Thinking “Race” in the Russian and Soviet Empires

Date / Time

March 5, 2020 - March 7, 2020

All Day


This conference explores shifting conceptions of race and ethnicity through the transition from the Russian to the Soviet empires. It proposes an approach to race and ethnicity as discursive formations that emerge in a broad archive of ethnographic, linguistic, geographic, and popular media, which furnished both hegemonic discourses of scientific modernity and Russian/Eurasian exceptionalism. Exposing this interdisciplinary notion of “race sciences” and its intersections with related scientific, aesthetic, and political regimes, this conference will examine how race science came to be grounded in both the practical imagination and Imperial Russian and Soviet policies, which served in the ordering and management of the colonial population through diversity mandates, nation-building and border redistricting, as well as restructuring aesthetic and affective regimes of seeing and feeling. We will trace how conceptions of race and ethnicity shifted over the revolutionary transition and responded to specific local and global geopolitics. Working across the disciplines of history, history of science, anthropology, literature, as well as visual media and performing arts, this workshop will expose the ways in which shifting conceptions of race and ethnicity influenced the development of new scientific paradigms and contributed to the restructuring of the social, political and artistic imagination amidst the process of imperial expansion.

For a detailed schedule please see the conference website.

Sponsored by: Department of Polish, Russian, and Lithuanian Studies; SEENEXT Interdisciplinary Working Group; Institute for the Humanities; Jewish Studies Program; Institute for Research on Race & Public Policy; History Department; School of Literatures, Cultural Studies and Linguistics; School of Theatre and Music; The Leonid Nevzlin Research Center for Russian and East European Jewry; Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES); UChicago Department of History; UChicago Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures; Franke Institute for the Humanities; Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies; Pozen Family Center for Human Rights.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email