Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

Image of Shota Rustaveli's "The Knight in Panther's Skin." Image links to event page.



The Doublespeak of Georgian Literature and Translation, Uncovered American-Georgian Relations of 1975, and a Trilingual Book of Ukrainian War Poetry
Reserve Your Seat





Please join the Harriman Institute for a discussion with Khatuna Beridze and Bela Tsipuria. Moderated by Valentina Izmirlieva.

Georgian literature and translation present the vibrant national discourse of the 19th century, which was shaped by the generation of the 1860s and revitalized and reshaped by modernists in the 1920s to confront the challenges posed by Soviet influence. A literary journey through Stalin’s era to the period of the Thaw shows how the Georgian writers Chabua Amirejibi, Otar Chkheidze, Nodar Dumbadze masterfully weaved together Soviet and national discourses through their works, as well as through their lifestyle as a form of resilience. The hybridity became the quality of Georgian poetry and prose, as well as literary criticism and translation.

A journey into the world of Soviet translations will reflect on the ideological shifts in the poetry of Titsian Tabidze, Galaktion Tabidze, and Simon Chikovani. Reflecting on the metaphor of translation within Georgia-Russia political and literary exchanges, one observes the imagination of Georgia and its reconfigured geo-cultural identity under the stringent censorship policy within the Soviet Empire. The unveiled archival bulletins from the Center for Soviet and East European Studies of Southern Illinois University, dating back to 1975 explore Georgian-American cultural relations during the Soviet regime. The bulletins, curated by the director Herbert Marshall, not only present his translations of Georgian poetry, but also shed light on the remarkable historical discovery of Shota Rustaveli’s fresco by a Georgian expedition in Jerusalem in 1960. The recent charity publication of the book ‘It turns out that you were in the basement of the Mariupol theater, my God!’ – ‘Виявляється, ти був у підвалі маріупольського театру, боже!’ presents Georgian and Ukrainian poetry of war in three languages, a collaborative effort between Ukrainian and Georgian professors, including K. Beridze’s translations.

Khatuna Beridze is associate professor and head of the Translation and Interdisciplinary Research Center at Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University. She was a OSI Visiting Scholar at Harriman Institute in 2011-2012, and at Illinois State University in 2009. She is a literary translator and conference interpreter. Her research directions are literary translation, corpus linguistics (developed, and postcolonial translation. She is the MA program director in Translation and Interpreting Studies and manages simultaneous interpreting Televic lab. She was awarded a Peace Corps grant for Georgian translation of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Truman Capote. In 2014 Dalkey Archive Press published her translation of the Georgian author Guram Dochanashvili in the series Best European Fiction.


Bela Tsipuria is professor of comparative literature and Georgian literature, and director of the Institute of Comparative Literature at Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia. She earned her PhD in Georgian literature from Tbilisi State University, where she also worked as an associate professor. She was Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Georgia from 2004–08. She has been a visiting scholar at Lund University in Sweden and at Pennsylvania State University, was a Thesaurus Poloniae fellow at the ICC, Krakow, Poland, and a Weiser Fellow, University of Michigan. She is a specialist in 20th-century Georgian literature and comparative literature, focusing on intercultural contacts; symbolist, modernist, and postmodernist movements; as well as Soviet ideological influences and postcolonialism.