Soviet Samizdat: Imagining a New Society – A Lecture by Professor Ann Komaromi

This week we are very pleased to have as our featured speaker a UW alumna (PhD in Slavic): Ann Komaromi. Prof. Komaromi will give a lecture on her recently-published book: Soviet Samizdat: Imagining a New Society.

“Soviet Samizdat: Imagining a New Society”

A lecture by Ann Komaromi , Professor in the Centre for Comparative Literature and Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Toronto

Thursday, November 9, 2023 @ 4:00-5:15 pm*

206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive

About the lecture: Komaromi will talk about the research associated with her book Soviet Samizdat: Imagining a New Society (2022). She will describe the process of pursuing archival research of underground (samizdat, or self-published) journals in a variety of collections at established institutions and in independent organizations. Komaromi will also discuss the interdisciplinary method of the study, spanning historical investigation and literary analysis, and reflect on the development of a critical perspective on samizdat, as developed in and through the materials surveyed. Samizdat facilitated the formation of imagined communities of readers through extra-Gutenberg communications. While the goals and styles of expression differed from democratic dissidents to the Jewish national movement, and from Leningrad poets to the fans of rock music, some common values and strategies characterized these varied groups, creating a positive basis for grassroots renewal of society and culture in the Soviet Union.

About the speaker: Ann Komaromi is professor in the Centre for Comparative Literature and in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Toronto. Her research has focused particularly on late Soviet culture, samizdat (underground publishing) and dissidence in the USSR. Her articles theorize the formation of alternative publics and epistemologies in samizdat, while attending to specific texts and groups. Komaromi is interested in the return of modernism and avant-garde in nonconformist and oppositional literary and art movements in the late twentieth century and beyond. Current projects include studies of dissident memoirs and archives and a history of Jewish activism in Leningrad.