Violence in Twentieth-Century Russia and Eurasia: Experience, Affect, Memory, and Legacies

Call for Paper Proposals

Violence in Twentieth-Century Russia and Eurasia: Experience, Affect, Memory, and Legacies

Ralph and Ruth Fisher Forum

Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

June 19-20, 2015

Organized by Harriet Murav and Mark Steinberg

In a poem dedicated to the memory of 19 June 1914, Anna Akhmatova wrote “we aged a hundred years, and this/Happened in a single hour.” The twentieth century brought unprecedented violence to the European world, not least in the Russian empire and the Soviet Union. The years 1914-1921, among the most bloody and destructive in Russia’s history, cannot be understood in isolation from the whole jagged landscape of violence—international wars, violence political force, national and revolutionary violence, ethnic and racial violence, and interpersonal and domestic violence. Boundaries do not easily stand in violent conditions.  Emancipatory and repressive violence mix and blur. Purposeful political and social struggles mix with “hooliganism” and commonplace human brutality.

Any violence itself is only part of this story. The twentieth century, especially its first decades, saw a remarkable explosion of creativity in the arts, literature, science, politics, philosophy, and social organization, as well as extraordinary technological innovation and invention. Indeed, violence itself could be understood in radically different ways, including as creativity, even as actions in the name of life.

We are seeking paper proposals from diverse disciplines that will examine the immediacy, effects, and refractions of violence in Russia and Eurasia (defined as the spaces occupied by the Russian empire and the Soviet Union) from 1900 through 1945. Papers might explore violence in culture (from art and literature to popular culture), in society and politics, as recorded in documentary and photographic form, in science, law, and technology, and in subjective, sensory, and emotional life.

No less important, papers should engage the problem of how to interpret and theorize violence, as practice, as experience, as legacy. Indeed, while our focus is on the past, we cannot ignore lasting effects and persistent meanings, including for our own time. Our shared interpretive and theoretical concerns, as well as the richness and diversity of the research, will both make our discussions fruitful, and help us produce a coherent and publishable volume.

If you are interested in participating, please send a 2-page CV (focusing on publications), and a tentative title and abstract (maximum 300 words) to Harriet Murav hlmurav@illinois.edu and Mark Steinberg steinb@illinois.edu by March 1, 2014.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s