About this Project
Beginning on the centenary of the Russian revolutions, this project will question the concept of revolution, specifically the link between political and intellectual change. The Russian revolutions in 1917 quickly reverberated around the world, generating revolutions and political changes from East Asia to Latin America and Africa, but also framing a broad paradigm shift in intellectual life. Communist aesthetics, the artistic avant-garde, Russian formalism, the Bakhtin Circle: all were parts of a global intellectual revolution whose causes, ramifications, and impact stretched far beyond the Soviet Union, beyond even the reach of global communism. This history forces us to ask: what constitutes an intellectual revolution? What are its causes and mechanisms? How do revolutionary cultural and intellectual changes relate to political change? What role is played by the disruption of settled populations and by the waves of migration revolution sets off? To what degree can intellectual revolution be translated and re-situated? How do new media change our understanding of these mechanisms and the prospects for future intellectual revolutions? Are we today in a revolutionary moment? The project will address these questions in collaboration with Visiting Fellows and participants in a series of three workshops that will focus on key texts in the production and dissemination of intellectual revolution. The workshops will allow for the creation of a publicly accessible digital archive with sophisticated tools of data visualization, and eventually for a volume of essays.
Image: El Lissitzky, Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge (1919)
April 3, 2018
Visiting Fellow Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews two new books about Soviet relations with Germany and China: Elizabeth McGuire's Red at Heart (New York Review of Books) and the second volume of Stephen Kotkin's biography of Stalin (London Review of Books).
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