See Next

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, "Babylonian Tower," 2012.
[Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36]
Used by permission.


Marina Mogilner,  UIC History, Edward and Marianna Thaden Chair in Russian and East European Intellectual History
Keely Stauter-Halsted, History, Hejna Family Chair in Polish Studies
Malgorzata Fidelis, History
Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, The Crown Family Professor Of Jewish Studies, Northwestern Univ.
Jonathan Daly, History

This group brings together scholars who study history and culture of Eastern Europe and Northern Eurasia.  Invited speakers will frame particular cases within wider methodological, disciplinary, and geographical contexts relevant for a broad community of students of diversity, complex societies, imperial formations and postcoloniality.

Russian Formalism: The Theory of Literary Estrangement and the Estrangement of Social Practices

October 10, 2019, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Ilya Kalinin, Associate Professor, Liberal Arts and Sciences, St.-Petersburg State University; Professor, National Research University “Higher School of Economics”

The theoretical and revolutionary project, which was announced by the leading figure of Russian Formalism, Viktor Shklovsky, in 1914, aspired to go much further than just a renewal of philological knowledge, or even the arts as such. Moreover, in its focus on ordinary things, Russian Formalism did not limit itself to either the tendency towards “total aestheticization” of everyday life, or the reductionist aesthetic “isolation of things from their primary everyday context”. In his first manifesto, “Resurrection of the Word” (1914), Shklovsky assesses the everyday context of his time in the following way:  “The old art is dead now… and the things are dead too, – we lost the feeling of the world; we are like a fiddler, who ceased to feel strings, we stopped being artists in everyday lives, we stopped loving our homes and our clothes and all too easily part with life, which we do not feel”. And he conceives of the “new artistic forms”, which are deemed capable to “bring back the experience of the world to the man, resurrect the things and kill the pessimism”, as the means of reviving the lost sensibility towards the material aspect of the world. This way, “the resurrection of words” calls for the resurrection of things and social practices.

Ilya Kalinin is Associate Professor at the Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences at St.-Petersburg State University and Professor at the National Research University “Higher School of Economics”.  He is the editor of the Moscow-based intellectual journal “Emergency Rations: Debates on Politics and Culture (Neprikosnovennyj Zapas/NZ: Debaty o politike i culture)” and the editor of the two book series on cultural and social theory published by the leading private Russian publisher, “The New Literary Observer”

His two main research interests are early Soviet intellectual and cultural history and historical and cultural politics in contemporary Russia. Professor Kalinin’s publications in English include, but are not limited to: “Why ‘Two Russias’ are less than ‘United Russia’. Cultural Distinctions and Political Similarities: Dialectics of the Defeat,” in The Shrew Untamed: Cultural Mechanisms of Political Protest in Russia, ed. Birgit Beumers, Alexander Etkind and Olga Gurova (London, 2017);“Petropoetics: The Oil Text in Post-Soviet Russia,” Russian Literature since 1991, ed. E. Dobrenko, M. Lipovetzky (Cambridge, 2015); “The ‘Russian World’:Genetically Modified Conservatism or Why Culture matters,” in Russia: Art Resistance and the Neoconservative Zeitgeist, ed. Lena Jonson and Andrei Erofeev (London and New York, 2017) and others. His latest book, “History as Art of Articulation. Russian Formalists and Revolution,” is forthcoming in New Literary Observer Publishing House (Moscow).

The Putin Exodus and Its Implications for Russia and the West

November 11, 2019 from 5 – 7 PM

Human capital is fleeing Russia. Since President Vladimir Putin’s ascent to the presidency, between 1.6 and 2 million Russians – out of a total population of 145 million – have left for Western democracies. This emigration sped up with Putin’s return as president in 2012, followed by a weakening economy and growing repressions. It soon began to look like a politically driven brain drain, causing increasing concern among Russian and international observers. In this pioneering study, the Sergei Erofeev and the Council’s Eurasia Center offers a comprehensive analysis of the Putin Exodus and its implications for Russia and the West. Based on the findings from focus groups and surveys in four key locations in the United States and Europe, it also examines the cultural and political values and attitudes of the new Russian émigrés.

Dr. Sergei Erofeev is currently a lecturer at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He has been involved in the internationalization of universities in Russia since the early 1990s. Previously, Dr. Erofeev served as a vice rector for international affairs at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, the dean of international programs at the European University at Saint Petersburg, and the director of the Center for Sociology of Culture at Kazan Federal University in Russia. He has also been a Hubert H. Humphrey fellow at the University of Washington.

December 4, 2019 from 6-9 PM

Screening and Conversation with the film’s director, Marianna Yarovskaya

Burnham Hall, Room B6, 828 S Halsted St.

A UIC Institute for the Humanities Working Group

Women of the Gulag, directed by Marianna Yarovskaya and based on a book by historian Paul Gregory, was short-listed in the best documentary category in the 2018 Academy Awards competition and has screened across American university campuses to wide acclaim.

