The mission of the Center for the Study of Europe is to promote understanding of Europe through its cultural heritage; its political, economic, and religious histories; its art, literature, music, and philosophy; as well as through its recent emergence as a new kind of international form through the European Union. We view the study of Russia as integral and not peripheral to the study of Europe, hence our desire to devote a portion of our programming to Russia. It is, frankly speaking, impossible to understand “Europe” without understanding the legacy of imperial and Soviet Russia. To this end, in collaboration with the Department of Modern Languages & Comparative Literature, we are launching, in the fall of 2013, a project entitled Russian Voices. The new series dovetails with European Voices and addresses similar questions of language, culture, nation, history, and the role of the poet (and of the translator) in society. Our interest in both programs is in facilitating “conversations across disciplines.”
The showpiece event in the new series will be a Russian Voices symposium and philosophical cabaret performance on November 20, 2013. Funded by the Center for the Humanities and the Jewish Cultural Endowment, the event celebrates the release by Zephyr Press of Relocations, a new anthology of contemporary Russian poetry edited by Catherine Ciepiela, and brings together the three poets whose works are collected in the volume (Polina Barskova, Anna Glazova, and Maria Stepanova) and two of their English-language translators (Ciepiela and Sibelan Forrester). Other events include a screening of My Perestroika with director Robin Hessmann, a talk on the Ballets Russes by Visiting Researcher Anna Winestein, and finally, a talk on cultural diplomacy by John Beyrle, US ambassador to the Russian Federation from 2008 to 2012.