Alternative Culture Beyond BordersTheories of Culture and Alternative Culture: 'Alternative' East and West, 14-25 August, St. Petersburg
Summer Session 2007
The summer session gives resource faculty and participants the opportunity to investigate the major concepts and theories involved in the analysis of alternative culture. It does so in a way that allows participants to expand and enhance their scholarly knowledge of this area of research at the same time as they are actively involved in developing teaching methods, curriculum plans, and current and future research projects.
The course will include opportunities for participants to explore culture and alternative culture in St. Petersburg and to learn about alternative culture more globally through contact with their colleagues and the resource faculty. Throughout the course, participants will be given an opportunity to present their own ideas and interests in research and teaching, so that both resource faculty and their colleagues can begin to gain some insight into the wide range of approaches represented in this project.
Readings listed in the summer session will be made available on-line to participants in advance of the course. Participants will be expected to have done their best to work their way through the readings prior to the summer session. There are a large number of readings; these are intended to be resource materials for participants for the development of pedagogic approaches and the creation of new syllabi. Participants are expected to come to the summer session with materials related to their own research and teaching practice, and to have communicated with us about specific themes and topics they might wish to address.
WEEK ONE: 14-17 August
Day 1 - Tuesday, August 14
• Introduction and Overview of Course Logistics / Szeman and Zaslavskaya
• Participant and Faculty Introductions
• Opening Lecture: Alternative Culture Beyond Borders / Szeman, Uvarov and Seminar Resource Personnel
Jean Comaroff and John L. Comaroff, "Millennial Capitalism: First Thoughts on a Second Coming." Public Culture 12.2 (2000): 291-343.
• Opening Reception
Day 2 - Wednesday, August 15
• Seminar 1 – Culture Today: 'Post-Revolutionary Culture, East and West'
The moment of 1989 has frequently been equated with a moment that marks the "end of history." Rather than retreating into a defensive historicity, this claim challenges us to think critically about the formations of time and memory in relation to culture, as well as the shifting relationships between history and the conducts of politics, especially in "postsocialist," "postideological" times. What new modes of self-imagining/historical imaginations arise as 'culture' and 'identity' are increasingly becoming the basis for models of subjectivity and citizenship? How do we think about both 'official' and 'alternative' cultures in these transitional times? / Uvarov, Rethmann and Szeman
Barber, Benjamin. "Jihad vs. McWorld." in The Globalization Reader, ed. Frank Lechner and John Boli (Blackwell, 2004).
Bourdieu, Pierre. "Neo-liberalism, the Utopia (Becoming a Reality) of Unlimited Exploitation" in Acts of Resistance (New Press, 1998).
Canclini, Néstor García. "Introduction" and "Consumption is Good for Thinking" in Consumers and Citizens (Minnesota, 2001).
Huntington, Samuel. "The Clash of Civilizations?" in The Globalization Reader, ed. Frank Lechner and John Boli (Blackwell, 2004).
Szeman, Imre. "Culture and Globalization, or, The Humanities in Ruins." CR: The New Centennial Review 3.2 (2003): 91-115.
Yúdice, George. "The Expediency of Culture" and "Consumption and Citizen?" in The Expediency of Culture: Uses of Culture in the Global Era (Duke, 2003).
• Seminar 2 – The Changing Meanings of 'Alternativity'
In what ways has the idea of alternative culture changed over time? The changing meanings of alternativity from its origins through the major theories of ‘subculture’ to the present. We will want to consider in particular the ways in which these ideas and theories, developed in relation primarily to Western societies, apply to both Communist and post-Communist subcultures and countercultures in Central and Eastern Europe / Labov, Szeman, and Rethmann
From The Subcultures Reader, ed. Ken Gelder and Sarah Thornton (Routledge, 1997)
• Gordon, Milton M. "The Concept of Sub-Culture and Its Application." 
• Cohen, Albert K. "A General Theory of Subcultures." 
• Irwin, John. "Notes on the Status of the Concept Subculture." 
• Clarke, John, Stuart Hall, Tony Jefferson and Brian Roberts, "Subcultures, Cultures and Class." 
• Hebdige, Dick. "Subculture: The Meaning of Style." 
