2017 marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution that proclaimed a total break from the culture of the imperial past and attempted to re-make society and cultural identity from the ground up. Just over a quarter-century after the collapse of Communism, Russia’s Soviet decades have generally been dismissed as a failed experiment.

But looking deeper, what practices, policies, institutions and cultural legacies rooted in the Soviet period continue to be imbedded in Putin’s Russia, and by studying them, how can we gain a more complex understanding of culture and identity in Russia today? From mass youth group movements and mass media to the public school curriculum, sport, state holidays and language policy, the research produced for this conference will explore which experiments stemming from 1917 still shape and inform post-Communist Russia.

In order to discover what is expedient, practical and/or desirable about these continuities, an international conference will be held at the University of Victoria October 25-27, 2017. The conference is interdisciplinary, bringing together Russianists specializing in literary studies, art history, political science, anthropology, heritage studies, film studies, architecture and cultural history.

The keynote speaker is Mark Lipovetsky (U Colorado), who has published widely about Russian postmodern culture and its links to the Soviet past. “1917 and Today,” the conference, and the ensuing book project, will go beyond labels of success or failure to discover the root mechanisms behind the operation of post-Soviet culture and Putin’s Russia. This conference is organized by Megan Swift, an associate professor in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies at the University of Victoria.

This conference is free and open to the public. There is no registration fee.