Conference reports Bakhtinian theory in postcolonial and postsocialist space

The workshop “Bakhtinian Theory in Postcolonial and Postsocialist Perspective” was organized to link with the publication of the special section on “Bakhtinian theory in a postcolonial and postsocialist perspective” in Baltic Worlds (number 1, 2017).

Published in the printed edition of Baltic Worlds BW 3:2017 p 26
Published on balticworlds.com on november 7, 2017

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The workshop “Bakhtinian Theory in Postcolonial and Postsocialist Perspective” was organized to link with the publication of the special section on “Bakhtinian theory in a postcolonial and postsocialist perspective” in Baltic Worlds (number 1, 2017). Also present at the workshop were the artists Lusine Djanian and Alexey Knedlyakovsky, both former members of Pussy Riot (see more).

Yulia Gradskova (the workshop’s organizer) finds that Bakhtinian concepts have proven to be productive in explaining the ways in which social, political and cultural forces intersect and affect each other, particularly during periods of transition. Such transitions could include colonial struggles for independence, oppressed populations’ right to self-determination, the disintegration of the state and its system of governance, and large scale migration. Bakhtin’s work describes certain important facets of the operation of authority and violence within a culture and the ways in which such forces may be opposed and undermined. Yulia Gradskova underlined the need to see Bakhtin in the time and context in which he lived. Stalinism and the totalitarian system affected him.

Irina Sandomirskaja, professor of cultural studies, CBEES, Södertörn University, set the agenda in her introduction on how to read Bakhtin. There is a fragmentized Bakhtin, she suggested. What we have is bits and pieces of a theory that never come together — although Bakhtin tried to connect his ideas into a totality, the task was never to be completed. Such an outcome can perhaps be understood as a symbolic image of the times he lived in — a shattered, worried Europe. We always read Bakhtin in one edited form or another, concluded Irina Sandomirskaja, and we will never find the authentic Bakhtin. As a former Gulag survivor, he was furthermore an expert at hiding his identity.

Madina Tlostanova, professor of postcolonial feminisms, Tema Genus, Linköping University, returned to the matter of space and locality. Bakhtin stresses the importance of being outside and the role of the other, which fits well in a postcolonial perspective and application. Leung Wing-Fai, lecturer in Culture, Media and Creative Industries, King’s College London, UK did present an analysis of the time and space of a Chinese migrant, the “she” in Guo Xiaolu’s Works. “She” leaves the past and China, life occurs in the present, and the future is in the UK. Yet she is always an outsider and looked upon as the Chinese she no longer identify herself as. To apply Bakhtinian theory on an individual level seems bold, but also opens up for new perspectives. ≈

 

Programme

  • 09:30-10:00 Coffee, registration
    10:00-10:30 Introduction:

    Presentation of the special section of Baltic Worlds – Ninna Mörner, Paromita Chakrabarti and Yulia Gradskova

    10:30-11:00 Irina Sandomirskaja, professor of cultural studies, CBEES, Södertörn University:

    The Luminous and Dark Bakhtin: in Connection with the English Language Publication of Bakhtin’s Wartime Notes

    11:00-11:30 Madina Tlostanova, professor of postcolonial feminisms, Tema Genus, Linköping University:

    From negation to appropriation, or How to regain your honor as a prophet in your own country … and at what expense?

    11:30-12:00 Lusine Dzhanian and Alexey Knedlyakovsky, artists:

    Art protest in Russia. Mordovlag, the art of direct action, one episode from Pussy Riot.

    12:00-13:00 Lunch
    13:00-13:30 Per-Arne Bodin, professor emeritus, Stockholm University, Department of Slavic Studies:

    Witches in the Northern Sweden. A Bakhtinian Approach.

    13:30-14:00 Leung Wing-Fai, Lecturer in Culture, Media and Creative Industries, King’s College London, UK:

    She, a Chinese: Time, Space and the Chinese Migrant in Guo Xiaolu’s Works

    14:00-14:30 Johan Öberg, Göteborg University:

    Избытык видения/Visual surplus: archeologists’ artefact based discourses on how life really was during the Bronze Age

    14:30-15:00 Charlotte Bydler, Senior Lecturer, School of Culture and Education, Södertörn University:

    Yhchang heavy industry art project of digital design – Bakhtinian perspective

    15:00-15:30 Claire Tancons, curator and researcher, New Orleans:

    Farewell, Farewell: Carnival in the Circum-Atlantic Economy of the Flesh. (Post-colonial perspectives on the modern carnivals of the Americas)

    15:30-16:00 General discussion, coffee
    16:00-17:00 Film on art-protest in Russia. Discussion