Frank, Thomas. "Why Johnny Can't Dissent" and "Alternative to What?" in Commodify Your Dissent (W.W. Norton, 1997)
O’Brien, Susie and Imre Szeman, "Subcultures and Countercultures," Ch. 8 of Popular Culture: A User’s Guide (Nelson, 2004)
Penderis, Marina. "Alternative Media a Need, And In Need." Helsinki: Inter Press Service, Sep 7, 2005. Other News
Albert, Michael. "What Makes Alternative Media Alternative?: Toward a Federation of Alternative Media Activists and Supporters – FAMAS." Z Magazine (1997), October.
• Participant Presentations:
1. Dzmitri Korenko: Ideology of Authoritarian Culture and Search for Alternative Political Communication (case of Belarus)
2. Ekaterina Taratuta: Mass Elitism Reloaded: Ways and Means of Social Alternatives
3. Gorkem Akgoz: Contesting Modernities: History, Historiography and
the Novel in Twentieth Century Turkey
• Individual Meetings with Faculty
Participants can use this time to discuss their ideas directly with resource faculty involved in the project.
Day 3 - Thursday, August 16
• Lecture by Dr. M. Uvarov "Between 'Shestidesiatniki' and Postmodernists: Russian Projects of Alternative Culture" (in Russian)
• Seminar 3 – Where is Samizdat Today?
Where can we find the equivalent of samizdat today? How do we find it? And how might we effectively teach it? The session will consider this question generally, but will also look at LiveJournal in Russia as a case study of a virtual site of alternative culture / Labov, Zaslavskaya, Szeman
H. Gordon Skilling, "Samizdat: A Return to the Pre-Gutenberg Era?" Cross Currents, Volume 1(1982), pp. 64-80.
Stephen Duncombe, Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture (London/New York: Verso, 1997).
Anna Poletti, "Self-Publishing in the Global and Local: Situation Life Writing in Zines." Biography 28.1 (Winter 2005) 183-192.
Shanthi Kalathil, "Dot-Com for Dictators." Foreign Policy 135 (March-April 2003), pp. 42-49.
Robert Darnton, "Censorship, A Comparative View: France 1789-East Germany, 1989." Representations 49, Special Issue: Identifying Histories: Eastern Europe Before and After 1989. (Winter, 1995), pp. 40-60.
Sergei Oushakine. "The Terrifying Mimicry of Samizdat." Public Culture 13.2 (2001): 191-241
Komaromi, Ann. "The Material Existence of Soviet Samizdat". Slavic Review 63.3 (2004): 597-618.
Yurchak, Alexei. Soviet Hegemony of Form: Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More. In Comparative Studies in Society and History, 45. 3 (2003): 480-510
Jankowski, Nicholas W. and Marieke Jansen. Indymedia: Exploration of an Alternative Internet-based Source of Movement News. Paper prepared for the conference Digital News, Social Change and Globalization. Hong Kong, December 11 – 12, 2003.
Berger, Stefan. Former GDR Historians in the Reunified Germany: An Alternative Historical Culture and Its Attempts to Come to Terms with the GDR Past , Journal of Contemporary History 1 (2003): 63-84
Barbara J.Falk. The Dilemmas of Dissidence in East-Central Europe. Budapest: Central European University Press, 2003, pp. 199-256
Eichwede, Wolfgang. "Europe and its samizdat". The Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen (ed.), Samizdat – Alternative Culture in Central-and East Europe from the 1960s to the 1980s, 2002.
Downing, John D. H. "The Independent Media Center Movement and the Anarchist Socialist Tradition." In Contesting Media Power: Alternative Media in a Networked World. Ed. Nick Couldry and James Curran. Lenham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003: 243-257.
Forrester, Sibelan, Magdalena J. Zaborowska, and Elena Gapova. Over the wall/after the fall: postcommunist cultures through an East-West Gaze. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004.
