2017 marks the centennial of the October Revolution. We face this event in a unique historical moment. Globalization has shown the failure of its totalizing project. The discourse of a harmonious multicultural world sustained in the idea of the “end of history” is now contested by the disruptive re-emergence of politics. The cosmopolitan foundations of the European Union tremble; we see a sudden resurgence of fundamentalist ideologies inside and outside Western capitalism; information technology companies contest state power in unprecedented ways. These exigencies will be our starting points in assessing the rhetoric of emancipation established by the October Revolution.Revolution is a concept with a strong temporal element: it stages a break with the past by bringing into the present an ideal of the future. We can look back at the century that 1917 inaugurated —replete with horrors and failures— and let a thread of contemporary reflections about emancipation unfold before our eyes, beyond the Russian process and even against it, traversing geographies and disciplines. Our conference will bring together graduate scholars from across the humanities to interrogate this Red Century, through the debates that accompanied the revolution and its historical aftermath.
The conference will consist of a series of seminars, each focused on a given object, conducted in a round-table format. Panelists will give a 5-10-minute presentation that takes the object as its topic, a starting point, a point of comparison, or a provocation. Presentations will be followed by discussion among the panelists and with the public. Additional images, documents, and videos relating to the objects can be viewed at redcenturyconference.wordpress.com
Sponsors: RCC; Harvard Department of Comparative Literature; Harvard Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures; Harvard Department of Romance Languages & Literatures; Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University