Conceptualizing the Human(link is external) is an interdisciplinary conference dedicated to the changing concept of the human in Slavic and Eurasian culture. While many scholars have recently devoted much attention to the “crisis in the humanities,” our conference will turn to the many ways in which “the human” has been perceived, re-imagined, interrogated, and critiqued.
The 1917 revolution induced a radical re-evaluation of what it meant to be human among Russian intellectuals. In the Soviet Union, writers like Platonov, Bulgakov, and Zamiatin envisioned how the human being might transform itself under changing social conditions. New technologies influenced Gastev’s and Vertov’s close scrutiny of the mechanics of human action. In the first Czechoslovak Republic, Karel Čapek posed the question of what it means to be human in physical and cognitive terms in his science-fiction prose, as well as in terms of ethical judgment and the pursuit of truth in his mid-1930s trilogy. Earlier, thinkers such as Fyodorov, Chernyshevsky, Dostoevsky, and the Decembrists incorporated fantasies or critiques of the “new man” into their thought, while contemporary writers like Sorokin and Pelevin have used images of physical violence to challenge traditional notions of human dignity.
Bringing together students and scholars from a range of disciplines and national focuses, “Conceptualizing the Human” seeks to advance a conversation addressing the humanities in their very essence.
Sponsored by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Co-sponsored by: The Center for Human Values, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, European Cultural Studies, the Council of the Humanities, Comparative Literature, IHUM, Art and Archaeology, and the Lewis Center.