Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies The program offers a Certificate of Proficiency to undergraduates who combine study of Russia and Eurasia with any other departmental major.
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The Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (REEES) draws on a core faculty in the humanities, history, and social sciences to support and maintain a diverse undergraduate curriculum, a program for study abroad in Russia, an outstanding library collection in Slavic and other languages, as well as a range of on-campus and off-campus activities. It is an affiliate of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies.

Mission: The program offers a Certificate of Proficiency to undergraduates who combine study of Russia and Eurasia with any other departmental major from the humanities and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs to the sciences and engineering.

Operating as usual

PLEASE register! Zoom link below.Next Thursday, September 24 at noon (EST) - Catherine Phillips (European University at ...
09/17/2020

PLEASE register! Zoom link below.

Next Thursday, September 24 at noon (EST) - Catherine Phillips (European University at St. Petersburg will speak on "How to be a European.’Collecting Drawings in Imperial Russia"
REGISTER FOR WEBINAR HERE:
https://princeton.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HomISGFRRpK_WWr_UaUtaA
Catherine the Great founded the now internationally-renowned drawings collection of the Hermitage Museum with the purchase in 1768 of the cabinet of Count Charles Cobenzl (Brussels). At a time when there were in effect no comparable collections in Russia, no collectors to emulate, and no established tradition, the acquisition of over four thousand drawings was a radical act, far more innovative than the acquisition of paintings. What led Catherine to make the purchase? Did she herself understand the significance of the acquisition?

By acquiring these drawings Catherine was joining an elite club of collectors, at a time when the collecting of drawings was increasingly a mark of ‘distinction’, setting the true connoisseur or amateur apart from the mere curious (curieux). Her purchase was probably made on the advice of two men, Ivan Betskoy and Prince Dmitry Golitsyn, the only other individuals in this period to form collections of drawings themselves. Both of them understood the value – in terms of status and intellectual standing – of a collection of drawings in the second half of the eighteenth century. Their experience was key to Catherine’s understanding of the importance of art as a political and propaganda weapon and her recognition that a collection of drawings was one of those ‘cultural credentials’ that made her a truly European monarch.

But in the nineteenth century, successive Russian monarchs did little to expand the Hermitage’s cabinet of drawings, Nicholas II even turning down the opportunity to buy the collection formed by Dmitry Golitsyn. As with paintings, private collectors now took the lead and it was only with the nationalisation of private collections after the revolutions of 1917 that the Hermitage collection was expanded with works of a level to match those acquired in the reign of Catherine the Great.

Bio: Catherine Phillips is Vladimir Levinson-Lessing Professor of the History of Collecting at the European University in St Petersburg. She has collaborated on academic research and publishing projects with the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg since 1994, many under the auspices of the Hermitage Foundation UK. Specialist areas: the history of collecting, the circulation of Old Master Drawings. Currently working on a catalogue of the founding collection of drawings in the Hermitage Museum, the collection of Count Charles Cobenzl (1712–70), bought by Catherine the Great in 1768. It forms the heart of what is now a world-renowned cabinet of drawings. With research students at the European University in St Petersburg she is working to create a database of information about collecting in Russia up to the revolutions of 1917.

New lecture series. Stay tuned for the announcements and zoom links!
09/14/2020

New lecture series. Stay tuned for the announcements and zoom links!

Collection of Print Ephemera Related to Euromaidan and the Ukraine Crisis in the Slavic Collections of Digital Princeton...
03/11/2020

Collection of Print Ephemera Related to Euromaidan and the Ukraine Crisis in the Slavic Collections of Digital Princeton University Library
https://dpul.princeton.edu/slavic

Archive-It - Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union Web Archive
04/23/2019
Archive-It - Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union Web Archive

Archive-It - Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union Web Archive

The Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union Web Archive is an initiative developed by librarians at Columbia, Princeton, Yale, and New York Universities, and the New York Public Library, in partnership (as the Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation), with Brown University, the University of Chicago, Cornel...

