[spectre] CFP: Soviet Materialities (Cambridge, 11-12 Apr 22)

Andreas Broeckmann broeckmann at leuphana.de
Fri Sep 24 06:38:44 CEST 2021

From: Christianna Bonin
Date: Sep 23, 2021
Subject: CFP: Soviet Materialities (Cambridge, 11-12 Apr 22)

University of Cambridge, Jesus College, Apr 11–12, 2022
Deadline: Nov 15, 2021

Soviet Materialities

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.

We invite potential contributors to select objects or matter from the 
Soviet world, and appropriate “tools” from the methodological toolkit of 
material culture studies, to open new perspectives on how Sovietness was 
materialised, and how materials communicate(d) their Sovietness. We 
welcome paper proposals from researchers at institutions around the 
world and at any career stage.

Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to: - Movement across 
time and space
- Inheritance/heritage (nasledstvo)
- Theories and the language of work (tvorchestvo, trud, rabota)
- Trade networks, gift and commodity exchanges - Mass production
- Environmental and ecological histories - Craft, artisanal, and 
embodied modes of making - Faktura
- Food
- Kitsch
- “Survivals” from the pre-revolutionary period - Myth, memory, and 

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words, and an author bio of 
max 100 words, to sovietmaterialities at gmail.com by 15 November 2021. 
Proposals may be submitted in English or Russian. Selected applicants 
will be notified by 15 December 2021. The working language of the 
conference will be English.

Soviet Materialities will be hosted over two days, 11–12 April 2022, at 
the University of Cambridge and supported by a grant from CEELBAS. We 
will provide one night’s accommodation in Cambridge free of charge for 
all speakers, and a formal dinner in Jesus College at the end of the 
conference. A limited number of travel grants are available for graduate 
students, early career researchers, and those travelling from the CIS.


Conference Conveners: Mollie Arbuthnot, Junior Research Fellow, Jesus 
College, University of Cambridge
Christianna Bonin, Assistant Professor, American University of Sharjah
Gabriella Ferrari, PhD candidate, Princeton University; Associate 
Specialist in Russian Works of Art, Sotheby’s
Thomas Drew, PhD candidate, The University of Manchester
Tadeusz Wojtych, PhD candidate, University of Cambridge

Reference / Quellennachweis:
CFP: Soviet Materialities (Cambridge, 11-12 Apr 22). In: ArtHist.net, 
Sep 23, 2021. <https://arthist.net/archive/34892>.

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