Midwest Slavic — More than Midwestern, More than Slavic

This weekend’s virtual/hybrid/asynchronous/distanced event brought together colleagues and research topics from India and Indiana, Kyiv and California, Tashkent and Tajikistan, Poznan and Penza and Pennsylvania. Thanks to all who participated.

Feel free to network across the platform, read and watch the individual presentations (using your individual session password), comment on the blog. Papers/presentations remain available until FRIDAY April 23! We’ll be contacting conference goers to hear your praise and critiques. It’s good to learn of technical problems and get suggestions for how to improve … but we’re not sure when (or if) we’ll utilize this format again! Thank you all for your patience and professionalism, in particular the efforts made to ensure that this multi-generational multi-disciplinary conversation nurtures the young and feeds us all.

Hoping to invite you to Columbus in Spring of 2022!


Folk Lament

We explore literature through contexts and by connecting the pieces. In her essay “The Voices of Grief,” Oksana Husieva shows how Akhmatova drew on the tradition of the widow’s lament for her Requiem. Check out Oksana’s description of Irina Fedosova, a famous 19th century “lamenter.” I’d love to learn more about Oksana’s research process for this paper.

Film, Dance, Gaze

So exciting to see Marjana Krajac’s presentation on choreography and film. She talks about “photo-cinematic ontology” and explores how dance moves beyond performance thanks to the camera. The images of the Zagreb earthquakes make the camera’s lens even more vital to help us understand how we interact with movement in life and on screen or page. How might we connect these ideas with “Euridice’s gaze” as described by Nikolina Lazetic in her paper in the same grouping?

Metropolitan Greetings (and welcome to all)

One thing I’m noticing about this year’s Midwest Slavic Conference is just how many participants we have from all over the US and all over the world. The quality of papers and presentations is really high, and I hope everyone is getting a chance to look over the individual papers and read/listen to some in preparation for tomorrow afternoon’s Zoom discussion sessions. I’m also seeing a lot of resonance with other virtual conferences I’ve attended this year: for example, Michael Breger’s discussion of Allen Ginsberg “behind the Iron Curtain” reminds me of Fred White’s paper on Hemingway in Russia at the multinational “Literary Classics and Intellectual Autonomy in the Soviet World” conference that took place on March 26 and April 2.

Metamodernism — moving toward the proverbial “happy end”?

Super interesting presentation about Metamodernism in Ukraine. “Modern enthusiasm and postmodern irony” — metamodernism seems to be located somewhere on this spectrum. It is certainly true that in our day many readers have lost patience with “incredulity toward meta-narratives,” in Lyotard’s formulation of postmodernism. Tetiana Grebeniuk suggests that metamodern art and literature want to “help us learn to live happily again” — which resonates with what Yvonne Howell will tell us this evening at the keynote. It will be interesting to compare Alex Dubas’s project with those of the Ukrainian novelists Tetiana writes about (Andrij Bondar, Oksana Zabuzhko, Serhiy Zhadan).

Celebrating the addition of EURASIAN to our Center title

The paper coming to us from TASHKENT on Washington’s strategic goals in Central Asia gives me a chance to crow about our new title. From now on we are the Center for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, or as I like to call it CS TRIPLE E S. That extra E reflects the interests of students and scholars on campus and across the world, as the Social Sciences division of MWS shows. Welcome, Eurasia, to Columbus!

“History is too important to leave to the historians”

Surprising to read this quote, in Russian, in the middle of a paper in our MWS linguistics panel. But what a fascinating idea. Here it applies to E. L. Doctorow’s novel Ragtime and the process of publishing its translation in the Soviet journalĀ Inostrannaia literatura. How do we understand linguistic phenomena and contexts as we move from one language to another? Excellent question. Translation strategies of media are also addressed in one of our individual papers. Would love to see these two scholars in conversation on the blog or in the Zoom rooms next week.

Conference papers and presentations now available

Sky views in Vyborg, Russia

View from Hermitage-Vyborg Center

Conference participants! I know we’re all in classes and busy with teaching, research, etc. But please take some time to explore the Midwest Slavic conference program and the individual presentations. The written papers I’ve read so far are stellar, and the presentations are fascinating. At a regular conference you can’t “taste” everything, but since the papers will be up for more than a week even before our exciting keynote lecture and plenary on April 15-16, you can get started now.

It’s like travelling to Eastern Europe without the hassle of passport control.