CFP: The Weird Russian 19th Century

Symposium: The Weird Russian 19th Century

April 28, 2023

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (via Zoom)

Organizers: Arpi Movsesian and Chloë Kitzinger (Rutgers University)

Keynote speaker: Jacob Emery (Indiana University Bloomington) 

Nineteenth-century Russian literature is weird. But what is it exactly that makes it weird? Russophone writers of the era wrestled with different aspects of this umbrella category as a kind of strangeness, otherness, and disability. Meanwhile, a rise in the medicalization of eccentricity in this time period, in Russia as elsewhere, led to both diagnoses and cultural perceptions of difference as deviancy. As such, women, minorities, and those on the margins were particularly vulnerable to being categorized as “weird” in their portrayals in Russophone works. How do writers of the nineteenth century grapple with the weird, find meaning, beauty, ugliness, or perplexity within it, and ultimately push the boundaries of the acceptable and the “normal”? 

We welcome 250-word abstracts for 15-minute paper presentations on weirdness broadly defined in Russophone literature of the nineteenth century. Presentations will be followed by ample time for discussion. Please submit your abstract to by March 1, 2023. Selected participants will be notified by March 15.

The symposium will take place on Zoom.