other universities! It was a true intellectual marathon, which displayed novel theoretical, historical and analytical approaches ideas and canon-breaking interpretations of Russian literature and culture, and introduced brilliant representatives of the Russian Studies in the US, Europe and Russia.