Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




The Subversive Pedagogy of Belgrade Surrealism
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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.


Please join the East Central European Center for a discussion with Ainsley Morse (Dartmouth College) and Aleksandar Bošković (Lecturer in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian). Moderated by Ronald Meyer. This event is part of our Contemporary Culture Series.

Morse and Bošković will present their collaborative work on translation and critical edition of The Fine Feats of the Five Cockerels Gang: A Yugoslav Marxist-Surrealist Epic Poem for Children, authored by Aleksander Vučo and accompanied by Dušan Matić’s photo collage illustrations and captions (Brill, 2022). The poem tracks the adventures of five scrappy, resourceful working-class boys who endeavor to free an equally plucky girl from the evil clutches of a convent school (and its fearsome nuns). The co-editors will discuss the historical context within which The Fine Feats came into being (originally published in 1933) along with the surrealist concepts it employs, in order to unpack the latent meanings and emancipatory potential of this societally meaningful pedagogical project. They will also read excerpts from the book and talk about the process of translation.


Aleksandar Bošković teaches in the Slavic Department at Columbia University and specializes in avant-garde literature and experimental art practices explored through the lenses of comparative media. He is the author of The Poetic Humor in Vasko Pope’s Oeuvre (2008), and co-editor of The Fine Feats of ‘Five Cockerel’s Gang’ with Ainsley Morse (Brill, 2022) and Zenithism: A Yugoslav Avant-Garde Anthology with Steven Teref (forthcoming at ASP). His articles have appeared in scholarly journals (Apparatus, Cultural Critique, Digital Icons, Književna istorija, Russian Review, SEEJ, Slavic Review) as well as in various edited collections. He is the recipient of several grants and fellowships, including Collegium de Lyon Fellowship (2019-2020).


Ainsley Morse
teaches in the Russian Department at Dartmouth College and is a translator of Russian, Ukrainian, and former Yugoslav literatures. Her research focuses on the literature and culture of the post-war Soviet period, particularly unofficial or “underground” poetry, as well as the avant-garde, children’s literature and contemporary poetry. In addition to The Fine Feats, other recent publications include the monograph World Play: Experimental Poetry and Soviet Children’s Literature (Northwestern UP, 2021), as well as Permanent Evolution, a collection of theoretical essays by the Formalist critic Yuri Tynianov (ASP; edited and translated with Philip Redko), and the anthology F-Letter: New Russian Feminist Poetry (isolarii, 2020, co-edited with Galina Rymbu and Eugene Ostashevsky).


Event Video