Midwest Slavic Conference


General Information on the Conference

Each year the Midwest Slavic Association and CSEEES partner together to host the Midwest Slavic Conference. The conference has been held on the OSU campus since 2003 and is normally held in the spring. Participation is open to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars from across the United States and abroad. Approximately 30 panels are held each year with over 250 attendees from institutions throughout the country and internationally. Conference events include a keynote address, reception, and panels covering film, political science, culture, history, linguistics, and many other disciplines and that focus on all countries and regions of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Midwestern states map with superimposed photo of the Red Square.

Upcoming Conferences

2023 Midwest Slavic Conference

March 24-26, 2023 - Columbus, OH

2023 conference schedule

Registration will be available onsite at the conference.

The Midwest Slavic Association (MWSA) and The Ohio State University's Center for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (CSEEES) are pleased to announce the 2023 Midwest Slavic Conference to be held at Ohio State in Columbus, OH on March 24-26, 2023. The conference committee invites proposals for papers on all topics related to the Slavic, East European, and Eurasian world, particularly those related to the theme of displacement and diaspora. As war and other disasters continue in these regions, this theme will explore how war has displaced and damaged cultures, cultural artifacts, and cultural production. It will also provide students and scholars with the opportunity to think about how these horrors prompt cultures, societies, and languages to flourish and thrive while creating new centers and pulls across the globe when citizens are forced to flee.

The conference will open with a reception at the OSU Faculty Club (181 S Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210) from 5:30PM-7:00PM followed by the keynote address from 7:00PM-8:30PM by Dr. Valeria Sobol (U. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign). Building on the keynote address, a plenary panel will follow on Saturday morning from 8:30AM-10:15AM at the Blackwell Inn and Conference Center (2110 Tuttle Park Pl., Columbus, OH 43210). Panels by conference participants will then be held on Saturday from 10:30AM-4:45PM and Sunday from 8:30AM-11:45AM. This year’s conference will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Society for Slovene Studies.

Abstract and Panel Submissions

Please send a one-paragraph abstract and a brief C.V. in a single PDF format file to cseees@osu.edu by January 27th. Undergraduate and graduate students are strongly encouraged to participate. Interdisciplinary work and pre-formed panels are encouraged. Proposals for individual papers will be accepted.  

Registration is required to attend all conference events and activities. 


  • Abstract and C.V. Deadline: January 27                                            
  • Notification of Acceptance: February 13                                           
  • Scheduling Conflicts Due: February 16                                                                   
  • Panels Announced: February 17                                                     
  • Final Papers to Chair: March 17 
  • Presenter Registration Deadline: March 17

Registration Fees

Registration is REQUIRED to attend all conference events and activities. Registration will include entry to all conference panels as well as all special events listed in the Special Events section below.

NEW! Donated Registrations for Young Scholars of Slavic Studies

Want to support up and coming scholars in our field? This year we have created an option for faculty and independent scholars to donate conference registration(s) for undergraduate and graduate students who are participating as presenters or general attendees. This will allow students to enjoy the conference to the fullest extent.

Students who are interested in receiving a waiver code for donated registrations should email CSEEES at cseees@osu.edu. Donated registrations will be available on a first come, first served basis.

  • Student Presenters: $35
  • Faculty/Independent Scholars: $50
  • General Attendees: $25

Special Events

Opening Reception and Keynote Address with Dr. Valeria Sobol (U. of
Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

Friday, March 24, OSU Faculty Club, Main Dining Room on the 2nd Floor (181 S Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210) 

  • Opening Reception, 5:30PM-7:00PM
  • Keynote Address, 7:00PM-8:30PM
"Gothic Displacements and the Russian Imperial Conquest: Literary Cases of Finland and Ukraine"

In this presentation, I will discuss how displacement—one of the key tropes of the literary Gothic tradition—assumes a new, urgent meaning in the context of the Russian imperial conquest. While Gothic literature is often perceived as divorced from a concrete historical or geographical reality, I will demonstrate that Gothic tropes, when examined in the context of the Russian empire and its assimilative tendencies, function as symptoms of deep anxieties about fluid imperial borders, national identities, and modernization. For my literary examples, I will focus on two texts from the early 1840s that represent the “Northern” and “Southern” poles of the Russian imperial Gothic: Vladimir Odoevsky’s novella “The Salamander,” partly set in Finland, and Panteleimon Kulish’s novel Mikhailo Charnyshenko, or Little Russia Eighty Years Ago, set in Ukraine. The talk is partly based on my relatively recent book, Haunted Empire: Gothic and the Russian Imperial Uncanny (2020). 

