Slavisches Seminar

Writing and Screening Socialisms in an Entangled World

July 3rd-4th, 2015

Evangelisches Stift, Tübingen

Organization: Dr. Gesine Drews-Sylla (Slavisches Seminar, Universität Tübingen)

Socialism is one of the paradigms that shaped the global 20th century. While it is characterized by a transcultural, universalizing utopia, socialism has actually manifested itself in a large variety of local concepts that modify, alter, adapt and localize its universalisms in time and space (e.g., Soviet-style communism, Western socialist movements, African socialism or its North Korean and Chinese versions). Socialism as an idea has been spread all over the world, regardless of whether a given society has defined itself as socialist or not, whether it was a real life experiment in society or a cultural counter concept to local or transnational power structures (such as imperialism and colonialism).

Socialism interacts with the arts, with literature, with film, with humanities, with varying theories and with everyday culture which were all used to express and/or shape its differing forms. Possible varieties range from European avantgarde movements, Soviet socialist realism and North Korean nationalizing reinterpretations to African, Asian and South American anti- and postcolonial theory and writing as well as filmmaking. As a global movement, socialism has triggered a migration of concepts, people, cultural artefacts, texts and films that might not even be directly connected with socialism as such, but rather stem from its respective rootedness in local cultures. As such, socialism becomes one of the facilitators for a global cultural exchange that has yet to be investigated.

The conference aims to bring together scholars from different disciplinary contexts such as film, art, literature or intellectual history in order to ask for possible routes of transnational entanglements as a result of socialism.

The conference is part of the project „Entangled Cultures in ‚Second’ and ‚Third’ Worlds“ which aims to establish a network of scholars on the subject.


Friday, July 3rd, 2015

09:00 - 09:30

Gesine Drews-Sylla (Tübingen): Introduction

09:30 - 10:50

Chair: Schamma Schahadat (Tübingen)

Joshua I. Cohen (New York): African Socialist Cultural Policy: Senegal under Senghor, 1960-1980

Evgeny Dobrenko (Sheffield): Fin de siècle Socialist Realism: Aesthetics of Socialism in Eastern Europe and the USSR After Stalin

10:50 - 11:10

Coffee break

11:10 - 12:30

Chair: Jana Domdey (Tübingen)

Aleksandr Markov (St. Petersburg): Soviet Documentary Filmmakers' Shootings on the African Continent, 1955-1991

Gabrielle Chomentowski (Paris): Soviet Assistance in Film Industry Development in Africa and for Africans (1960s-1980s)

13:00 - 14:00


14:00 - 15:20

Chair: Svetlana Boltovskaja (Freiburg)

Marcus Twellmann (Konstanz): Narrating Villagization. Tanzania's socialist experiment and the novel

G. Thomas Burgess (Annapolis): Zanzibar, "Cuba of East Africa" as a node of cultural contact and exchange during Cold War

15:20 - 15:40

Coffee break

15:40 - 17:40

Chair: Bärbel Küster (Stuttgart/Berlin)

Quinn Slobodian (Wellesley): Comrades of Color: Socialist Chromatism, the Racial Rainbow and East Germany's Cold War World

Davor Beganovic (Konstanz/Tübingen): "Maće, idem kod Kljuza!". Everyday racism in non-aligned Yugoslavia

Edna Barromi Perlman (Tel Aviv): Analysis of Images of Socialist Childhood on Kibbutz

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

09:00 - 10:20

Chair: Gesine Drews-Sylla (Tübingen)

Bärbel Küster (Stuttgart/Berlin): Socialist African Artists in International Perspective

Nadine Siegert (Bayreuth): Aesthetic Encounters - On the political iconography in artistic practise in socialist Angola & Mozambique

10:20 - 10:40

Coffee break

10:40 - 12:00

Chair: Irina Wutsdorff (Tübingen)

Craig Brandist (Sheffield): The early Soviet critique of bourgeois orientalism as a precondition for postcolonial studies: the case of Indology

Jayanta Bhattacharya (Raiganj): Naxalite Movement in India: Socialism in an Entangled World

12:00 - 13:30


13:30 - 14:50

Chair: Davor Beganovic (Konstanz/Tübingen)

Agnieszka Sadecka (Kraków/Tübingen): Socialist exchange, or socialist orientalism? Polish reporters on India

Svetlana Boltovskaja (Freiburg): Socialist Experiment in Africa in the Soviet Press

14:50 - 15:10

Coffee break

15:10 - 17:10

Chair: Michał Mrugalski (Tübingen)

Victor S. Dugga (Lafia): Non-Terminality and The 'Utopia' in African Socialist Drama

Nyasha Mboti (Johannesburg): ‘Gutsaruzhinji’: Schizophrenic-hypocrisy and the failure of socialism in Zimbabwe

Saheed Yinka Adejumobi (Seattle): Afrobeat Utopia and the Ghosts of Empire

17:10 - 17:30

Closing discussion

The conference is supported by "Intramurales Förderprogramm Universität Tübingen 'Projektförderung für NachwuchswissenschaftlerInnen'" and Universitätsbund Tübingen.

Directions to conference venue (Evangelisches Stift, Klosterberg 2, 72070 Tübingen)