The film follows the life stories of several women, now in their late 80s and early 90s, who survived the Gulag and features interviews with these women, whose voices and stories are interwoven with family photographs, documentary sequences from the 1930s, and shots of contemporary scenes. The stories are arranged to tell about two generations, the women and their parents, and to follow the path from arrest to prison, interrogations, transport, and life in camps and special settlements.

Marianna Yarovskaya is an award-winning Russian-American documentary filmmaker. In 1998 Marianna directed and produced Undesirables, which won a Student Academy Award (Student Oscar) and screened at Cannes. Since 2000 she has worked for Discovery Channel, National Geographic, History Channel, and Greenpeace as Producer and Senior Editor. In 2006 she was Head of Research on An Inconvenient Truth, which won an Academy Award. Her last project, Holy Warriors, a study of soldiers who found religion, has played in 35 countries worldwide and won numerous awards. Marianna is also a finalist for a 2010 China-U.S. Fulbright fellowship to do research for her latest project.

Organized by the SEE NEXT Working Group and co-sponsored by the UIC Gender and Women’s Studies Program

Elissa Bemporad

Jerry and William Ungar Chair in East European Jewish History and the Holocaust, Associate Professor of History, Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY

“The Pogroms of the Russian Civil War and the Soviet-Jewish Alliance”

March 6, 2019 from 6 -8 PM

The Revolution stormed through the cities and towns of the former Pale of Settlement, bringing to its Jews promises, hopes, enthusiasm, and empowerment. But the Revolution also brought fear and violence. It was this violence, which was unleashed throughout Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution and into the Civil War of 1918-1921, that ultimately swayed the Jews to support the Bolshevik cause. The pervasiveness, extraordinary brutality, and unprecedented nature of the anti-Jewish pogroms that followed the Revolution shaped the relationship between Jews and the new Bolshevik power, sparking a Soviet-Jewish alliance. By exploring the tumultuous events in different regions of the Soviet territory, this talk will capture the Jewish response to the revolution, and reassess the role that violence played in the choices Jews made.

Elissa Bemporad  is the author of Becoming Soviet Jews: The Bolshevik Experiment in Minsk (2013), winner of the National Jewish Book Award, winner of the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History, and finalist for the Jordan Schnitzer Prize in Modern Jewish History. Her new book, entitled “Legacy of Blood: Jews, Pogroms, and Ritual Murder in the Lands of the Soviets,” will be published with Oxford University Press in 2019. Elissa is also the co-editor of Women and Genocide: Survivors, Victims, Perpetrators (Indiana University Press, 2018). She has recently been a recipient of an NEH Fellowship and a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. Elissa’s projects in progress include research for a biography of Ester Frumkin.

Date(s): Wednesday, 3/6 6:00 PM to Wednesday, 3/6 8:00 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, IL
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone:(312) 996-6354

Joanna Talewicz-Kwiatkowska

February 14, 2019 from 4 – 6 PM

Joanna Talewicz-Kwiatkowska
Assistant Professor, Intercultural Studies Institute, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland

“The Roma Holocaust: Breaking Silence”

“The European Parliament is deeply concerned about the increase in anti-Gypsy attitudes, and therefore calls for more efforts to end discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech against the Roma people” – says the European Parliament’s resolution of April 15th, 2015, which recognizes August 2nd as the Day of the Roma Holocaust Remembrance. Four years earlier, in July 2011, the Polish Parliament established August 2nd as the Day of the Roma and Holocaust Remembrance. These very important initiatives show that the Roma genocide is no longer a forgotten page of history and has been recognized by important national and international institutions. In her talk, Professor Talewicz-Kwiatkowska will reconstruct the history of Roma Holocaust in Poland and discuss the story and implications of its acknowledgment and commemoration.

Joanna Talewicz-Kwiatkowska holds a PhD in anthropology. Besides teaching at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, she works as an Academic Advisor for Memorial and Museum Auschwitz- Birkenau. She is a member of the European Academic Network on Romani Studies and recipient of multiple prestigious awards and fellowships, including from the Gypsy Lore Society, the Alliance for Historical Dialogue and the Accountability Program at Columbia University, the Leadership Academy for Poland, a Fulbright scholarship (2015-2016) and the European Commission. Professor Talewicz-Kwiatkowska has published edited collections, a monograph (The influence of the EU funding on the social conditions of the Roma people in Poland. Kraków, 2013) and articles pertaining to the history and present conditions of Roma communities, perceptions of Roman, education about Roma history, Roma genocide during the WWII, and minorities’ rights in Poland.