Plenary Panel: “The Crossroads of Crisis and Culture: A Multidisciplinary Exploration”

Saturday, March 25, 8:30-10:15AM Blackwell Inn and Conference Center (2110 Tuttle Park Pl., Columbus, OH 43210)

"Fostering Community and Solidarity in a Time of Plague: Uniting Readers Across the Globe Through Russian Literature" by Dr. Anna Barker (U. of Iowa)

With the beginning of global lockdowns in March of 2020, all intellectual debates and cultural exchanges moved to the virtual world where various cultural institutions offered respite from crushing isolation through book and film groups, opera, ballet and concert broadcasts, and art museum tours. On April 1, 2020, Dr. Barker started the first virtual literary tutorial through an Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature Facebook page dedicated to Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron, written in Florence during the Great Plague (1346-1353). Baccaccio’s celebration of earthy humanity at a time of global health pandemic spoke to 2020 readers with renewed wisdom and vigor. The reading ended on July 10, but the lockdowns remained – and a sense of irretrievably lost opportunities and aspirations. These sentiments prompted the next reading – Paradise Lost by John Milton, written in the aftermath of the English Revolution and Civil War that disrupted the familiar bonds and connections of every facet of society. But the greatest interest by far was attracted by the two giants of Russian literature, Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, which Dr. Barker covered for 250 days in 2021. What started as a small gathering of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky fans on the 100 Days of War and Peace and 100 Days of Brothers Karamazov, turned into a global affair with thousands of participants on five continents reading the novels in Russian, English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Polish, and Georgian. Dr. Barker will examine her creative process and methodology, attempt to assess why it is the works of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky that appeal to 21st century readers on such a personal level and global scale.

"The Quotidian and the Crisis: Documenting the Immigrant Experience through Food Writing" by Dr. Philip Gleissner (Ohio State U.)

Travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders, and the breakdown of food supply chains and the restaurant industry were among the first noticeable impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Immigrants, whose lives are often built around continuous access to transnational mobility, tight-knight networks of mutual support, and labor in the service industry, were hit especially hard by this. As traditional research came to a brief halt in 2020, I developed together with my colleague Harry Eli Kashdan a project that aimed to give voice to these communities and document their struggles as well as their resilience, which resulted in the publication of our volume Resilient Kitchens: American Immigrant Cooking in a Time of Crisis. In this presentation, I will discuss the volume, our approach, and the potential of food writing for public humanities work especially with regard to the representation of immigrant voices.

"Demopolitics, A Key to Understanding Modern Central-Eastern Europe and Beyond: Evidence from Poland" by Dr. Jarosław Szczepański (U. of Warsaw)

Modern International Relations are dominated by constructivism and geopolitical approaches. However, the latest events in the Old Continent challenge those methodologies. My hypothesis is that to understand modern Europe, a better approach is DEMOPOLITICS, a term first coined by Rudolf Kjellén in his 1916 book The State as a Form of Life. The People (which translates to employees, working force, military or ethnic groups) is what matters in Europe. In that perspective, the shift in Polish politics toward diaspora (Polonia and Poles abroad) and the institution of the Polish national card (Polish Card - Karta Polaka) between 2007 and 2019, along with the more recent governmental and collective answer—demonstrated by the actions and reactions of ordinary Poles—to the wave of migrants and refugees from Ukraine, can provide a piece of evidence of how demopolitics are shaping the Old Continent. Remarks given on Ukrainian refugees and migrants will also provide some insight into a demopolitical understanding of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Lunchtime Performance of Act I of Ivan Cankar's play Jakob Ruda with the Society for Slovene Studies 

  • Saturday, March 25, 12:15-1:15PM, Pfahl Hall, Room 202
  • A light lunch will be served to attendees.

Midwest Slavic Association Meeting

  • Saturday, March 25, 5:00-5:30PM

Student Mixer (undergraduate and graduate student event only)

  • Saturday, March 25, 6:00-7:30PM 

Wine Tasting with the Society for Slovene Studies (faculty and independent scholar event only)

  • Saturday, March 25, 6:00-8:00PM

2023 Co-Sponsors

CSEEES and the Midwest Slavic Association would like to thank our co-sponsors for making this year's conference possible. 

General Conference Information


We do not provide lodging for any participants at the conference. We encourage undergraduate and graduate students to apply for travel grants from their home universities to cover all travel costs. If any documentation is needed to apply for funds, please email cseees@osu.edu.

Lodging options include:

Transportation and Parking

For those driving to campus, self-pay parking is available at parking garages close to the conference site in the Lane Avenue Garage and the Tuttle Garage.

A variety of taxi cab services also operate in the Columbus metro area, as well as Lyft and Uber.

Tips for Presentations and Submitting Papers to Panel Chairs 

You should prepare a presentation of 15-20 minutes in length, generally material that can be covered in an 8-10 page paper. If presenting or reading from a paper, be aware that reading directly from a paper is less engaging. Try to make eye-contact with the audience and not read word-for-word from the paper. Each panelist will present, then questions and discussion led by the chair will be at the end of the panel. Be respectful of other panelists' time to allow equal discussion and time for all members. Send your presentation materials to the panel chair promptly and do not send them longer versions of your paper, what you send them should represent what you will present at the conference. The conference rooms will each have a projector and internet access. Attendees should bring their own laptops and any special cords needed for connecting to a/v equipment. You can use PowerPoints or another presentation program, film clips, or other visual aids. Please prepare a backup in case you encounter any issues accessing your presentation. The conference site will have staff on hand to help. If you have any questions about a/v or software in the conference rooms, please email cseees@osu.edu in advance.

