Activity of our member: Damiano Rebecchini

Dear all,

I am pleased to announce the workshop « Towards a history of reading in Russia » organized by Damiano Rebecchini and Raffaella Vassena (both from Università degli Studi di Milano) which will take place in Gargnano del Garda (Italy) on 3-6 May 2017.

You can find the preliminary program below.

Workshop – “Towards a History of Reading in Russia”

(Gargnano sul Garda, 3-6 May 2017)

Preliminary program

 May, 3 h. 14,15 Opening

 14,30 SESSION 1: Kievian Russia and Muscovy

  1. Uspensky and A. Litvina (Higher School of Economics, Moscow), « Education and reading in Kievian Rus, from 11th through 13th Century »

(Chair) Daniel Waugh (University of Washington), (Reading in Muscovy)

Simon Franklin (Cambridge University) “Reading the streets (street signs, shop signs, etc) (early 18th to mid 19th Century)


 16,30 SESSION 2: 18th Century Russia

(Chair) Gary Marker (Stony Brook University), « Reading Communities or Reading Public: Revisioning Readership in Russia’s Long Eighteenth Century »

Kirill Ospovat, (Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg) “Reading and Readers in the post-petrine age”

Rodolphe Baudin (Université de Strasbourg), “Reading and Readers in Russia in the age of Catherine II”

h.19,30 Dinner

May, 4th

  1. 9,30 SESSION 3 19th Century Russia

Bella Grigoryan (Yale University), “The reading and readers of the Russian journals from Novikov’s age through the 1840’s”

(Chair) Andrei Zorin (Oxford University), The Impact of reading in the Life of a Russian Noble (The case of Andrei Turgenev)? (Otherwise on Karamzin’s Letters as program of reading)

Daria Khitrova (Harvard University) “Reading and readers of poetry in the Golden age”


Damiano Rebecchini (Università degli Studi di Milano) “Reading and Readers of the Russian novels in 1830s – 1840s”

Laura Rossi (Università degli Studi di Milano), Representations of reading in Russian memoirs, 1790s-1840s

  1. 13,00 lunch

h.15,30 SESSION 4: Nineteenth Century Russia

Abram Rejtblat (Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, Moscow), “Reading and Readers in 19th Century Russia, 1860s – 1880s”.

(Chair) William Mills Todd III (Harvard University), “Readers of journals, 1850s-1880s” (especially focused on Russkij Vestnik)

Aleksej Vdovin, Roman Leibov (Moscow-Tartu), “Reading in the Russian school in the 19th Century”


Marcus C. Levitt (University of Southern California), “Pushkin’s readers, 1855-1899”

Raffaella Vassena (Università degli studi di Milano), “Dostoevsky’s and Tostoy’s readers, 1870s-1900s”

19,30 Dinner

May, 5th

  1. 9,30 SESSION 5 20th Century Russia

Jeffrey Brooks (John Hopkins University), (Popular literature and popular readers)

Abram Rejtblat (Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, Moscow), “Books and reading in the peasant milieu”


Jon Stone (Franklin & Marshall College), “Reading and Readers in the Silver Age (1890s-1900s)”

(Chair) Oleg Lekmanov (Higher School of Economics, Moscow), Reading and Readers in 1920s

13 lunch

15,00 SESSION 6 20th Century Russia

Evgeny Dobrenko (The University of Sheffield), “Reading and readers in Stalinist years (30s – 50s)”

Denis Kozlov (Dalhousie University), “Reading and readers in Russia in 1950s-1970s.”

Birgit Menzel (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz), Reading in Russia during  and after Perestrojka until today


(chair) Catriona Kelly (Oxford University), Reading the Russian classics in Late Soviet Films

Roman Leibov (Tartu University), Reading in the Russian Internet

 May, 6th

 9,30 -12,30 FINAL SESSION

Open discussion about the topics arisen during the workshop, and reflection about the following points:

– Methodological problems: how shall we read « in Russia »: as a linguistic entity (Russian-speaking Russian readers) or as a geographycal entity (therefore including ethnical and linguistic minorities belonging to the Russian Empire and to USSR)?

– Potential gaps (in terms of topics or time periods) and possible candidates to enroll to the project:

— female readings

— reading of and for kids

— religious readings

— readings of ethnical and religious minorities (old believers, jews, lutherans, muslims, etc.)

— readings of texts in foreign languages (relationship between french and russian, etc.)

— prohibited readings (manuscripts, samizdat,etc.)

— iconographic representation of reading

– Proposals of possible case-studies and deep-dives

– Topics related to the process of preparation and editing of the book: realistic timeframe for the delivery of the contributions; possible support in the editing of traslated texts in English language; peer-review and possible reviewers, etc.

 Departure of the participants




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