General Information on the Conference
Each year the Midwest Slavic Association and CSEES 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.
Rescheduled 2020 Conference Keynote and Plenary
Sunday, September 13, 1:00 - 4:00PM EDT
The Midwest Slavic Association and CSEES extend an open invitation to all members of the public and academia to attend the rescheduled keynote and plenary panel that were originally planned as part of the April 2020 Midwest Slavic Conference. On Sunday, September 13th from 1 – 4PM EDT, CSEES will host a free webinar via Zoom featuring a keynote and a plenary panel based on the theme “Science (&) Fiction(s)”. Below, please find the details and abstracts for the keynote and plenary. You must register in advance via this link for the Zoom webinar and registration will close on Wednesday, September 9th. This will provide you with the link for the talk. Again, all are welcome to join this webinar!
Keynote Address: 1:00 – 2:25 PM EDT
Dr. Anindita Banerjee, Cornell University, "Ordinary Apocalypse and Everyday Science Fiction"
All imaginations of disaster, Susan Sontag declared in 1964, were but variations of a single fear: the end of the world by a nuclear explosion. In 1984, Jacques Derrida similarly spoke about the "fabulous textuality" by which a "stockpile of metaphors" wielded as much power as actual nuclear warheads in the spaces and practices of everyday life. Embedded in the very foundation of our field, the Cold War's apocalyptic imagination continues to haunt our search for ruptures and revelations, dystopian terrors and utopian awakenings, in a rich corpus of texts once relegated to the margins of (mostly Russian) great literature.
But how relevant is the old apocalypse-- monumental, sublime, all-consuming -- to contemporary students and scholars for whom futurity itself is an increasingly precarious concept? When disasters cannot be deferred to the elsewhere and elsewhen, as the unfolding pandemic continues to demonstrate, how can science fiction speak to its multiscalar, convergent, and constantly mutating dimensions? Is science fiction capable of reckoning with catastrophe that creeps up rather than explodes into view? What kinds of science fictions might emerge from the interfaces where ordinary life exists in close proximity with states of emergency? These questions animate my call for a different modality of reading, researching, and teaching Russian and East European science fiction, one whose potentials do not lie in the politics of hope or despair. Lurking in the margins of both canonical and contemporary texts, they gesture instead towards an ethics and practice for the present continuous and future imperfect.
Plenary Panel: 2:35 – 4:00PM EDT
Dr. Alisa Ballard Lin, Ohio State University, “Reflexology, Mind-Cures, and Biomechanics: (Pseudo)-Science in the Avant-Garde Russian Theater”
The Russian theater of the early-twentieth century blossomed in dialogue with scientific and pseudoscientific developments, from Stanislavsky’s interest in reflexology to Evreinov’s fascination with the notion of the mind cure. The reliance on scientific ideas not only lent an air of validity to acting methodologies and theories of reception but drove a sense that the theater itself was an experimental laboratory to understand the human body and mind. This talk will analyze some of these points of contact between the theatrical and the scientific to understand why and how the Russian theater of this era was so scientifically driven.
Dr. Nicholas Breyfogle, Ohio State University, "Explaining Earthquakes: The 1861-62 Lake Baikal Disaster and the Meaning of Nature in Imperial Russia"
This presentation will tell the story of the massive 1861-62 Lake Baikal earthquakes as a window onto the role of natural disasters in the social and cultural lives of the Imperial Russian population and as a way to understand the environmental sensibilities and approaches of the people around Lake Baikal. It will examine the competing efforts and discourses used to explain and understand the earthquakes. Representatives of different religious faiths (Orthodox, Buddhist, and Shamanist, in particular) each attempted to explain the events within the context of their religious worldviews. At the same time, members of the scientific community in Russia sent out multiple teams in an effort to find some “rational, scientific” explanation for the events.
Dr. Andrei Cretu, Ohio State University, "Russia Back to the Final Frontier: Reviving the Space Age in a Complex Globalized World"
The Space Age is widely considered to have begun with the launch of Sputnik by the Soviet Union in 1957, but there is no agreement as to when it ended, or what followed it. In the U.S., according to a widely held opinion, the Space Age ended in the early 70’s (with the last Apollo flight) or, at the latest, in 2011 (with the last Shuttle flight) and was replaced by the Digital Age, in which societal change is driven primarily by information technologies. However, there are thinkers, such as Frederic Neyrat, who claim that the grand narrative that has replaced the Space Age and is shaping society and culture today is that of the Anthropocene – an era characterized by profound changes in the biosphere caused by human activity. The post-Soviet development of Russia does not neatly fit into either of these scenarios (although it definitely includes features of both). Rather, societal trends suggest that after a period of crisis and uncertainty, the legacy of the Soviet Space Age has once again become central to Russian identity. This presentation explores some of the technological, cultural, economic and political facets of this development.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, conference panels had to be cancelled for this year. Please see below for tentative information on the 2021 conference.
