Cultural Creation of 'Russian Reality'

Cultural Creation of 'Russian Reality'

Junna Hiramatsu, St Antony’s College, Oxford; Kyohei Norimatsu, St Antony’s College, Oxford
St Antony's College, Oxford (Dahrendorf Room, Founder's Building)
United Kingdom
Vom - Bis
15.03.2009 -
Katharina Uhl, Universität Leiden

It is widely accepted that our sense of ‘reality’ is constructed by cultural representation. Literature, film, painting and other cultural media attempt not only to reflect ‘existing’ reality but also to determine our modes of perception and behaviour. In Russia, this use of representation to create ‘reality’ seems to have been particularly powerful, with different means, logics, and effects in different historical conditions. These all deserve to be closely examined and located in their wider historical and cultural contexts.
The conference will focus on two episodes of ‘Russian reality’ – the colonial situation in the Russian Empire (including such ‘internal’ colonial situations as that of the narod, the Russian peasantry), and Socialist society. Russian intellectuals were engaged in a long struggle to represent their colonised peoples legitimately, with complicated feelings of guilt and inferiority. The Russian Revolution can be seen as an attempt to turn that idealised representation of the colonised into reality. By contrast, the Soviet Union’s officially recognised system of representation, Socialist Realism, so radically twisted the concept of ‘the real’ that it almost redefined ‘reality’ as its idealised representation.


10:00-11:30 Panel 1: Reality of Socialist Realism I
Chair: Catriona Kelly (University of Oxford, UK)

Sandra Evans (University of Tuebingen, Germany) 'The Creativity of Rubbish
or the Reality of Ambivalence in the Communal Apartment'

Monica Ruethers (University of Basel, Switzerland) 'Socialist Living
in the New Family Home of the Khrushchev Era'

11:30-12:00 Coffee break

12:00-13:30 Panel 1: Reality of Socialist Realism II
Chair: Andrei Zorin (University of Oxford, UK)

Mikhail Ryklin (Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany)
'”The Best in the World”: Discourse of Metro, Discourse of Terror'

Junna Hiramatsu (University of Oxford, UK) 'Mimetic Representation
and Violence in Stalinist Culture: The Case of M. Sholokhov'

13:30-15:00 Lunch break

15:00-17:30 Panel 2: Colonial Reality in the Russian Empire
Chair: Mark Bassin (University of Birmingham, UK)

Kyohei Norimatsu (University of Oxford, UK) 'The Dispute over "Russian
Orientalism" in the Mirror of Bestuzhev-Marlinsky's Ammalat-bek (1832)'

Susan Layton (University of Edinburgh, UK) 'Russian Tourism, Nationalism, and
Social Identity: Representations of Self and Other in the Early Reform Period'

Dany Savelli (University of Toulouse, France) 'Colonizing Shambhala: From the
Usurpation of a Buddhist Myth to a Usurpation of Identity (the Roerich
Expedition in Central Asia 1924-1928)'

17:30-18:30 Wine reception and dinner


Katharina Uhl

St Antony's College, 62 Woodstock Road, OX2 6JF Oxford

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