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Wednesday, 15 November 2023 13:30

Norms, Reforms, Deviations: International Conference of the Young Slavists Collective, Verona, 21-23 Feb 2024

Over the centuries, Slavic countries’ history and culture have been marked by countless attempts at revolution, rebellion, and transgression from the imposed norm, paired with a strong desire to adhere to forms of tradition, ideology, or even political regimes. Examples of such behaviour in the context of historical events are the various protests and riots that have spanned the last century in the Slavic area, beginning from the October Revolution in 1917, moving towards Color Revolutions in the early 2000s and the events surrounding Ukrainian Euromajdan in 2014 and Belarusian protest movements in 2020. As for artistic and literary environments, equally frequent have been attempts to deviate from the imposed norm to rework tradition or propose new aesthetic schemes, which have resulted, for instance, in numerous alternations between «archaists» and «innovators» (Yu. Tynyanov, 1929, Arkhaisty i novatory). At the same time, cultures belonging to the Slavic area have often engaged in dialogue with European tradition, which was perceived as more prestigious. Such dialogue with the close Western counterpart has been engaged either in the attempt to pursue integration with its consolidated aesthetic tradition or, at times, in the desire to differentiate themselves and assert their own specificity. 

Suggesting a theoretical frame, one can observe similarities between the Slavic area’s cultural interactions and the semiosphere model theorised by Jurij Lotman (Yu. Lotman, 1984, On the semiosphere). Slavic cultures would live, accordingly, in a dual «semiotic space»: an internal space and an external one, closer to European standards. As the semiosphere itself, these two spaces are heterogeneous and asymmetrical. Such asymmetry between the codified languages placed at the centre of the system, and the less structured ones placed at its periphery, makes possible a continuous flow of creation and destruction of ‘norms’, in which elements take on meaning as a result of previously developed and shared codes, subject to constant renewal.

The adherence to which norms has marked the development of Slavic cultures? Which phenomena have given rise to processes of deviation and change? How have these opposing tendencies contributed to the development of literary tradition, to the normalisation of language, to the imposition or subversion of social and political order?

The conference intends to discuss the various possible ways of approaching the topic. Proposals may explore - without being limited to - the following research areas related to  Slavic cultures: languages and linguistics; literature, art and cultural studies; cinema and theatre; language teaching; translatology and translation studies; historical, political and socio-cultural studies.

Deadline for abstracts: 20 November 2023

For more information, click here.

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