Art & Events
North American and Bulgarian Conference
REEES was one of the co-sponsors of the Ninth Joint Meeting of North American and Bulgarian Scholars, May 31 to June 2, 2012. More information about the conference can be found on the conference website.
The quadriennial Joint Meeting of North American and Bulgarian Scholars has alternated between venues in Bulgaria and North America for the past 36 years. This was the first time the conference was held on the West Coast.
The conference panels will met on May 31 and June 1, followed by an excursion on June 2 to Crater Lake, which was formed by the eruption of Mount Mazama 7,700 years ago.
A refereed web-published conference proceedings volume was prepared.
Russian and East European Arts, World Stage
A Daily Emerald article focused on the conference.
Keynote speakers for the event were Eliot Borenstein Professor of Russian and Slavic Languages and Literatures at New York University and author of Overkill: Sex and Violence in Contemporary Russian Popular Culture and Helena Goscilo Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at The Ohio State University, author most recently of Gender and National Identity in 20th Century Russian Culture (with Andrea Lanoux).
The conference, “Russian and East European Arts, World Stage,” examined Russian and East European arts and letters in an international context and was the first such conference at the University of Oregon to engage scholars from across campus as well as invited guests. The University of Oregon has a very large and productive group of faculty and graduate students whose work is either focused on or linked to the cultures of Russia and Eastern Europe, and we aim to bring those scholars together in a new context, to break down disciplinary and departmental walls in order to create new potential for awareness and collaboration. The conference was greeted with incredible enthusiasm and strong support across other departments and schools, with several deans and department heads absolutely brimming with ideas and suggestions for us along with their substantial financial commitment to the project.
BACKGROUND ON CONFERENCE
Already in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, we can speak of the emergence of Russian and East European literary and artistic culture that broke new ground and provided new forms that represented for a significant number of years the vanguard of world culture. Examples include the cinematic experiments of Eisenstein; the performances of Diaghilev, Balanchine and the Ballets Russes, which brought together prominent artists from both East and West, such as Bakst and Picasso; and Tolstoy’s philosophy and narrative form, which influenced writers and thinkers as diverse as Gandhi and Virginia Woolf. Alphonse Mucha’s art nouveau design, which graced Paris as much as Prague, and the U. S. sojourns of Antonin Dvorak, Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Sergei Esenin (married to Isadora Duncan) indicate the highly mobile nature of Russian and East European cultural exchanges. Emigration also played a role, with figures as diverse as Vladimir Nabokov and Ayn Rand affecting the course of arts and culture in the United States. Russian and East European Jews from Mandelstam and Chagall to Kafka and Sholem Aleichem also played a vital role in this period of intellectual flowering.
CONFERENCE FOCUS: CULTURAL TRANSMISSION
This conference examined Russian and East European culture’s continuing relationship to world culture, as cultural transmission has continued to travel back and forth and in multiple directions. Today, many artistic terms, techniques and movements that we do not think of in national terms, such as method acting (tracing back to Stanislavsky’s theatrical techniques) or film montage (greatly indebted to early Russian filmmaking), or the widespread usage of the word “robot” (invented in Karel Capek’s science fiction writing), are fully integrated into current parlance, but have their origins in the Russian and East European cultural context.
The conference drew on the considerable strengths of Russian and East European Studies faculty as well as faculty and graduate students in a number of other literary and artistic departments throughout the university. We extended invitations to regional guests in order to solidify working relationships with nearby universities and colleges.