Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Alexander Genis as a Cultural Institution
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Location Note

1219 International Affairs Building
420 W 118th Street, 12th floor

This is a hybrid (in-person/virtual) event. Registration required for attendance. Please note that all attendees must follow Columbia’s COVID-19 Policies and Guidelines. Columbia University is committed to protecting the health and safety of its community. To that end, all visiting alumni and guests must meet the University requirement of full vaccination status in order to attend in-person events. Vaccination cards may be checked upon entry to all venues. All other attendees may participate virtually on Zoom or YouTube.

Alexander Genis emigrated from Soviet Latvia in 1977, and it was New York where he became one of the brightest and most original voices of Russophone literature. Genis has created an original genre situated between different modes of writing —  literary, journalistic, and scholarly. It equally belongs to the written and oral traditions: an author of two dozen books. For more than forty years Genis was one of the recognizable voices of Radio Liberty. There is no subject that would not interest Genis: literature, arts, cinema, cooking, travel, politics …. his erudition is endless. His books on such varied subjects as the Soviet Sixties and Soviet baroque literature (together with Pyotr Vail), Sergei Dovlatov and Joseph Brodsky, post-Soviet fiction, and Russian paintings have long become classical. Genis’s newest books along with his columns, blogs, radio and TV programs remain an inexhaustible source of knowledge, wit, and intellectual brilliance for several generations of his readers and followers.  In short, Genis has become a cultural institution not only for New York but for the entire Russophone community of readers.

Among friends and colleagues who will speak about Alexander Genis and his contribution to contemporary culture will be –

  • Mikhail Epstein, philosopher, critic, writer, professor at Emory University
  • Vitaly Komar, artist, one of the founding fathers of Sots Art
  • Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of Novaia Gazeta/NO, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
  • Vera Pavlova, poet, librettist, essayist, and performer (via Zoom)
  • Ivan Tolstoy, writer and journalist of Radio Liberty (via Zoom)
  • Ilya Vinitsky, professor of Russian Literature at Princeton University
  • Solomon Volkov, a writer and historian of culture.

— with Ann Kjellberg in the audience.

Moderated by Mark Lipovetsky.

In English and Russian. Reception to follow.


Event Video