Today at 4:30pm! REEES Lecture: Alexander Markovic to Speak "Powerful Affects: Romani Musical Labor and Ethnic Politics ...
03/26/2019

Today at 4:30pm! REEES Lecture: Alexander Markovic to Speak "Powerful Affects: Romani Musical Labor and Ethnic Politics in Vranje, Serbia"

soon!
07/09/2018

soon!

http://library.princeton.edu/news/general/2018-05-08/pul-assembles-collection-illustrated-soviet-sheet-music-new-economi...
05/09/2018
PUL assembles collection of illustrated Soviet sheet music from New Economic Policy period | Princeton University Library

http://library.princeton.edu/news/general/2018-05-08/pul-assembles-collection-illustrated-soviet-sheet-music-new-economic-policy

Princeton University Library has assembled a collection of illustrated Soviet popular-song sheet music from the 1920s. The 180 pieces in this collection, all labeled as “published by the author,” are from the NEP (New Economic Policy) period of the early years of the Soviet era.

Photos from Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies's post
05/06/2018

Photos from Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies's post

05/06/2018
Carried Me Beyond the Disenchantment of Outcomes.A71 Louis A. Simpson Building | Tuesday, May 1 | 4:30 p.m. The titles o...
05/01/2018

Carried Me Beyond the Disenchantment of Outcomes.

A71 Louis A. Simpson Building | Tuesday, May 1 | 4:30 p.m.

The titles of chapters and books that Mark Steinberg has written over the years suggest something of his preoccupations and approach to the Russian Revolution: “moral communities,” “proletarian imagination,” “knowledges of self,” “modernity and its discontents,” “feelings of the sacred,” “streets,” “masks,” “death,” “happiness,” “melancholy,” “utopians.”

If there is a consistent thread, it is the effort (unrealizable) to both recover human “experience” in all its complexity and to reach through particular stories of the past toward questions of human existential meaning. Thinking about the centenary of 1917 and our own times of deepening danger and catastrophe, but also growing if feeble resistance, Steinberg struggles with a rich history of innovative thinking about utopia and revolution—from Ernst Bloch and Walter Benjamin to Fredric Jameson, Jose Munoz, and Ruth Levitas—alongside our disappointment with the outcomes of 1917 (and perhaps most revolutions) to look beyond disenchantment.

If we are not to despair in the face of reality, and not to fear venturing beyond only interpreting the world, what is to be done?

https://october1917-2017.princeton.edu/may-1-2018-from-necessity-to-freedom-how-a-utopian-impulse-carried-me-beyond-the-disenchantment-of-outcomes-by-mark-steinberg/

soon!
04/17/2018

soon!

"Corruption" from Inside: Voices from Provincial RussiaCaroline Humphrey, University of CambridgeTuesday, April 24, 2018...
04/12/2018

"Corruption" from Inside: Voices from Provincial Russia

Caroline Humphrey, University of Cambridge
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
4:30 P.M. • A71 Louis A. Simpson Building

Agencies like Transparency International attempt to establish globally agreed criteria for corruption, but this does not prevent governments using the term in their own ways as an indictment against certain of their citizens. In practice, “corruption” is an accusation within a particular political field. But what does it feel like to be in such a field as a potential subject of blame? This lecture will suggest that the international criteria are at a tangent with the deeply-held moral gauges that are distinctive of different countries. It is in relation to the latter that actors feel an action to be justifiable or not, and experience shame, indignation, etc. I will take the case of contemporary Russia to explore the moral alternatives to seemingly arbitrary governmental accusations of “corruption”, describing how understandings of entitlements (to ‘take’, to receive, to dominate and subject) have been recently constituted. The resulting a-legal activities form much of the dynamic of provincial economies. Ethnography shows how they play out in languages of subjective justification, but reach their limits in local judgements of unfairness.

Caroline Humphrey, FBA, is an anthropologist who has worked in Russia, Mongolia, China (Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang), India, Nepal and Ukraine. She has researched a wide range of themes including Soviet and post-Soviet provincial economy and society; Buryat and Daur shamanism; Jain religion and ritual; trade and barter in Nepal; environment and the pastoral economy in Mongolia; and the history and contemporary situation of Buddhism, especially in Inner Mongolia. She has written on inequality and exclusion; the politics of memory; naming practices; ethics and conceptions of freedom. Recent research has concerned urban transformations in post-Socialist cities (Buryatia; Uzbekistan, Ukraine).

