Revolutions and Resurrections: A Workshop on Russian and Soviet Culture (The New School, November 9th)

Revolutions and Resurrections: A Workshop on Russian and Soviet Culture

 The New School for Social Research,
80 5th avenue Room G529
November 9th, 2012

With the cold war over, and the archives fitfully opening, the extraordinary richness of Soviet era philosophy and culture is slowly coming to light. In this workshop, we focus on ‘Lenin’ rival’, Alexander Bogdanov, a founding figure in Soviet science fiction and a highly original Marxist thinker. Boddanov had a select but faithful following after 1917 in Soviet culture. His influence was erased in the Stalin era. Surprisingly, he was not rehabilitated by the new left in the west.

Our workshop will examine what the archive can tell us about the context of his work in the 1920s, the evolution of his philosophical framework before and after 1917, and the relevance today of his systems theory approach to both the natural sciences, social sciences and culture. This workshop is the first of what we hope will be an ongoing dialogue on Russian and Soviet philosophy culture and its western analogues at the New School.

Inessa Medzhibovskaya (The New School for Social Research)
Concepts and Theories of Resurrection in the Bolshevik-Marxist Aesthetics.
This presentation will address key elements of Bogdanov’s thought considered in direct exchanges and in imagined dialogues with Russian religious and Marxist philosophers, critics and ideologues of his era.
Evgeni V. Pavlov (Metropolitan State University of Denver)
Toward Cultural Liberation of Humanity:
Alexander Bogdanov’s Vision of the Future Proletarian Revolution.
Alexander Bogdanov’s influence in the matters surrounding the notions of “proletarian culture” and “cultural revolution” is indubitable. However, the specifics of his proposals, both in his early pre-1917 political activity and his later post-1917 cultural and scientific work, are still not fully explained and made available to the English-speaking educated public. The talk will trace the evolution of Bogdanov’s earlier views on the matter of political, economic and cultural revolution to the later reformulations of the various aspect of the future proletarian revolution in terms of universal organizational science.
McKenzie Wark (The New School for Social Research)
“And worsened the climate for decades.” Bogdanov, systems theory,
critical theory and climate change.
What strikes the contemporary (nonspecialist) reader of Alexander Bogdanov’s Red Star and Essays in Tektology is that in both these texts that wayward Marxist writes about climate change, and gets the scientific principles more or less right. This rather strange surface feature of his writings led me to wonder whether it might be possible to revive a road not taken in 20th century critical theory one that passes through Bogdanov’s Empiriomonism and Tektology, to addressing this most pressing issue of our time. Bogdanov’s work is of considerable interest in reconstructing the intellectual history of twentieth century Russian and Soviet life, but in this presentation I want to explore his relevance for our times.

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