Detailed Program


100th anniversary of Russian formalism (1913-2013)

August 25-29, 2013, Moscow

Organized by:

The Congress Chairman:
Vyacheslav Vsevolodovich Ivanov

Keynote Speakers:
John Ellis Bowlt (University of Southern California)

Catherine Depretto (Paris Sorbonne University)
Viacheslav Vsevolodovich Ivanov (MSU, UCLA, RSUH)
Aage A. Hansen-Love (Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich)
Eero Aarne Pekka Tarasti (University of Helsinki)

The historic report of 20-year-old Viktor Shklovsky, "The Place of Futurism in the History of the Language," presented in December 1913 at the St. Petersburg art cabaret "Stray Dog," is considered the beginning of a new literary theory, Russian Formalism. The message of the report was later put in writing in his first theoretical work, "Resurrection of the Word" (1914), which, together with his second keynote article entitled "Art as Device" (1917), became the manifesto of OPOYAZ (Society for the study of the poetic language ). At present, the international significance of the Russian formalist school has become obvious. The methods of Russian formalism influenced a much wider range of disciplines than what Shklovsky described in his very first pronouncement. While in the beginning Shklovsky concentrated mainly on literature as an independent field of art. Later his colleagues (in particular, Roman Jakobson and Yuri Tynyanov) as early as in 1928 began consistent dissemination of new methods of analysis of the literature on culture in general.

Fleeing from the nazi and other totalitarian regimes, Roman Jakobson first moved to Prague, then to Scandinavia, and finally to New York; during these forced travels, he kept contributing greatly to both the organization of new schools and the promotion and development of the basic principles of the formal study of languages of culture. Jakobson's activity led to the growth of authority of linguistics and to so-called "linguistic turn" in the social sciences in the mid-20th century and the emergence of an interdisciplinary paradigm of structuralism.

The impact of Russian Formalism on the 20th century humanities is immense and yet requires reconsideration, particularly when we think of its heritage in relation to the recent scholarship that challenges or even denies formalism in the broad sense. However, attempts to use languages resembling that of formalism have been made in different fields of research.

The Congress 100th Anniversary of Russian Formalism (1913-2013) to be
held by the leading Russian humanitarian centers invites papers on a range of related subjects (see Application). The aim of the Congress is to trace the influence of the formalist intellectual thinking on the contemporary humanitarian disciplines, to re-estimate the interdisciplinary potential of the formalist method, and to define the movement's place in 20th-century intellectual history.

Deadline for submission of proposals for individual papers or panels: 10 April 2013.

©2013 M.Jakobidze