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Art versus Document: Photography in Modern Russian History

Conference venue: Moscow, Russia
Period: 1-2 June 2017
Deadline for submitting full papers: 20 December 2016


Description of the Conference

In the late 1920s, avant-garde photographers such as Aleksandr Rodchenko, Eleazar Langman, Gustav Klucis, Boris Ignatovich, and El Lissitzky began to develop a genre of photographic documentation. Together with theorists, including Sergei Tret’iakov and Osip Brik, photographers worked to create a style of representation that would reveal the details of the new everyday Soviet life. Along with these theorists, who sought to develop a proletarian “literature of fact [literatura fakta],” photographer’s images would give the viewer a sense of the industrial technologies, which, in their view, formed the basis of the new proletarian collective. These ideas provoked many questions within the sphere of early Soviet visual culture about the differences between photography and visual art, between artistic illustrations for a “literature of fact” and photojournalism.

Our aim, at this conference, is to examine the legacies of these debates about photography and socialism as they developed from the late 1920s through to the collapse of the Soviet Union. We are particularly interested in regional and/or post-war interpretations of these debates. We invite creative responses to these issues and call on scholars from all disciplines to adapt and interpret the conference’s framework imaginatively and in terms of their own original research.


The working languages of the conference will be Russian and English.

Guidelines for submission

The deadline for submitting paper proposals (in English or in Russian) is 20 December 2016. Successful applications will be notified by 20 January 2017.


Submissions should include (1) the name of the applicant, institutional affiliation, postal and email addresses; (2) a brief CV; (3) a short statement explaining how the applicants research relates to the conference topic; (4) an outline of the paper, no longer than one-page in length. Proposals are invited in Russian or English.

Proposals and inquiries should be sent via email to: worldwar2@hse.ru.


The organizers will assist international participants with obtaining visa invitations to Russia through the Higher School of Economics (for a “scientific-technical relations” visa). The conference organizers have limited funds to cover airfare and accommodation costs for the duration of the conference. We ask prospective participants who will need assistance with visa invitations, accommodation, or airfare to indicate this in their submissions. Accepted participants with access to other sources of funding are encouraged to appeal to those sources.

Organizer

  • International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences
  • National Research University – Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russian Federation)

Information & contacts

Angelina Lucento
Research Fellow, International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences, National Research University - Higher School of Economics.
E-mail: alucento@hse.ru


Jessica Werneke
Research Fellow, International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences, National Research University - Higher School of Economics.
E-mail: dverneke@hse.ru

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