A conference organised by the
Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the
Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences
31 October – 2 November 2024, Prague

In the context of the aggression against Ukraine, the last two years have witnessed an unprecedented boom in representations of Russia and Russians in the global public space. Although the early modern period represented a completely different media world, even a cursory examination of the literature of the period shows that the Grand Duchy of Moscow (later Tsardom of Russia) and its inhabitants were widely reflected and discussed in various types of Neo-Latin and vernacular texts from across the European continent, as well as from the early colonial environment. More or less stereotypical images of Muscovites can be found just as well in sermons, biographies, chronicles, diplomatic reports, travel writing, and occasional poetry as in religious, educational and legal treatises. It seems obvious that Russia was represented in a much more complicated and complex way than simply as a non-Western region with a different religion and civilisation, and as a simple antithesis to the author’s own society. What representations then circulated in the literature between 1500 and 1750 and how exactly were they constructed? How did they intermingle with other images of the Other at the time? How did they co-create period´s political and social life as well as the agency and the cultural identities of both text producers and readers?

Although the potential of imagined geographies and processes of Othering has been attested in early modern studies for more than thirty years, surprisingly little research has been devoted to individual reflections of Russia and Muscovites as part of early modern literary and cultural exchanges. The main
goal of our conference is to provide a detailed and locally specific analysis of these imaginaries and their possible social contexts, as well as a comprehensive comparison across various regions, with an emphasis on their cultural interconnectedness. The conference will also explore the variety of media, genres, discourses and rhetorical tools related to imageries of Russia and Muscovites and how they changed over time. Particular attention will be paid to the intersections of textuality, visuality, and materiality of early modern texts. We therefore welcome presentations that address the above-mentioned themes (while remaining open to other related questions).

The conference will be held in English. Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers dealing with the theme in the period 1500–1750. In addition to individual case studies, comparative or conceptual papers are highly welcome. Please send a title of your paper, 200–300 words abstract and one-page CV incl. your affiliation in English to the conference organisers (listed below) by 1 May 2024. Notifications of acceptance will be made on 20 May 2024.

The conference will be in person. It will be hosted at the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Jilská 1, Prague, Czech Republic, from 31 October to 2 November 2024. Keynote speakers will be announced with the first draft of the conference program. The organisers are happy to provide lunches and a conference dinner for speakers and recommend accommodation in Prague (i.e. the accommodation costs will not be covered). There is no registration fee. Proceedings will be published in an international peer-reviewed volume in English.

Download the pdf version of the CfP from here.

Organising Committee:
Lucie Storchová (storchova@flu.cas.cz, FLÚ AV ČR)
Kristi Viiding (kristi.viiding@gmail.com, UTKK)
Tomáš Havelka (havelka@flu.cas.cz, FLÚ AV ČR)