Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

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Life in the Face of War: Political Challenges, Social Responses, Cultural Shifts
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Important Note

Registration required. 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. 

Please join the Andrew Gagarin Center for the Study of Civil Society and Human Rights at Bard College, the Bard College Center for Civic Engagement, the Smolny Beyond Borders Educational Initiative, and the Harriman Institute for Life in the Face of War: Political Challenges, Social Responses, Cultural Shifts.


Day One

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Maison Française

Buell Hall, East Gallery

515 W 116th St, New York, NY 10027


9:00 – 9:15 am | Welcome

Jonathan Becker

Vincent McGee

Alexander Cooley


9:15 – 10:30 am | Panel I: The War in Historical Context

Moderator: Victor Apryshchenko, Bard College

  • Aleksei Gilev (Gagarin Center Fellow): Russian Institutional Degradation Before the War: the Case of Local Government
  • Andrei Rodin (University of Lorraine): Universal Values and the East-West dispute in the Russian War against Ukraine
  • Ilia Kalinin (Princeton University): “Iconography of the Deed”: Memorialization of the “Special Military Operation” Heroes and the Visual Landscape of Russian Cities


10:45 am – 12:15 pm | Panel II: The War & Education

Moderator: Jonathan Becker, Bard College

  • Peter Rutland (Wesleyan University): Social Science in the Mirror of Ukrainian War
  • Danila Raskov (Helsinki University): The Rise and Fall of Liberal Arts and Sciences in Russia: On the Fragility of Parallel Spaces
  • Philip Fedchin (Bard College Berlin): The Catastrophe of a Specialized World of Russian Education: Why Would Generalists Be Needed in the Future?
  • Vera Shengelia (Bard College): Liberal Arts in Catastrophic Times: the Power of Community Education


1:30 – 2:45 pm | Panel III: Trauma, Conflict, and Morality

Moderator: Olga Voronina, Bard College

  • Mikhail Allakhverdov (Gagarin Center Fellow): Role of Cognitive Biases in the Person’s Evaluation of War-Related Events
  • Arseniy Kumankov (Princeton University): The Moralization of War and Opposition to Immoral War
  • Yulia Kim (Columbia University): A Prisoner of Words: a Poetic Case of Political Polysemization


2:45 – 4:00 pm | Panel IV: War and Visual Arts

Moderator: Tatiana Efremova, Columbia University

  • Denis Skopin (Bard College Berlin, Gagarin Center Fellow): Exploring Photographs of Political Life in Russia after February 24, 2022
  • Margarita Kuleva (New York University): Philosophers’ Uber: How Translocal Communities of Cultural Workers Against the War Use Media and Technology to Survive the Resist
  • Natalia Fedorova (Paris 8 University Vincennes-Saint-Denis, Gagarin Center Fellow): Distance is a Crisis of Immediate Dialog


Day Two

Friday, April 14, 2023

Maison Française

Buell Hall, East Gallery

515 W 116th St, New York, NY 10027


9:00 – 10:15 am | Panel V: War & Politics

Moderator: Alexander Semyonov, Amherst College

  • Sergei Medvedev (Helsinki University): Politics of Body. The Role of Biopower in the Making of Russia’s War on Ukraine
  • Anna Gurinskaya (Michigan State University): Why Do Citizens in Russia Comply with Mandatory Military Draft Requirements? Insights from the Criminal Justice Theories of Compliance
  • Evgeny Roshchin (Princeton University): Exile and “Voice”: Reflections from a Russian Experience


10:30 – 11:45 am | Panel VI: Images of the War

Moderator: TBD

  • Anna-Karin Selberg (Södertörn University): Modern Lying: the War’s Role in Political Image-Making
  • Sergey Toymentsev (Saint Louis University): Memes at War: Social Media Response to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
  • Elizaveta Volkovskaia (University of Arizona): Memes and Construction of Identity during the Russo-Ukrainian War


11:45 am – 1:30 pm | Roundtable I: Moral Aspects of the war: cynicism, hysteria, resentment

Moderator: Artemy Magun

  • Greg Yudin (Princeton University)
  • Ilya Budraitskis (University of Berkeley)
  • Nikita Savin (George Washington University)
  • Mark Lipovetsky (Columbia University)


2:30 – 4:00 pm | Roundtable II: Research/Investigation/Activism: Digital Tools for Justice and Understanding*

Moderator: Illia Venyavkin, Russian Independent Media Archive

  • Masha Gessen (Bard College)
  • Anna Nemzer (Russian Independent Media Archive)
  • Christo Grozev (Bellingcat Project)

*The Russian Independent Media Archive Project (RIMA) is a joint initiative of PEN America and The Gagarin Center at Bard College, made in collaboration with Internet Archive (Wayback Machine). RIMA launches in April 2023

For more information visit

The organizers would like to thank The Andrew Gagarin Trust and The U.S. Russia Foundation, whose generous support made this conference possible.