Humphrey received her BA in Social Anthropology from Girton College, Cambridge. Her PhD, completed in 1973, was entitled Magical Drawings in the Religion of the Buryat. She has been a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge since 1978 She received the Rivers Memorial Medal in 1999, and, in 2003, an Honorary Doctorate from the National University of Mongolia.

In the 2011 New Year Honours, Humphrey was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) 'for services to scholarship'. Humphrey was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Bolton in 2017 for her outstanding Contribution to the field of Anthropology.

Co-sponsored with the Program for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, the Center for Collaborative History, the Religion Department and the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.

Please contact Carole Frantzen with any questions.

Russia is in the news on a near-daily basis as the media discusses everything from the special counsel’s investigation i...
04/11/2018

Russia is in the news on a near-daily basis as the media discusses everything from the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, to allegations that the Kremlin is behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England. Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, frequently shares his views on these issues as an analyst for NBC News and a contributing columnist in The Washington Post.

http://wws.princeton.edu/news-and-events/events/item/minute-russia

On January 5, 1918, the dream of Russian revolutionaries for generations seemed on the verge of realization.  On that da...
04/10/2018
April 10, 2018

On January 5, 1918, the dream of Russian revolutionaries for generations seemed on the verge of realization. On that day, less than three months after “Red October” and the creation of a temporary Bolshevik government, popularly elected delegates to the All-Russian Constituent Assembly from all over the vast Russian empire gathered in Petrograd.

The primary purpose of a majority of these delegates was to finally create a permanent Russian democratic political system on the Western model. Yet just hours later, after these delegates refused to bend to the will of the Bolshevik-led minority and to recognize the higher authority of Bolshevik-controlled soviet power, the Constituent Assembly was shut down.

In less than a day, the long-held dream was crushed. Astonishingly, however, there was little immediate push-back against this outcome. How is it to be explained?

In his lecture at Princeton Alex Rabinowitch, who has spent a life-time studying the Petrograd Bolsheviks in revolution and civil war, will focus on the answer to this long-debated, fundamental question.

Alex Rabinowitch is now Emeritus Professor of History at Indiana University, where he began teaching in 1968, and Associate Research Scholar, St. Petersburg Institute of History, Russian Academy o…

A71 Louis A. Simpson Building | Tuesday, March 27 | 4:30 p.m. The fall of the Soviet Union was a revolution that inaugur...
03/26/2018
March 27, 2018.

A71 Louis A. Simpson Building | Tuesday, March 27 | 4:30 p.m.

The fall of the Soviet Union was a revolution that inaugurated an “archival revolution” in its wake. Historians in Russia were now free to challenge or abandon the officially mandated version of 1917 and the civil wars that ensued. They gained access to formerly closed or restricted archives and were able to engage foreign colleagues in scholarly debate.

This talk explores three new perspectives that have emerged from this historiographic shift, reshaping narratives of the revolution and its aftermath. It complements this discussion with an example of how these monumental events were experienced by an ordinary inhabitant of the Russian Empire, in this case the speaker’s own grandfather.

Laura Engelstein has spent her academic career exploring the world from which her grandparents and parents emigrated – the last decades of imperial Russia and the years of revolution and civil war.…

soon! Ana Hedberg Olenina at Princeton!
03/23/2018

soon! Ana Hedberg Olenina at Princeton!

From Movement to Consciousness: Tectonics, Reflexology and Biomechanics in Soviet Avant-garde Film Theory

161 Louis A. Simpson Building | Monday, April 2 | 12 p.m.

As per Karl Marx’s dictum, the material conditions of life and the prevalent mode of production determine consciousness. Taking this pronouncement as a call to action, the Soviet avant-garde artists attempted to revolutionize their fellow citizens’ worldview by creating a new kind of material culture, one that encouraged a pro-active attitude towards labor and challenged habitual schemes of perception.

