This Week

Tuesday, January 21, 2020 to Friday, March 13, 2020
Harriman Institute Atrium, 12th Floor International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St)

Exhibit runs January 21 – March 13, 2020. Exhibit hours are Monday–Friday, 9:30AM – 5:00PM excluding university holidays.

Please join us for an opening reception on Wednesday, January 29 at 6:30pm.

The Harriman Institute is pleased to present the exhibit Vintage: Eastern Bloc 1964, a photo essay documenting the travels of two young Americans behind the Iron Curtain by photographer Hope Herman Wurmfeld.

Hope Herman Wurmfeld is a photographer and author who lives and works in New York City. Throughout her career, she has exhibited her photographs internationally, published several books, and taught photography at Hunter College in NYC for over twenty years. Her work is included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in NYC, The Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, The Archives of the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., The New York Public Library, the Osthaus Museum in Hagen, Germany and the Princeton University Library Graphics Collection, among others. Herman Wurmfeld has been a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome on three occasions, and has received grants from the New York Foundation of the Arts and the New York Arts Council and a Lucie Award for her Dream Garage series.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room, 1219 International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St)

Please join the Harriman Institute and the Columbia Journalism School for a talk with Joshua Yaffa, author of Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin's Russia (Tim Duggan Books, January 2020), in conversation with author and journalist Keith Gessen (George T. Delacorte Assistant Professor of Magazine Journalism).

From a Moscow correspondent for The New Yorker, a groundbreaking portrait of modern Russia and the inner struggles of the people who sustain Vladimir Putin’s rule.

“Unforgettable . . . This is a book about Putin’s Russia that is unlike any other.”
—Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Say Nothing

In this rich and novelistic tour of contemporary Russia, Joshua Yaffa introduces readers to some of the country’s most remarkable figures—from politicians and entrepreneurs to artists and historians—who have built their careers and constructed their identities in the shadow of the Putin system. Torn between their own ambitions and the omnipresent demands of the state, each walks an individual path of compromise. Some muster cunning and cynicism to extract all manner of benefits and privileges from those in power. Others, finding themselves to be less adept, are left broken and demoralized. What binds them together is the tangled web of dilemmas and contradictions they face.

Between Two Fires chronicles the lives of a number of strivers who understand that their dreams are best—or only—realized through varying degrees of cooperation with the Russian government. With sensitivity and depth, Yaffa profiles the director of the country’s main television channel, an Orthodox priest at war with the church hierarchy, a Chechen humanitarian who turns a blind eye to persecutions, and many others. The result is an intimate and probing portrait of a nation that is much discussed yet little understood. By showing how citizens shape their lives around the demands of a capricious and frequently repressive state—as often by choice as under threat of force—Yaffa offers urgent lessons about the true nature of modern authoritarianism.

Joshua Yaffa is a correspondent for The New Yorker in Moscow. For his work in Russia, he has been named a fellow at New America, a recipient of the American Academy’s Berlin Prize, and a finalist for the Livingston Award.

Thursday, January 23, 2020
5:00pm - 7:00pm
60 Fifth Avenue, Room 150 (New York University)

Join us for the second meeting of the 2019-2020 New York Russia Public Policy Seminar, a forum co-hosted by the Harriman Institute and New York University’s Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia. As the United States enters the next phase of the impeachment process, join our panel of experts as they consider what this means for Ukraine, Ukraine’s relations with Russia, and Russia and Ukraine’s relations with the U.S. moving forward.

This event is supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Please click here to register.


Oxana Shevel, Associate Professor of Political Science at Tufts University

Olga Onuch, Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester

Jordan Gans-Morse, Associate Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University

Keith Darden, Associate Professor in the School of International Service at American University

Moderated by
Alexander Cooley, Director of the Harriman Institute, Columbia University
Joshua Tucker, Director of the New York University Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia

Thursday, January 23, 2020
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room, 1219 International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St)

Please join the East Central European Center at the Harriman Institute for a talk with Magda Szcześniak (Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw).

In this talk, Szcześniak will examine visual materials produced by the Polish Solidarity movement as examples of visual activism, i.e. images employed as means of exercising agency in the public sphere by underrepresented and subjugated groups. Departing from a question about the archive’s disappearance from Polish collective memory, or rather its subsumption under two powerful images (the Solidarity sign and the portrait of the movement’s leader – Lech Wałęsa), she will analyze the ways in which the creators of visual materials within the movement sought to represent the collectivity of the Polish working class. A close analysis of the archive reveals the movement’s complexity and ambiguity, proving that visual culture can be a sphere of productive conflict and negotiation between varying ideas about political action and social movements. It can also document ruptures and provide spaces for the co-existence of values that—at least from a contemporary perspective—might not fit into a single manifesto.

Magda Szcześniak is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw, and 2019/20 Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Critical Theory, Duke University. She is the author of Normy widzialności. Tożsamość w czasach transformacji (Norms of Visuality. Identity in Times of Transition, 2016), devoted to the role of visual culture in the post-socialist transition in Poland She is a recipient of scholarships from the Fulbright Foundation (2010/2011, 2019/2020), the Polish National Science Centre and the Polish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, and the editor of the bilingual, online academic journal View: Theories and Practices of Visual Culture. She is currently working on a book about the politics of representing upward and downward social mobility in socialism.