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Russia in East Asia: Imagination, Exchange, Travel, Translation

Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 6:00pm - Friday, February 28, 2014 - 6:00pm
Columbia University Morningside Campus International Affairs Building, Room 1512

Does Russia belong to East Asia? What is Russias position within the geopolitical and cultural imaginary called the Far East? This mini-conference will explore these questions by investigating cross-border perceptions, connections, and cultural exchanges between Russia and its neighbors in East Asia: China, Korea, and Japan. Supplementing the prevalent academic emphasis on the political and economic dimensions of these crucial global relationships, our focus is on the formation of spatial and historical ideology in the realm of cultural production.

As the Russian Empire expanded eastwards from the 17th century, it came into closer contact with cultures from a very different civilizational heritage. Their historical fates were to become increasingly intertwined, from war with Japan through Soviet influence in Chinas revolutions to the expansion of the Communist bloc into Korea. These unprecedented historical interactions and tensions generated, for both Russians and Asians, novel geopolitical imaginaries that sought to illuminate their problematic positions in a modern world order.

Our conference brings together domestic and international scholars with specializations across Slavic studies, East Asian studies, history, and comparative literature. Focusing on the period of heightened interaction from around 1850, papers will explore changing Russian perceptions of East Asia alongside the influence of Russian and Soviet culture in China, Korea and Japan, as intellectuals in these countries negotiated questions of national identity, sovereignty, and modernization.

Conference Agenda