This series of seminars, convened by Professor Andy Byford, explored key factors of innovative transformation in the humanities, especially areas of relevance to Modern Languages. The specific case that the series focused on was the rise of literary studies in early twentieth-century Russia/USSR, to include Formalism, Bakhtin and Marxism.
Of particular interest has been the multilingual, translingual, transnational and comparative character of the humanities as an intellectual domain and area of knowledge production. This entailed, for example, explorations of the meanings of 'world literature' and 'translation', as well as the problematisation of universalism in the humanities. Crucial to the discussions has also been the politics of disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity, including ways in which these intersect with politics more broadly.
The seminars approached these questions from a variety of methodological angles, ranging from the sociology of knowledge to the history of ideas, from discourse analysis to the philosophy of science. Presenters included scholars from Russia, Germany and the UK, including two based at Durham.
Dr Sergey Tyulenev, presents paper 'The Birth Pangs of a Future: Translating the World Literature into Vsemirnaia Literatura' at the World Literature in the Soviet Union workshop, Queen Mary University of London, 28-29 June. See all workshop abstracts.