This Week

Wednesday, September 30, 2020
12:00pm EDT
Zoom webinar & YouTube Live

This event will be held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live. There will be no in-person event.

Register here for the Zoom webinar, or tune in on YouTube Live.

Please join the Program on U.S.-Russia Relations at the Harriman Institute for a discussion with Professor Thomas Kent, author of Striking Back: Overt and Covert Options to Combat Russian Disinformation (Brookings Institution Press, September 29, 2020). Discussant: Rand Waltzman, Deputy Chief Technology Officer and Senior Information Scientist, RAND Corporation. Chair: Elise Giuliano, Lecturer and Director of the Program on U.S.-Russian Relations.

What are the best responses to Russian disinformation operations in Europe, Africa and Latin America? Thomas Kent’s book examines the full range of options, from public campaigns against disinformation to covert action. What tactics are likely to be most effective? Which are ethical?

Thomas Kent teaches at the Harriman Institute about disinformation, Russian affairs and the geopolitics of information. He was formerly president and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Moscow and Tehran bureau chief, international editor and ethics editor of The Associated Press. His book research included interviews with more than 160 government, military, NGO and academic specialists on disinformation in a dozen nations.

Rand Waltzman originated the term “cognitive security” and is a specialist on artificial intelligence and the weaponization of information. He has spoken on strategies against Russian information operations before Congress and at major conferences in the United States, Europe and Asia. As a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), he created, planned and managed major research and development programs on the application of massive scale data analytics and artificial intelligence in the areas of insider threat detection and social media. He is currently deputy chief technology officer of the RAND Corp. Previous positions include CTO (acting) and associate director of research of the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, chief scientist in the Distributed Systems Laboratory of Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories and associate professor of computer science at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020
4:00pm EDT
Zoom webinar & YouTube Live

This event will be held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live. There will be no in-person event.

Register here for the Zoom webinar, or tune in on YouTube Live.

Please join the East Central European Center at the Harriman Institute for a roundtable discussion in celebration of National Translation Month. This roundtable on the art of literary translation and the business of publishing translated literature from East Central Europe will include a program of literary readings from recently translated works.


Ellen Elias-Bursać, Translator from Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian

Jennifer Croft, Translator from Polish and Spanish

Christopher Moseley, Translator from Estonian, Finnish, Latvian, and the Scandinavian languages

George Szirtes, Translator from Hungarian

Moderated by:
Christopher W. Harwood, Lecturer in Czech,
Aleksandar Bošković, Lecturer in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian
Co-Directors of the East Central European Center of Columbia University


Ellen Elias-Bursać has translated over twenty-five novels and books of non-fiction by Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian writers. ALTA's National Translation Award was given to her translation of David Albahari's novel Götz and Meyer in 2006. Her book Translating Evidence and Interpreting Testimony at a War Crimes Tribunal: Working in a Tug-of-War was given the Mary Zirin Prize in 2015. She is president of the American Literary Translators Association.


Jennifer Croft is the author of Homesick and Serpientes y escaleras and the co-winner with Nobel Laureate Olga Tokarczuk of The International Booker Prize for the novel Flights. She holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Iowa and a PhD in Comparative Literary Studies from Northwestern University. 


Christopher Moseley (b. 1950 in Australia) is a freelance translator into English from Estonian, Finnish, Latvian, and the Scandinavian languages. Among the novels he has translated are Andrus Kivirähk’s The Man Who Spoke Snakish (2015), Indrek Hargla’s Apothecary Melchior and the Ghost of Rataskaevu Street (2016), and Ilmar Taska’s Pobeda 1946: A Car Called Victory (2018). He teaches Estonian and Latvian at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, where he also runs a course on Baltic literature in translation. 


George Szirtes (b. 1948 in Hungary) is a writer and translator. His first book, The Slant Door (1979) won the Faber Prize. He has published many since then, with his Reel (2004) winning the T. S. Eliot Prize, for which he has been twice shortlisted since. His memoir of his mother, The Photographer at Sixteen, was published in February 2019 and was awarded the James Tait Black prize for Biography in 2020. His translations too have won various prizes including the translator’s award at the International Booker Prize for his work on László Krasznahorkai. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Wikipedia has a full list of his publications and prizes.

Friday, October 2, 2020
3:00pm EDT
Zoom webinar & YouTube Live

This event will be held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live. There will be no in-person event.

Register here for the Zoom webinar, or tune in on YouTube Live.