2020 Midwest Slavic Conference Co-sponsors
The 2020 Midwest Slavic Conference is made possible through the generous contributions of our co-sponsors: 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.
2020 Midwest Slavic Conference Committee
Dr. Epp Annus, Ohio State University
Dr. Andrew Barnes, Kent State University
Dr. Ljiljana Duraskovic, University of Pittsburgh
Dr. David Hoffmann, Ohio State University
Dr. Brian Joseph, Ohio State University
Dr. Marianna Klochko, Ohio State University
Dr. Stephen Norris, Miami University
Dr. Benjamin Sutcliffe, Miami University
Tentative 2021 Midwest Slavic Conference
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Midwest Slavic Association and CSEES have not yet scheduled dates for the 2021 Midwest Slavic Conference. Despite the pandemic, we do intend to hold a 2021 conference but we are surveying options and formats for a March or April 2021 conference. We intend to post more information by October 2020 to follow a similar timeline of a publishing a call for papers in October with abstracts due in January 2021. The theme of the conference will once again be "Science and Fiction(s)" and we invite all participants of the 2020 conference who were unable to present their papers to participate in the 2021 conference.
General Conference Information
We will not be able to 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lodging options include:
- The Blackwell Inn (on-campus)
- Fairfield Inn and Suites (off-campus)
- Graduate Hotels Columbus (off-campus, ask for OSU Visitors Rate for 10-20% discount, offers bike rentals)
- Hilton Garden Inn (off-campus)
- Holiday Inn (off-campus, offers shuttle transportation)
- Holday Inn - Staybridge Suites OSU (off-campus)
- Homewood Suites (off-campus)
- Hyatt Place (off-campus)
- Red Roof Inn (off-campus)
- Spring Hill Suites (off-campus, offers shuttle transportation)
- Varsity Inn South (off-campus)
Transportation and Parking
A variety of taxi cab services also operate in the Columbus metro area, as well as Lyft and Uber.
- Yellow Cab of Columbus – (614) 444-4444
- Columbus Taxi Service – (614) 262-4444
- Blue Cab Company – (614) 236-4444
- Acme Taxi – (614) 777-7777
- Orange Cab – (614) 414-0000
- United Taxi – (614) 449-9999
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 paper 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 email@example.com in advance.
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.
- Buckeye Donuts-1998 North High St
- Buffalo Wild Wings- 2151 N High S
- Charleys Philly Steaks- 1980 N High St
- Chick-Fil-A- 1924 N High St
- Chop Shop- 2159 N High St
- Chipotle Mexican Grill - 2130 N High St
- Donatos- 2084 N High St
- Diaspora-2118 North High St
- Dunkin Donuts- 2060 N High St
- McDonald's-1972 North High St
- Moe's Southwest Grill- 2040 N High St
- Noodles and Company- 2124 N High St
- Panda Bear Express- 2044 N High St
- Panera Bread- 300 W Lane Ave
- Pita Pit-1988 North High St
- Qdoba Mexican Grill-1956 North High St
- Red Chili-1948 North High St
- Sbarro-1990 North High St
- Subway- 2187 Neil Av
- Starbucks - 2130 N High St
- Tommy’s Pizza-174 W Lane Av
- Varsity Club Restaurant & Bar- 278 W Lane Ave
- Waffle House, 1712 North High St.
- Wendy's-2004 North High St
- White Castle-2106 N High St
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, CSEES 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 CSEES' community today!
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.
“A Farewell to an Empire Revisited” by Dr. Vitaly Chernetsky, University of Kansas
Friday, March 23rd - Sunday, March 25th, 2018
Co-sponsored by The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Center 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
"The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World" by Dr. Tara Zahra, University of Chicago
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.
"Putin Country: A Journey into the Real Russia, The Challenge of Covering Russia" by Anne Garrels
Friday, April 8th- Sunday, April 10th, 2016
Co-sponsored by The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, The Center for Slavic and East European Studies, The Midwest Slavic Association, and The Office of International Affairs.
The 2016 conference had over 80 panelists and close to 200 attendees. Papers, abstracts, and program from the conference can be found in the conference's Knowledge Bank collection.
"Future of the Past: The Ukraine Crisis in Historical Perspective" by Dr. Serhii Plokhii, Harvard University
Friday, March 13th-Sunday, March 15th, 2015
Co-Sponsored by The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, The Center for Slavic and East European Studies, The Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, Mershon Center for International Security Studies, The Midwest Slavic Association, The Office of International Affairs, and The Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies and the Hilandar Research Library.
The 2015 conference had over 150 attendees and 115 presenters. Papers and abstracts from the conference can be found in the conference's Knowledge Bank collection.
"Is Putin's Russia a Kleptocracy? And So What?" by Dr. Karen Dawisha, Miami University of Ohio
Prior Conference Programs
Programs from prior conferences can be found on CSEES' Knowledge Bank community along with other materials from the conference.