All Things Living and Not: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Non-Anthropocentric Perspectives in Slavic Studies

Thursday, February 23, 2017 to Saturday, February 25, 2017
9:00am - 6:30pm
Deutsches Haus, Columbia University (420 116th St, 1st Floor)

Please join us for a three-day conference entitled "All Things Living and Not: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Non-Anthropocentric Perspectives in Slavic Studies."

The last two decades have witnessed a revision in the concept of alterity, decentering the human in how we reckon with the other. Animal studies, artificial intelligence, ecocriticism, etc. not only ask us to consider the possibility of non-human subjects, but also challenge our very humanness and, along with it, the very premises of the humanities and human sciences. What does a non-anthropocentric understanding of the other offer to the field of Slavic studies? And conversely, what can the cultures, histories, and belief systems of Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia reveal about practices and possibilities of radical alterity?

The international conference, All Things Living and Not, brings together senior scholars and emerging researchers from across the U.S. and former socialist bloc to discuss the conjunction between the animal, the plant, the machine, inorganic matter, and the human as a way to destabilize the mind-body dichotomy, class, race, gender, age, etc. Keynote speaker Ewa Domanska (Poznan and Stanford) along with stream leaders Jane Costlow (Bates), Serguei Oushakine (Princeton), and Oxana Timofeeva (European U. in St. Petersburg) will push participants to think through new approaches to the cultures, histories, and politics of the region.

Day 1: Thursday, February 23
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room, 1219 IAB (420 W 118th St, 12th Floor)

7:00 PM - "Rock. Paper. Skin.” Artist Presentation and Film Screenings by Irina Botea and Jon Dean.

Day 2: Friday, February 24
Deutsches Haus, Columbia University (420 116th St, 1st Floor)

9:00 AM – Things 1: The Vibrancy of Soviet Matter

Stream leader: Serguei Oushakine
Nariman Skakov – The Soviet Empire of Things: “Post-Formalist” Viktor Shklovsky on Matter and Commodities
Tyler Adkins – “You Can’t Eat a Toyota”: Encounters with the (Post-)Soviet Thing-System
Juliane Furst – Soviet Hippie Materiality, or Why Hippie Things and Late Socialism Were Made for Each Other
Yulia Karpova – Portraits of Things and Bioplasticity: Materialities of 1970s Soviet Decorative Art

11:15 AM – Environment 1: Critical Ecologies

Stream leader: Jane Costlow
Cathy Popkin – People Trees
Colleen McQuillen – The Political Ecology of Coal Mining: from Historical to Vital Materialism in Aleksandr Kuprin’s Donbass Stories
Leone Musgrave – The Non-Human, the Anthropogenic, and the Autogenic in a Moment of Human Crisis: The North Caucasus Environment in Revolution and Civil War

1:30 PM – Lunch break

2:45 PM – Bodies 1: (Bodily) Limits

Stream leader: Oxana Timofeeva
Julia Vaingurt – Unwholesome copies in Karel Capek’s RUR and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go
Elena Fratto – Narrative Agency and the Pituitary Gland: Metabolic Storytelling in Mikhail Bulgakov’s “Heart of a Dog”
Christopher Caes – Dying to See: Historical Trauma and the Posthuman in Zdzisław Beksiński
Anna Fishzon – Animation and the Posthuman: Trauma, Queer Failure, and Creative Anthropomorphism in the Stagnation Era

5:00–6:30 PM – Keynote: Ewa Domanska – Ecological Humanities

Day 3: Saturday, February 25
Deutsches Haus, Columbia University (420 116th St, 1st Floor)

9:00 AM – Things 2: Affect and Things

Stream leader: Serguei Oushakine
Marina and Vladimir Abashev – “A piercing pity for the tin box in a waste patch…”: The Appeal of Things and the Human Response in Russian Culture
Irina Schulzki – The Gesture of Things in the Films of Kira Muratova
Samuel Nowak – Maria Janion and Object-Oriented Philosophy

11:00 AM – Environment 2: New Vitalisms

Stream leader: Jane Costlow
Mieka Erley – A Theory for the Post-Anthropocene? Soviet Vitalism and the New Materialism
Aleksandra Jach – Naturecultures and the Avant-garde
Aleksandra Tatarsky – Macaroni Cosmos and Pickle Politics

1:00 PM – Lunch break

2:15 PM – Bodies 2: Extra-Human Socialities

Stream leader: Oxana Timofeeva
Lorraine Weekes – Cyborg Body Politic: Estonian Data Embassies and the Immortal Nation
Diana Mincyte – Cows in Transition: Nature, State, and Animal Subjectivity in the 20th-Century Baltics
Serhii Tereshchenko – Cities against Humans: Life in the Abandoned Cities of Chornobyl’s Zone

4:30 PM – Round-table Wrap-up with Stream Leaders and Keynote

Ewa Domanska
Jane Costlow
Serguei Oushakine
Oxana Timofeeva
Moderator: Eliza Rose