• Participant Presentations:
4. Anna Eremeva: Alternative Culture as a Space for Unofficial Communication under Socialism (Presentation of innovative course)
5. Balazs Bodo: Illegal libraries, underground archivists: the secret life of intellectual properties
6. Ksenia Poluektova: The semiotics of tourist/traveller in contemporary critical theory/cultural studies
• Research/Curriculum Session
Day 4 - Friday, August 17
• Seminar 4 - Theories of Culture 1: The Frankfurt School Now
Is cultural materialism a theory that makes sense in a Central/Eastern European concept? This class will focus on Adorno and Horkheimer's "The Culture Industry" and Walter Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" and consider the challenges of teaching them in different academic settings. / Labov, Rethmann and Szeman
Benjamin, Walter. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." In Illuminations (New York: Shocken, 1968)
Horkheimer, Max and Theodor Adorno, "The Culture Industry." Dialectic of Enlightenment (New York: Continuum, 1973)
Marcuse, Herbert. "The Affirmative Character of Culture." Negations: Essays in Critical Theory (Free Association Books, 1989)
• Seminar 5 – Theories of Culture 2: Post-War French Theory
This seminar will be organized around three canonical texts of French cultural studies: Michel Foucault, The Order of Things; Roland Barthes, Mythologies; and Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle. The focus will be on understanding how these approaches are significant for thinking about alternative culture / Labov, Rethmann and Szeman
Barthes, Roland. Mythologies trans. Annette Lavers, Hill and Wang, 1972 pp. 36-38; 53-65; 109-131.
Foucault, Michel. "Objective" and "Method" from History of Sexuality: Volume I (New York: Vintage, 1990).
Foucault, Michel. "Truth and Power." The Foucault Reader (New York: Pantheon, 1984).
Debord, Guy. "Separation Perfected" and "The Commodity as Spectacle." Society of the Spectacle (Zone Books, 1995)
Debord, Guy. Comments on Society of the Spectacle (New York: Verso, 1998) (Sections I-X)
• Participant Presentations:
7. Nadezhda Orlova: The Heritage of Russian theologians in emigration in light of the cultural traditions of twentieth century
8. Elena Golovneva: The phenomenon "sacral place" as a sample of existing of alternative culture: the case of non-traditional religious groups in Western Siberia
9. Anna Piotrowska: Gypsy Music in 19th and 20th Mainstream Musical culture
Weekend – Saturday, August 18 and Sunday, August 19
• Trips to St. Petersburg
• Cultural Activities, including Visit to Hermitage, Meeting with "What is to Be Done" Collective, etc.
WEEK TWO: 20-24 August
Day 5 - Monday, August 20
• Seminar 6 – New Cultural Forms 1: New Media and Alternative Cultures
What special challenges are involved in exploring forms of new media with respect to alternative cultures? New media for both research and teaching / Labov, Zaslavskaya, Rethmann and Szeman
Bolter, David and Richard Grusin, Remediation: Understanding New Media (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2000) (excerpts)
Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2002) (Chapter 1)
Pickerill, Jenny. 2007 (forthcoming). 'Autonomy on-line': Indymedia and practices of alter-globalisation. Environment and Planning A, forthcoming. [Final copy January 2006]
Szemere, Anna. Up from the Underground: The Culture of Rock Music in Postsocialist Hungary (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001) (excerpts) CEU
• Participant Presentations:
10. Hajrudin Hromadzic: Consuming Practices of Media Technologies in Contemporary Society
11. Heidi Johansson: Svennar + Blatter = Gringo?
• Seminar 7 – Theories of Culture 3: Mass Culture vs. Alternative Culture
How do we understand the relationship between mass culture and alternative culture? How does this understanding differ between East and West? What are the new possibilities and limits faced by alternative culture today? / Flatley and Petrovsky, Penzin
Adorno, Theodor W. "Culture Industry Reconsidered," in: The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture, ed. and intro. J.M. Bernstein (London: Routledge, 1991), pp. 98–106.
Buck-Morss, Susan. "A Global Counter-Culture?" in: Thinking Past Terror. Islamism and Critical Theory on the Left (London, New York: Verso, 2003), pp. 63–74.
Flatley, Jonathan. "Warhol Gives Good Face: Publicity and the Politics of Prosopopoeia," in: I, ed. Jennifer Doyle, Jonathan Flatley (Durham and London: Duke UP, 1996), pp. 101–133.
Horkheimer, Max and Theodor W. Adorno. "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception," in: Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. John Cumming (New York: Continuum, 1973) pp. 1–24
Jameson, Fredric. "Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture," in: Idem. Signatures of the Visible (New York, London: Routledge, 1992), pp. 9–34.