Sponsored by the SEE NEXT Working Group and UIC Polish Studies

Date(s): Thursday, 2/14 4:00 PM to Thursday, 2/14 6:00 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone:(312) 996-6354

Kęstutis Kilinskas

Kęstutis Kilinskas, History Department, Vilnius University

“Building an army for a post-imperial state: generational conflict in the Lithuanian armed forces 1918 – 1926”

January 16, 2019 from 6-8 pm

How are new national armies built in post-imperial settings? This talk considers Lithuanian nation-building after the collapse of the Russian empire in the context of WWI and the Bolshevik Revolution. The Lithuanian lands were never mono-ethnic; there was not any precedent of “Lithuanian national” military force in the region and no clear strategic vision of Lithuania’s self-determination as a modern nation-state. Consequently, officers from different former empires, regions, nationalities, religious beliefs and social backgrounds joined the newly established Lithuanian military forces, bringing with them varying experiences, identities and expectations. This situation inevitably generated tensions and conflicts in the officers corps, led to the emergence of secret cells and ideological polarization, and eventually contributed to the coup d’etat of 1926. The talk focuses on the nature of the conflicts between the post-imperial military elites in the army of the newly created Lithuanian Republic.

Kęstutis Kilinskas is an Assistant Professor of History at Vilnius University’s History Department. His doctoral dissertation and relating publications examine the process of building a post-imperial army for the nationalizing Lithuanian state, offering a political history of post-imperial military elites in the Lithuanian Republic (1918-1940). His publications have appeared in Lithuanian and English in journals such as: Lithuanian Historical Studies, Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis, Archives of War and others.

Date(s): Wednesday, 1/16 6:00 PM to Wednesday, 1/16 8:00 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, IL
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone:(312) 996-6354

Leonid Volkov

Leonid Volkov: “Russian Politics and the Strategy for Russian Opposition”

Leonid Volkov, Russia’s Future Party, regional politics coordinator; Cofounder & Chairman of Internet Protection Society

In his talk, Leonid Volkov reflects on the current political situation in Russia and on the strategy of the anti-Putin oppositional movement. He will answer questions from the audience about current Russian politics and possible parallels with the situation in the United States.

Leonid Volkov is a Russian politician of the Russia’s Future Party founded and presided by one of the most consistent and influential leaders of oppositional movement to the current political regime, Alexei Navalny. Leonid was campaign manager and chief of staff for Alexei Navalny’s 2013 Moscow mayoral election, as well as Alexei Navalny’s attempt to get registered for the 2018 presidential election. During this campaign he was arrested five times and spent 95 days in jail. After the sabotage of the campaign by the authorities, Volkov became the chief of staff of the “voters’ strike”. On June 12, 2017 together with his colleagues from another NGO associated with Navalny, the Anti-Corruption Foundation, Volkov run the ten-hour Internet broadcasting of the all-Russian protest rallies against corruption organized by their movement. Currently, Leonid Volkov oversees all regional political operations of the Russia’s Future Party, across Russia’s 11 time zones. He is a former deputy of the Yekaterinburg City Duma and the head of the central election committee of the Russian Opposition Coordination Council (2012).  Leonid has over twenty years of experience as an IT professional, running and consulting several of Russia’s largest software companies. He is coauthor with Fyodor Krasheninnikov of The Cloud Democracy, a book on how modern technology could re-shape and re-define democracy and elections.  Leonid is also founder of the Internet Protection Society, a NGO focused on the Internet freedom and digital rights in Russia.

Date(s): Thursday, 11/29 6:00 PM to Thursday, 11/29 8:00 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone:(312) 996-6354

SEE NEXT Working Group Event

September 27, 2018 from 6-8 pm

703 South Morgan St., Grant Hall Room 308

Martin Nekola, Ph.D., Political Scientist and Historian

For The Freedom of Captive European Nations: Eastern European Exiles in Postwar America

The talk explores a poorly known story of the formation and development of organizations of political exiles from the countries of East-Central and South-East Europe in the USA in the early years of Cold War. This story is reconstructed based on a longtime research in both United States’ and European archives, that has revealed historical facts largely unknown to the students of the Cold War anti-communist movements in exile. The talk considers in a comparative perspective political organizations and individual representatives of the Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Romanian and other groups of exiles. Their role and standing within their movements will be explained and evaluated in the context of evolving international politics of the first decade of the Cold War (1946-1956).

Martin Nekola is a political scientist and historian, born and residing in Prague, Czech Republic. He received PhD in political science in 2012 from Charles University in Prague. His current research project is focused on the Czechoslovak Exile after 1948 and Czech communities in the USA. He is the author of three hundred articles and has published ten books in the past ten years. In the recent years, he was awarded many prestigious fellowships such as Fulbright research fellow at Columbia University, NY; Platzman research fellow, University of Chicago; Hoover Institution International scholar.

Date(s): Thursday, 9/27 6:00 PM to Thursday, 9/27 8:00 PM
Address: 703 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, IL, United States
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone:(312) 996-6354

SEE NEXT Conference: Thinking 'Race' in the Russian and Soviet Empires

March 5-6, 2020

full schedule and description tba.