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"In Search of Authenticity: Populist Ethics and the Soviet Intelligentsia [A Case Study]”: a talk by Ben Eklof and Tatiana Saburova

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On April 13 (17:00, Moscow time) IGITI invites you to the talk by Ben Eklof (HSE, Indiana University Bloomington) and Tatiana Saburova (Indiana University Bloomington) "In Search of Authenticity: Populist Ethics and the Soviet Intelligentsia [A Case Study]”.

 Abstract:

In 1988, in the regional city of Kirov [Viatka] a heated debate unfolded between those for and against attaching a memorial plaque to the home of Nikolai Charushin (1851-1937), a “second tier” Populist revolutionary and photographer who later in life established a prominent oppositionist newspaper, worked as an insurance agent for the zemstvo and finally as a librarian—all the while insisting he remained committed to his revolutionary ideals. Was he a “true” revolutionary, and who cared after all at a time when the people and the country had much bigger concerns to address? In this talk we argue that at the core of the Populist movement was ethical rationalism rather than a rigidly articulated ideology or terrorism. Moreover, it was their commitment to an ethical life - a determination to make their deeds match their words - that at several points in the Soviet era drew both professional historians and the intelligentsia as a whole to these figures - in a search for an authenticity [podlinnost’] that was missing in their own lives and surroundings. Other topics to be broached include: how does this story fit into a grand narrative of generational change, or does it? what does it tell us about the genre of writing about such conflicts [“memory wars”]. Are there similarities in the discourse about Populism abroad?

Prof. Ben Eklof is a Chief Research Fellow at Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities and a Professor Emeritus at the Department of History, Indiana University Bloomington. Prof. Tatiana Saburova is a Lecturer at the Department of History and Academic Director of the Russian Studies Workshop, Indiana University Bloomington. Their presentation is based upon their co-authored book, A Generation of Revolutionaries: Nikolai Charushin from the Great Reforms to Perestroika [2017].

The presentation will be held in English, discussion in English and Russian online in ZOOM. To participate, please fill in the registration form