11–12th April 2022
Jesus College, Cambridge
11–12th April 2022
University of Cambridge, UK
The aim of this conference is to explore how a turn towards materiality can enrich our understanding of the Soviet cultural landscape. We invite proposals that consider material and objects, their journeys through time and space, their processes of making and re-making, and how those perspectives might uncover alternative modernisms, defamiliarise Sovietness, and explore the diversity of Soviet experiences and identities.
We expect that this theme will stimulate conversations between scholars working in a variety of different disciplines — including history, literary studies, the history of art and architecture, and anthropology — making this an interdisciplinary and methodologically-focused conference.
While there has been substantial interest in Soviet material culture over the last 20 years, there is, to-date, no coherent handbook on the material turn in Soviet studies. There remains much to be done in terms of analysing how materials powerfully shaped Soviet subjectivities and activities. What theoretical thinking around materials emerged from the ideological context of “actually existing socialism”? How might these theories echo or diverge from Western or capitalist traditions of matter and objecthood? Soviet Materialities conference will serve as the starting point for compiling an edited volume on this topic.
The conference will feature a methodologies masterclass in which senior scholars from the fields of art history, anthropology, and Slavic studies will explore approaches to the study of material culture and the history of materiality, stimulating methodological questions about how scholars of the Soviet past engage with sources, interlocutors, and archival materials
Soviet Materialities will be hosted over two days, 11–12th April 2022, at the University of Cambridge and supported by a grant from CEELBAS. The working language of the conference will be English.
This will be a hybrid event and we will provide remote, free access to the conference proceedings. We look forward to welcoming speakers and audience members, online or in person, in April.
Junior Research Fellow, Jesus College, University of Cambridge
Assistant Professor, American University of Sharjah
Gabriella A. Ferrari
PhD candidate, Princeton University
PhD candidate, University of Manchester
PhD candidate, University of Cambridge
In association with: