Proletkult and the Languages of Modernity

Proletkult and the Languages of Modernity
30 November 2019, 2.00pm - 7.30pm
Bloomsbury Room, G35, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Image: poster by Vladimir Mayakovsky

Proletkult refers to the Proletarian Cultural-Enlightenment Organization (Proletarskie kul'turno-prosvetitel'nye organizatsii). The institution was autonomous from the Bolshevik party, but is regarded by many as the cultural arm of the revolution. Founded in 1917, it was tasked with developing radical avant-garde aesthetics tailored to the working classes and their emergent role in modern industrial culture. 

Proletkult peaked in 1920, when it spread like wildfire before its imminent demise. Despite its short lifespan, it was widely influential. This workshop aims to explore Proletkult from the original angle of language, translation and collective identity, in both Marxist and non-Marxist keys. Topics covered include: the polemics between Lenin and Proletkult in the shadow of the literacy campaign in the USSR, the British reception of Proletkult, Chinese modernity in translation, Soviet sociolinguistics and Gramsci’s linguistic modernity, transnational ethnopolitics along the EU-Russian border and Ljudski Oder between Slovenia, Italy and the international Proletkult.

Speaker bios and abstracts (pdf)

Programme (pdf)

14:00 Session 1  Chair: N Barron (Birmingham) Maria Chehonadskih (Central St Martins): “The Epistemological Revolution of Proletkul’t”  
Grant Pooke (Kent): “Brij Mohan Anand: Imaging India's Cold War” 
Qing Cao (Durham): “Translating Concepts through Graphic Loans: The Case of Guomin in Late Imperial China”

15:30 Tea / coffee break

16.00 Session 2  Chair: Katia Pizzi (IMLR)
David Ayres (Kent): “Can the Proletarian Speak?”
Ravel Kodrič (independent scholar): “‘Ljudski Oder’ and ‘DELO’: The Slovenian Branch of the Italian Section of the International Proletkult Movement”
Konstantin Zamyatin (Durham): “Early Soviet National-State Building and Language Policy”

17.30 Round Table and discussion

18.00 Drinks reception

Organised by the Institute of Modern Languages Research and the Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community, Translingual Strand. You can find out more about the OWRI project by visiting our website or following us on Twitter

All are welcome to attend this free event. Places are limited so please register in advance

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OWRI Project Officer
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