The Harriman Institute's Contemporary Culture Series presents a conversation with Maksim Hanukai (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Susanna Weygandt (Sewanne: The University of the South), editors of the volume New Russian Drama: An Anthology (Columbia University Press, 2019) with translator Ania Aizman (University of Michigan), as well as Julie Curtis (University of Oxford), editor of New Drama in Russian: Performance, Politics and Protest in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, and Molly Flynn (Birkbeck, University of London), author of Witness onstage: Documentary theatre in twenty-first-century Russia. Moderated by Professor Mark Lipovetsky (Columbia University).

New Russian Drama took shape at the turn of the new millennium—a time of turbulent social change in Russia and the former Soviet republics. Emerging from small playwriting festivals, provincial theaters, and converted basements, it evolved into a major artistic movement that startled audiences with hypernaturalistic portrayals of sex and violence, daring use of non-normative language, and thrilling experiments with genre and form. The movement’s commitment to investigating contemporary reality helped revitalize Russian theater. It also provoked confrontations with traditionalists in society and places of power, making theater once again Russia’s most politicized art form. Both politically and aesthetically uncompromising, the plays collected in New Russian Drama: An Anthology recently published by Columbia University Press chart new paths for performance while challenging us to reflect on the status and mission of the theater in the twenty-first century.

Ania Aizman is a postdoctoral fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows at the University of Michigan and assistant professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures. She is writing a book titled Anarchist Currents in Russian Culture: From Tolstoy to Pussy Riot. Based on archival research and oral histories with artists, writers, and activists, it finds missing links between the nineteenth-century anarchist movements, Soviet underground cultures, and contemporary collectives. It also proposes an anarchist literary theory. Aizman's other research project focuses on contemporary theater in Russia. For this project, she conducted interviews and performance and rehearsal observations between 2014-2018. Her translations of plays by contemporary playwrights Mikhail Durnenkov, Mikhail Ugarov, and Elena Gremina were published by the Performing Arts Journal and Columbia University Press. An article exploring the anarchist aesthetics of Pussy Riot and the OBERIU was published in The Russian Review in January 2019. Aizman has also written about trophy films, Russian “New Drama,” and the politics of Soviet children’s poems.

Julie Curtis is a Professor of Russian Literature and Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Oxford. Many of her publications have been on the subject of Mikhail Bulgakov and Evgeny Zamiatin, but teaching an undergraduate course on Russian drama from Griboedov to the present day sparked an interest in contemporary drama written in Russian in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Two international workshops on this subject held in Oxford in 2014 and 2017 have led to the publication in June 2020 of a volume of essays by scholars and interviews with practitioners: J.A.E. Curtis (ed.), New Drama in Russian: Performance, Politics and Protest in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020).

Molly Flynn is a Lecturer in Theatre and Performance at Birkbeck, University of London and the author of Witness onstage: Documentary theatre in twenty-first-century Russia (Manchester University Press, 2020). Her research focuses on social theatre practice in Russia and Ukraine and has been published in New Theatre Quarterly, RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, Problems of Post-Communism, Calvert Journal, and Open Democracy. In addition to her work as a teacher and a researcher, she is also a theatre-maker and a co-founder of the experimental theatre collective the New York Neo-Futurists.

Maksim Hanukai is assistant professor of Russian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-editor and translator of New Russian Drama: An Anthology (Columbia University Press, 2019). His recent research focuses on Russian theater and performance against the backdrop of contemporary Russian (bio)politics. He also specializes in Romanticism and is in the process of completing a monograph on the tragic works of Alexander Pushkin. His work as a scholar and translator has been published in The Slavic ReviewThe Pushkin ReviewTDR: The Drama Reviewn+1, and Stanford University’s Arcade project.

Susanna Weygandt is visiting assistant professor of Russian at Sewanee: The University of the South and co-editor and translator of New Russian Drama: An Anthology (Columbia University Press, 2019). Based on months of archive research, ethnographic observation, and dozens of field-produced interviews, her book manuscript, From Metaphor to Direct Speech: Russian Drama and Performance Theory after 1991, documents a network of playwrights, their aesthetic theories, and the formal experiments of their dramas. Her articles on contemporary performance logically expand her research on Russian New Drama and appear in the peer-reviewed journals TDR: The Drama Review (2016), Stanislavsky Studies (2019), Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema (2018), and in the anthologies Russian Performances: Word, Object, Action (2018) and Greek Mythological Tragedy in Russian and Eastern Europe: Performance, Translation, and Ideology (forthcoming). This research shaped her into a scholar and teacher of visual language, the body, affect, embodiment, and gender in Russian modern and contemporary literature and culture.

YouTube Live stream. October 2, 2020 at 3:00PM EDT.