Translating Race in Eurasia

Saturday, 24 September 2016 - 9:30am5:30pm

402 Cohen Hall (249 S 36th) and Slought (4017 Walnut)

Translating Race in Eurasia


Presented by Penn’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

Scholars have traditionally defined the Russian and Soviet empires either as racially homogenous spaces or as territories identified by nationality or ethnicity. Yet racial differences do exist—in radicalized identities borne of Russian imperial conquest and in Russian and Soviet imperial responses to racial categories produced in the global history of empire. In this one-day conference presented by Penn's Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, scholars will explore how race has been articulated, deployed, and translated among the cultures of Eurasia as well as globally.

Harvard art historian Sarah Lewis, an authority on representation of race across cultures and regions, will give the keynote address, speaking on her forthcoming book Black Sea, Black Atlantic: Frederick Douglass, the Circassian Beauties, and American Racial Formation in the Wake of the Civil War.

Conference Schedule
9:30a–11:45a | 402 Claudia Cohen Hall, 249 S. 36th Street
2:30p–5:30p | Slought, 4017 Walnut Street

9:30-10:00am | Registration

10:00–11:30am | Panel I: Race and the Colonial Condition in Eurasia
Moderator: Lydie Moudileno (French and Francophone, Penn)

  • Jennifer Suchland (Ohio State), “Locating Post-Soviet Postcoloniality in Global Coloniality: Political Economies of Race”
  • Edyta Bojanowska (Rutgers), "Race-ing The Frigate Pallada: 'Diverse Groups of Varicolored Bodies' in Ivan Gocharov's 1858 Travelogue of Circumnavigation."
  • Rossen Djagalov (NYU), "On the Margins of the Litintern: Interwar Colonial Literatures' Entry into the Soviet Republic of Letters"

11:30-11:45am | Coffee Break

11:45am–1:15pm | Panel II: Race, Gender and the Eurasian Body Politic
Moderator: Christine Poggi (History of Art, Penn)

  • Samuel Buelow (Indiana Univ. Bloomington), "Becoming Recognizable: Decoupling Whiteness from Gayness in Kyrgystan"
  • Kate Baldwin (Northwestern) , “Rereading the Sexual Politics of Langston Hughes' Central Asian Writings”
  • Sarah Valentine (Northwestern) , "Russia's Heart of Darkness: Race and Double-Consciousness in Tatiana Tolstaya's Limpopo"

2:00-3:15pm | Keynote (Slought, 4017 Walnut Street)
Sarah Lewis
(History of Art, Harvard), “From Frederick Douglass to Leo Tolstoy: Race and the Thought Pictures of the Caucasus”

3:30-5:30pm | Film Screening, "Oktyabr" (1993) "Rostov-Luanda" Dir. Abderrahmane Sissako, followed by Q&A with Meta Mazaj (Cinema Studies, Penn)

For more information, please contact Jennifer Wilson, Postdoctoral Fellow for Academic Diversity, Dept of Slavic Languages and Literatures.

Cosponsored by Penn Humanities Forum; School of Arts & Sciences; Penn programs on Race, Science and Society, Cinema Studies, and Comparative Literature; Center for Africana Studies; and departments of Africana Studies, Art History, English, and History; Center for Russia and East European Studies, University of Pittsburgh; Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies, University of Washington-Seattle; and Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (UC Berkeley).

Image: Zairean Memorial in Ulaanbaatar to "socialist friendship" between the USSR and Mongolia