Kracauer, Siegfried. "The Mass Ornament," in: Idem. The Mass Ornament. Weimer Essays, trans., ed., and intro. Thomas Y. Levin (Cambridge, Mass., London: Harvard UP, 1995), pp. 75–86.
Ohmann, Richard. Selling Culture (New York: Verso, 1998) (excerpts)
Warner, Michael. "The Mass Public and The Mass Subject." In Craig Calhoun, ed., Habermas and the Public Sphere (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993): 377-401.
Marcuse, Herbert. "The Affirmative Character of Culture," Negations (Boston: Beacon Press, 1968): 88-133.
Lenin, Vladimir. "What is to be Done?"
• Participant Presentations:
12. Aleksandra Kleschina: Some Aspects of Introducing Intercultural Communication Studies in the Contemporary Russian University
13. Camelia Craciun: Minorities' (Ethnic) Cultures as Alternative Culture
14. Gyorgy Tury: The (Cultural) Impact of New Capitalism on the ECE Region (with special emphasis on Hungary)
Day 6 - Tuesday, August 21
• Presentation by Dr.Alexei Penzin, "Contradictions of Alternative Cultures: Theory and Experience"
This presentation will examine foundational theoretical tensions in the practice and theory of alternative cultures and avant-gardes with respect to their aim to transform existing society through the affirmation of their autonomy. Specific attention will be paid to the experiences of the ‘new left’ intellectual and cultural scene of Moscow and St-Petersburg in recent years.
• Seminar 8 – New Cultural Forms 2: Visual/Media Studies and Alternative Cultures
A session exploring the Soviet underground and its transformations (including conceptual art, visual poetry and the like). There will be special emphasis on theoretical issues, namely how we define both visual studies (the subject of the discipline) and alternative culture / Flatley and Petrovsky, Penzin
Literature: Bobrinskaya, Ekaterina. "Freeze Frame: Photography and Performance in Moscow Conceptual Art," in: Beyond Memory: Soviet Nonconformist Photography and Photo-Related Works of Art, gen. ed. Diane Neumaier (New Brunswick, N.J.: Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers; Rutgers UP, 2004), pp. 91–102.
Haensgen, Sabine. "Video, Archive, Storage: Moscow Performance Art in the Age of Digital Repetition [A dialogue between Sabine Haensgen and Andrei Monastyrski],"
Krauss, Rosalind. "Reinventing the Medium," in: Critical Inquiry 25 (Winter 1999), pp. 289–305
Nancy, Jean-Luc. "The Inoperative Community" and "Literary Communism" in The Inoperative Community (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991) pp 1-41, 71-80.
Podoroga, Valery. "Notes on Ilya Kabakov's 'On the Total Installation'," in: Third Text 65 (volume 17, issue 4, December 2003), pp. 345–352.
Sitar, Sergei. "Four Slogans of 'Collective Actions'," in: Third Text 65 (volume 17, issue 4, December 2003), pp. 363–368.
Tupitsyn, Margarita. "From Sots Art to Sovart," in: Flash Art, Russian edition, No. 1, 1989, pp. 171–173.
• Participant Presentations:
15. Nina Sosna: Communicative Images: the Shift in the Media Epoch
16. Helena Popovic: Audience Reception of Media Entertainment Programmes: Satirical Elements in Television Genres as a Tool of Social Critique
17. Natalia Melekhova: Reflection of Privacy in Television Discourse
18. Svetlana Polischuk: Art Photography in Belarus: In Search of History and Identity
Day 7 - Wednesday, August 22
• Lecture by Dmitry Vilensky, "Chto Delat? 4 years in 90 minutes"
All participants are asked to make their own research on the website www.chtodelat.org and to choose texts that are of special interest to them.
• Seminar 9 – Developing Curricula for Student Research
Strategies for developing courses that emphasize the development of student research skills. The course will focus on a case study: a year-long course in which undergraduate students collectively developed, implemented and carried out an original research project, which was later presented at an international conference / Szeman, Uvarov, Zaslavskaya, Petrovskaya, Flatley
• Lecture by Dr. Tatyana Vereshchagina, "Alternative Culture as Form of Displaced Knowledge" (part 1, in Russian)
Day 8 - Thursday, August 23
• Seminar 10 – New Cultural Forms 3: Contemporary Photography
Photography as a form of alternative culture, East and West / Flatley, Petrovsky, Szeman and Whiteman
Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida. Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Hill and Wang [Farrar, Straus and Giroux], 1981).
