Documents and Barbarism: Studying the Humanities in Times of War

Monday 4th July 2022
3 - 5pm

Organiser: Dr James Rann (University of Glasgow)

Keynote: Dr Andrea Gullotta (University of Palermo; Memorial Italia)

Other panellists:

  • Viktoriia Grivina (University of St Andrews)
  • Mary Ryan (International Development Research Manager, University of Glasgow)
  • Liudmila Tomanek (University of Glasgow)
  • Dr Alexander Trustrum Thomas (KHARPP)
  • Dr Darya Tsymablyuk (University of St Andrews)
  • Dr Diána Vonnák (University of St Andrews)

Dr James Rann is lecturer in Russian at the University of Glasgow. His research focuses on the culture of early twentieth century Russian and Soviet avant-garde, with particular interests in poetry and fashion and he is the author of The Unlikely Futurist: Pushkin and the Invention of Originality in Russian Modernism.

Dr Andrea Gullotta is lecturer in Russian at the University of Palermo and head of Memorial Italia, the Italian branch of Russian human rights charity Memorial. His research focuses on Soviet-era repression and cultural life and he is the author of Intellectual Life and Literature at Solovki, 1923-30.

Mary Ryan is International Development Research Manager at the University of Glasgow. Through her work in international development, she has accrued significant experience in dealing with the interruption of research by conflict and humanitarian crises.

‘To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric,’ Theodor Adorno said. Would we say the same about reading poetry during the siege of Mariupol? Or writing film critiques while bombs fall on Yemen? Some researchers deliberately turn to culture, to ‘the documents of civilisation’, to understand the barbarity of state-sponsored violence; others find that war and brutality suddenly intrudes on their work. This reflective session is designed as a space for researchers to discuss the ethical, emotional and practical challenges and responsibilities that arise from the intersection of the humanities and inhumanity, with particular reference to Russia’s war in Ukraine, but not only. The discussion will be open, but topics will likely include practical questions of access, safety and collaboration and moral and philosophical issues around boycotts, complicity and the disputed limits of art’s redemptive power.

The session will be of interest to PhD students working on Russia and Ukraine but will also be useful for all other researchers, particularly in Modern Languages, who find their work on culture complicated by conflicts, repression and other man-made humanitarian catastrophes.

Event contact: 

Click here to register

Zoom links will be emailed to registrants prior to the event

First published: 7 June 2022