Conference on May 26-27, 2014

Aleksanteri Institute, Academy of Finland Center of Excellence "Choices of Russian Modernisation": Cluster 2. "Authoritarian Market Society as a Challenge" & Cluster 5. "Cultural and Philosophical Interpretations of Russian Modernization" will organise a conference

The Shrew Untamed:
Cultural Mechanisms of Political Protest in Russia and the World

in May 26-27, 2014 in Helsinki

Download the printable (pdf) programme here. (Updated 9.5.)

In the early years of the 21st century, protest movements in many parts of the world have boosted social change, cultural production, and political oppression. Unexpected and unexplained, this emergence of grassroots radicalism has defeated established truths about the liberal and the modern, the global and the local, class and gender, democracy and the state.

Focusing on the Russian protest of 2011-2012, this conference discusses the puzzling events that have taken place on Moscow's streets and in its cafes against the background of the global economic crisis, the Arab Spring, and the "Occupy" movements in America and Europe. Spearheaded by what the Russians call "the creative class", this protest movement has unusual cultural roots and manifestations, which warrant thorough study.

The conference will focus on the artistic traditions and improvised ideologies of the movement; on the Internet, film, novels, and fashion as the chosen forms of its (self-) representation; and on the new forms of feminism, nationalism, and intellectualism that this movement has tried, tested, and advanced. Repressed but untamed, the new Russian protest movement has produced unusual modes of sociality, generated extraordinary artistic forms, and suggested unpaved new directions for Russian and global politics.


Monday 26 May, 2014

Sanna Turoma and Olga Gurova: Opening of the Seminar

9. 15 – 10.00
Alexander Etkind: Gender of Protest? Petrostate and its Discontents

Session 1

  • Vladimir Gelman: Political Opposition in Russia: A Troubled Rebirth?
  • Elena Trubina: «Occupy» and «Bolotnaya»: Comparing the Intellectuals' Reactions

11.20 – 11.40 Coffee break

Session 2

  • Jonathan Platt: Bare Life and the Address to Power: The Russian Actionist Tradition
  • Valentina Parisi: Soviet Dissidents and Postsocialist Protesters: a Possible Comparison?

13.00-14.30 Lunch

Session 3
14.30 – 16.30

  • Aleksandra Yatsyk: Body, Art and Sovereignity in Geopolitical Perspective: The Pussy Riot Case 
  • Marijeta Bozovic: Embodied Poetics: Tekhnopoeziia, Arkady Kots and Protest Poetry Live
  • Jussi Lassila: Re-initializing Public Discontent by the Regime: Russian People's Front

 Tuesday May 27, 2014

Session 4
9.00 – 10.20

  • Birgit Beumers:  ***, $$$ and … - Language and Images of Protest
  • Markku Lonkila: Social Media and Opposition Protests

10.20-10.40 Coffee break

Session 5
10.40 – 12.40

  • Dragana Cvetanović: Fight for Cultural Rights - Building up the Crushed Serbian Civil Society
  • Julia Gerlach: Contextualizing Russia: Protest Cultures in Eurasia in Comparison
  • Mark Teramae: Beyond Maidan and anti-Maidan: Political Implications of the Ukrainian Crisis

 General Discussion

 12.40-14.00 Lunch


  • Professor Alexander Etkind
    Mikhail Bakhtin Chair in Russia-Europe Relations, European University Institute, Florence, Italy

  • Dr. Sanna Turoma
    Academy of Finland research fellow, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland

  • Dr. Olga Gurova
    Academy of Finland research fellow, Department of Social research, University of Helsinki, Finland

Venue Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Unioninkatu 33, 2nd floor