Dining Options

There are many dining options located in easy walking distance from the conference location, the Blackwell Inn and Conference Center. Below are a few close options but by no means is it an inclusive list.

Knowledge Bank

Knowledge Bank is a digital repository maintained by OSU's University Libraries. Conference participants can elect to have their abstracts, papers, and PowerPoints included in Knowledge Bank. Within Knowledge Bank, CSEEES has created a community for the Midwest Slavic Conference that contains programs and participants' materials. Knowledge Bank is accessible through the University Libraries' website and is open to everyone, including those not affiliated with OSU. Papers are searchable and downloadable, helping to increase the impact of the conference and providing a way to spread participants' work. Learn more about the Knowledge Bank.

Check out CSEEES' community today!

Prior Conferences

2022 Conference

Friday, April 1 - Sunday, April 3, 2022

Co-sponsored by Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

Keynote address: "Looking Across Species in the Anthropocene: Carnivores and Compassion" by Dr. Ian Helfant (Colgate U.)

Plenary panel: "Who Owns Icebergs? Seeking Multidisciplinary Solutions in a Legal Vacuum" by Dr. Matthew Birkhold (Ohio State U.)"What Can a Cosmic Collision Teach Us about Climate Change? The 1908 Tunguska Explosion and Environmental Perils of the Future" by Dr. Andy Bruno (Northern Illinois U.), and "Fighting "Future Famines" after the First World War" by Dr. Maria Fedorova (Macalester College).

2021 Conference

Thursday, April 15 - Saturday, April 18, 2021

The 2021 conference was held in a virtual, online format. Information is available on the 2021 Midwest Slavic Conference Website.

Keynote address: “The Geography of Joy: Alex Dubas, Voices of Russian Happiness, and the Art of Translation”, by Dr. Yvonne Howell, University of Richmond

Plenary panel: “Manufacturing Consent: The Politics of Showmanship in Putin’s Russia” by Dr. Hannah S. Chapman, Miami University, “Temporalities of Concrete: Housing Imaginaries at the Margins of Europe” by Dr. Smoki Musaraj, Ohio University, and “War Memory as Entertainment in 21st Century Russia” by Dr. Karen Petrone, University of Kentucky

2020 Conference

Sunday, September 13, 1:00 - 4:00PM EDT

Co-sponsored by The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Department of History OSU, Department of Linguistics OSU, Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures OSU, Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies OSU, the Undergraduate International Studies Program OSU, and University Libraries.

The 2020 Conference was originally scheduled for April 2020 but cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The originally scheduled conference keynote and plenary panel were held on September 13 online. No panels were held.

Keynote address: "Ordinary Apocalypse and Everyday Science Fiction" by Dr. Anindita Banerjee, Cornell University

2019 Conference

Friday, April 5th - Sunday, April 7th, 2019

Co-sponsored by Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Department of History, OSU, Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures OSU, The John Glenn College of Public Affairs OSU, and the Undergraduate International Studies Program OSU.

The 2019 conference had over 60 panelists and over 100 attendees. Papers, abstracts, and the conference program can be found in the conference's Knowledge Bank collection.

Keynote address: “A Farewell to an Empire Revisited” by Dr. Vitaly Chernetsky, University of Kansas

2018 Conference

Friday, March 23rd - Sunday, March 25th, 2018

Co-sponsored by The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian StudiesCenter for African Studies, OSU, Center for Latin American Studies, OSU, Department of History OSU, Department of Political Science, OSU, Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, OSU, Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, OSU, East Asian Studies Center, OSU, The Global Mobility Project OSU, The John Glenn College of Public Affairs, OSU, The Mershon Center for International Security Studies, OSU, Middle East Studies Center, OSU , The Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies, OSU, The Undergraduate International Studies Program OSU

Keynote address: "The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World" by Dr. Tara Zahra, University of Chicago

2018 Midwest Slavic Conference Knowledge Bank Community

2017 Conference

Friday, April 7th - Sunday, April 9th, 2017

Co-sponsored by The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, The Center for Slavic and East European Studies OSU, The Department of Comparative Studies OSU, The Department of History OSU, The Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures OSU, The Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies OSU, The Hilandar Research Library OSU, The Mershon Center for International Security Studies OSU, The Midwest Slavic Association, The Office of International Affairs OSU, The Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies OSU, and The Undergraduate International Studies Program, OSU.

Over 70 panelists presented at the conference with close to 150 attendees. Papers, abstracts, and program from the conference can be found in the conference's Knowledge Bank collection.

Keynote Address: "Putin Country: A Journey into the Real Russia, The Challenge of Covering Russia" by Anne Garrels

Prior Conference Programs

Programs from prior conferences can be found on CSEEES' Knowledge Bank community along with other materials from the conference.