The Intellectuals on Contemporary Humanities Disciplines
The Congress 100th Anniversary of Russian Formalism (1913-2013) is being held by the leading Russian humanities centers, including the Higher School of Economics and Russian State University for the Humanities on August, 25-29, 2013, in Moscow.
The Congress Chairman is Vyacheslav Ivanov (Moscow State University, University of California, Russian State University for the Humanities), keynote speakers include John Ellis Bowlt (University of Southern California),Catherine Depretto (Paris Sorbonne University),Aage A. Hansen-Love (Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich) Eero Aarne Pekka Tarasti (University of Helsinki)
The 20-year-old Viktor Shklovsky's historic lecture, "The Place of Futurism in the History of Language," at the St. Petersburg art cabaret "The Stray Dog" in December 1913, is considered the beginning of a new literary theory, Russian Formalism. The message of the report was later put in writing in his first theoretical work, "Resurrection of the Word" (1914), which, together with his second keynote article entitled "Art as Device" (1917), became the manifesto of OPOYAZ (Society for the Study of the Poetic Language ). These days, the international significance of the Russian formalist school is undisputed.
The methods of Russian formalism influenced a much wider range of disciplines than that described by Shklovsky in his very first pronouncement. In the beginning Shklovsky concentrated mainly on literature as an independent form of art. But later, as early as 1928, his colleagues (in particular, Roman Jakobson and Yuri Tynyanov) began consistent dissemination of new methods of analysis of literature and of culture in general.
Fleeing from the Nazi and other totalitarian regimes, Roman Jakobson first moved to Prague, then to Scandinavia, and finally to New York; during these enforced travels, he continued making major contributions to both the organization of new schools and the promotion and development of the basic principles of the formal study of the language of culture. Jakobson's activity led to the recognition of linguistics as a discipline and to the "Linguistic Turn" in the social sciences in the mid-20th century and the emergence of the interdisciplinary paradigm of Structuralism.
The impact of Russian Formalism on the 20th century humanities is immense and yet requires consideration, particularly when we think of its heritage in relation to recent scholarship that challenges or even denies formalism in the broad sense. However, attempts to use languages resembling that of formalism have been made in different fields of research.The aim of the Congress is to trace the influence of formalist intellectual thinking on contemporary humanities disciplines, to re-evaluate the interdisciplinary potential of the formalist method, and to define the movement's place in 20th-century intellectual history.