“Political Performativity of Contemporary Russian-Language Poetry”
Gießen, Hessen, Germany, February 13–16, 2020
Organizers: Alexander Graf (Gießen), Henrieke Stahl (Trier), Dirk Uffelmann (Passau)
The conference aims at investigating the interconnection of poetry and politics not by zooming into the political interferences of poets, but from the point of view of literary theory. It invites critics to zoom in on the politicality implied in virtually any kind of poetry, not only that implied in political poetry in the narrow sense. If viewed from speech act theory, “the formal is political” in an illocutionary way.
The contributions ask questions about which poetic forms are employed to perform political (speech) acts: can poetry revisit the hate speech of public politics? What kind of political interference is accomplished with the help of vulgarisms? How do poets enact societal change by implementing neologisms, for example with regard to race or gender? What are the performative politics of macaronization, code-switching or multimodal embedment? Does estrangement inevitably trigger critical metareflection? What are the political implications of ostentatiously pre-postmodern modes of poetic expression? Can omission, concealment or even absence of certain devices or signifiers be political?
While widening the scope to include Russian-language poetry from the entire post-Soviet space, we also address the international vectors of Russophonia: how do poets in the Russian Federation deal with the challenge of writing in Russian as a politicized language, and how do poets outside the Russian Federation cope with Russian as a (neo-)imperial language?