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 firstname.lastname@example.org and Mark Steinberg email@example.com by March 1, 2014.