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Regular version of the site

Russian and Italian Intellectuals Speak a Common Language

In late May Moscow hosted a Russian-Italian research conference marking the anniversary of the birth of Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce. The conference entitled 'The Legacy of Benedetto Croce in the 21st Century' was organized by and held at the HSE's Humanities Faculty in conjunction with the Italian Cultural Institute in Moscow.

Croce's work has had a significant impact on philosophy and cultural studies. As a critic, literary and art historian, and as the creator of his own aesthetic theory, he was one of the most influential figures in the humanities in modern times. As a politician and public figure who defended the principles of freedom, reason, and human worth, he found himself at the center of intellectual battles of the last century. He had a profound influence on the aesthetics of Russian thought in the first third of the 20th century.

The conference in Moscow not only demonstrated participants' very real interest in the philosophical thought of one of Italy's best known thinkers of the last century, it also showed how beneficial opportunities like this are for the exchange of ideas between experts from different countries and in setting out the prospects for collaboration between researchers from HSE and universities in Italy.  International participants included: Giuseppe Bedeschi, Professor at La Sapienza University, Rome; Corrado Ocone, from the LUISS University of Rome; Professor Paolo Bonetti from the Cassino University and Urbino University, among others.

Corrado Ocone, from the LUISS University of Rome shared his impressions:

'I was most impressed by the fact that I was in Moscow, at the prestigious National Research University HSE, and found an entire host of Russian intellectuals of various ages who are studying and who are intimately acquainted with the oeuvre of Benedetto Croce. It is to the initiative taken by the director of the Italian Cultural Centre in Moscow, Olga Strada, that the 150th anniversary of the birth of this Neapolitan thinker, who is sadly still much overlooked in our country, was marked by a two-day Russian conference drawing numerous who devoted profound analysis to a number of aspects of his work.'

Professor Paolo Bonetti from the Cassino University and Urbino University commented:

'I have nothing but positive impressions of the Italian-Russian conference dedicated to Croce. I was extremely impressed by my Russian colleagues’ serious approach and the wide scope of the information they used to study the theme of Croce and the Italian philosophical tradition as a whole, starting from Vico. The historical perspective of certain papers was especially interesting, and demonstrated the deep link between historical knowledge and philosophical understanding, one of the fundamental aspects of Croce’s thought. I was also pleasantly surprised by the young, keen and well-prepared researchers who participated in the conference, who gave us hope that interest in Italian culture and history is being revived in Russian culture. I hope that this Italian-Russian study of Croce organized by the HSE Faculty of Humanities with the support of the Italian Institute of Culture in Moscow will promote greater mutual understanding. We Italians, should also be more interested in contemporary Russian thinkers and study them more closely.'


Rosalia Peluso, PhD, specialist in theoretical and moral philosophy from the Federico II University of Naples described her participation in this conference as a 'significant event' and looks forward to further collaboration with Russian discussion participants.

Olga Strada, Director of the Italian Institute of Culture in Moscow, one of the organizers of the conference, also noted how apt and promising the prospects are for international cooperation between researchers:

'There were positive write-ups of the conference in the Italian press and also, following the two days of work we saw interest in inviting Russian researchers to the upcoming symposium organized by the Benedetto Croce Library Foundation in Naples.'

Anna Chernyakhovskaya, HSE News Service 

I have nothing but positive impressions of the Italian-Russian conference dedicated to Croce. I was extremely impressed by my Russian colleagues’ serious approach and the wide scope of the information they used to study the theme of Croce and the Italian philosophical tradition as a whole, starting from Vico. The historical perspective of certain papers was especially interesting, and demonstrated the deep link between historical knowledge and philosophical understanding, one of the fundamental aspects of Croce’s thought. I was also pleasantly surprised by the young, keen and well-prepared researchers who participated in the conference, who gave us hope that interest in Italian culture and history is being revived in Russian culture. I hope that this Italian-Russian study of Croce organized by the HSE Faculty of Humanities with the support of the Italian Institute of Culture in Moscow will promote greater mutual understanding. We Italians, should also be more interested in contemporary Russian thinkers and study them more closely.

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