Humanities Institute program looks at ‘Utopian Revisions’

By Kate Kellogg
News and Information Services

What new forms of society are likely to fill the vacuum created by the fall of communism in Eastern Europe?

A free, public conference on “Utopian Revisions: Nationalism and Civil Society in Eastern Europe,” Oct. 29 and 30 in the Rackham Building will probe that mystery through lectures and discussion.

Sponsored by the Institute for the Humanities, the conference offers the views of internationally acclaimed scholars and artists. Among them are Russian emigre artists Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid who are known for their blend of Soviet realism, Pop art and political commentary.

Conference speakers will address the general movement to reject utopian models in favor of visions for the future based on Western or nationalist values. Specialists and representatives from the Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Romania, Hungary and the successor states of Yugolsavia will examine these issues.

Conference schedule:

Thursday, Oct. 29

“What Is a Socialist Utopia?” 2:30-4:30 p.m., West Conference Room, Rackham. Richard Wagner, Berlin; writer in residence, Oberlin College, 1992-93, and Konrad Weiss, member, German Bundestag (lectures in German. Printed translations available).

“Recycling Utopias?” 7:30-9:30 p.m., Rackham Assembly Hall. Edmund Mokrzycki, Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, and Vladimir Tismaneanu, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland.

Friday, Oct. 30

“Alternative Nationalisms,” 1-3 p.m., Rackham Assembly Hall. Mykola Ryabchuk, senior editor, Vsesvit, and poet, Kiev, and Renata Salecl, Sociology, Philosophy, University of Ljubljana School of Law.

“Alternative Utopias: Civil Society,” 3:30-5:30 p.m., Rackham Assembly Hall. Andrew Arato, Department of Sociology, New School for Social Research.

Panel wrap up will include Institute Fellows Geoff Eley, professor of history; Patricia Simpson, assistant professor of Germanic languages; Nicolae Harsanyi, associate professor of British and American studies, University of Timisoara, Romania, and Michael Kennedy, assistant professor of sociology, Global Partnership Fellows.

“What Is to Be Done with Monumental Propaganda?” 8 p.m. Rackham Amphitheater, Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, Russian emigre artists.

For more information, contact the Humanities Institute, 936-3518.


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