Baudrillard, Jean. "It Is the Object Which Thinks Us..." in: Idem. [A l’horizon de l’objet] Photographies 1985–1998, Peter Weibel (Hg.) (Graz: Hatje Cantz Publishers, Neue Galerie Graz, 1999), pp. 144–152.
Benjamin, Walter. "A Short History of Photography," in: Classic Essays on Photography, ed. Alan Trachtenberg (New Haven, Conn.: Leete’s Island Books, 1980), pp. 199–216.
Bourdieu, Pierre. "The Social Definition of Photography," in Visual Culture: The Reader ed. Jessica Evans and Stuart Hall (London: Sage Publications, 1999). pp. 162-180.
Crimp, Douglas. "The museum's old, the library's new subject" in Visual Culture: The Reader ed. Jessica Evans and Stuart Hall (London: Sage Publications, 1999). pp. 213-223.
Flusser, Vilém. "The Distribution of Photographs," in: Idem. Towards a Philosophy of Photography, trans. Anthony Mathews (London: Reaktion Books, 2000), pp. 49–56.
Kracauer, Siegfried. "Photography," in: Idem. The Mass Ornament. Weimer Essays, trans., ed., and intro. Thomas Y. Levin (Cambridge, Mass., London: Harvard UP, 1995), pp. 47–63.
Krauss, Rosalind. "Photography's discursive spaces" in Visual Culture: The Reader ed. Jessica Evans and Stuart Hall (London: Sage Publications, 1999). pp 193 – 210.
Petrovsky, Helen. "Boris Mikhailov: A New Metaphysician,"
Tagg, John. "Evidence, Truth and Order: a means of surveillance" in Visual Culture: The Reader ed. Jessica Evans and Stuart Hall (London: Sage Publications, 1999).
• Lecture by Dr. Tatyana Vereshchagina, "Alternative Culture as Form of Displaced Knowledge" (part 2, in Russian)
• Participant Presentations:
19. Yuriy Vulkovsky: The independent art-sector in Bulgaria
20. Svetlana Chashchina: Reflections on "globalization" and "alternativeness" in the development of art and design of the second half of XX century
21. Ksenia Golovko: Philosophical and Anthropological Aspects of Creative Subject of Postmodernism
22. Alisa Prudnikova: Reality of Moscow the Great and decentralisation of a cultural authority: the view from the Europe-Asia border
Day 9 - Friday, August 24
• Seminar 11 – Theories of Culture 4: The Humanities and Alternative Cultures
What impacts have alternative culture had on the academy itself? This session explores the relationship between the university and alternative cultures, looking closely at the changing roles of both in the globe today / Flatley and Petrovsky
de Bary, Brett. "Against Transparency," in: Do the Humanities Have To Be Useful? (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 2006), pp. 35–39.
Derrida, Jacques. "The future of the profession or the university without condition (thanks to the "Humanities," what could take place tomorrow)," in: Jacques Derrida and the Humanities: A Critical Reader, ed. Tom Cohen (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001), pp. 24- 57.
LaCapra, Dominick. "The University in Ruins?" in: Critical Inquiry 25 (Autumn 1998), pp. 32–55
LaCapra, Dominick. "What Is Essential to the Humanities?" in: Do the Humanities Have To Be Useful? (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 2006), pp. 75–85.
Karl Marx, from The Marx Engels Reader "Alienation and Social Classes" pp 133-135 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, the final section, pages 603-617
Readings, Bill. from The University in Ruins (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1996), "Introduction," "The Idea of Excellence," "The Decline of the Nation State," and "The University and the Idea of Culture," pp 1-53, 62-69.
Singerman, Howard. "Excellence and Pluralism"
Spivak, Gayatri "Can the Subaltern Speak?" from Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture ed. Cary Nelson.
• Concluding Roundtable Discussion
A review of the summer session with an eye towards inter-session activities and the structuring of Summer Session 2 in 2008.