Filmmakers of the 1920s contributed to this experiment by structuring novel sensory experiences geared towards transforming the spectators’ consciousness. In this paper, I will analyze the theoretical foundation of this program by tracing its links to Aleksandr Bogdanov’s empiriomonism and tectonics, Vladimir Bekhterev’s reflexology and energitism, and Nikolai Bernshtein’s biomechanics and psychotechnics of labor efficiency. I argue that by highlighting the role of movement for the brain’s ability to know and master the environment, these authors paved the way for the utopian discourse on remodeling the New Soviet Man’s daily habits on a sensori-motor level. I further trace elements of this discourse in films and essays by Lev Kuleshov, Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, and Abram Room, with a special attention to their conceptions of movement articulated in relation to such issues as optimizing the actors’ performance, adapting film form for effective conveyance of movement, imparting new models of bodily behavior, and triggering kinesthetic empathy in the viewers.


Ana Hedberg Olenina is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Media Studies at Arizona State University. Her main research focus is the Soviet avant-garde, and her broader interests lie at the juncture of early film history and media theory, with an emphasis on historical configurations of sensory experience, emotional response, embodiment, and immersive environments. Dr. Hedberg Olenina is currently finalising her monograph, entitled Psychomotor Aesthetics: Movement and Affect in Russian and American Modernity. Her essays on the Russian Formalists, modern dance, and film spectatorship have appeared in Film History, Discourse, Kinovedcheskie zapiski, and several anthologies in Russia and the USA. She holds a PhD. from Harvard, and an M.Phil. from Cambridge University.

Image: Alexandra Ekster. Set design for Satanic Ballet (1922). (A fragment).

Organized by the Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. For questions, please contact Carole Frantzen.

From Movement to Consciousness: Tectonics, Reflexology and Biomechanics in Soviet Avant-garde Film Theory161 Louis A. Si...
03/23/2018

From Movement to Consciousness: Tectonics, Reflexology and Biomechanics in Soviet Avant-garde Film Theory

161 Louis A. Simpson Building | Monday, April 2 | 12 p.m.

As per Karl Marx’s dictum, the material conditions of life and the prevalent mode of production determine consciousness. Taking this pronouncement as a call to action, the Soviet avant-garde artists attempted to revolutionize their fellow citizens’ worldview by creating a new kind of material culture, one that encouraged a pro-active attitude towards labor and challenged habitual schemes of perception.

Filmmakers of the 1920s contributed to this experiment by structuring novel sensory experiences geared towards transforming the spectators’ consciousness. In this paper, I will analyze the theoretical foundation of this program by tracing its links to Aleksandr Bogdanov’s empiriomonism and tectonics, Vladimir Bekhterev’s reflexology and energitism, and Nikolai Bernshtein’s biomechanics and psychotechnics of labor efficiency. I argue that by highlighting the role of movement for the brain’s ability to know and master the environment, these authors paved the way for the utopian discourse on remodeling the New Soviet Man’s daily habits on a sensori-motor level. I further trace elements of this discourse in films and essays by Lev Kuleshov, Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, and Abram Room, with a special attention to their conceptions of movement articulated in relation to such issues as optimizing the actors’ performance, adapting film form for effective conveyance of movement, imparting new models of bodily behavior, and triggering kinesthetic empathy in the viewers.


Ana Hedberg Olenina is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Media Studies at Arizona State University. Her main research focus is the Soviet avant-garde, and her broader interests lie at the juncture of early film history and media theory, with an emphasis on historical configurations of sensory experience, emotional response, embodiment, and immersive environments. Dr. Hedberg Olenina is currently finalising her monograph, entitled Psychomotor Aesthetics: Movement and Affect in Russian and American Modernity. Her essays on the Russian Formalists, modern dance, and film spectatorship have appeared in Film History, Discourse, Kinovedcheskie zapiski, and several anthologies in Russia and the USA. She holds a PhD. from Harvard, and an M.Phil. from Cambridge University.

Image: Alexandra Ekster. Set design for Satanic Ballet (1922). (A fragment).

Organized by the Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. For questions, please contact Carole Frantzen.

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