New Directions in the Humanities: International conference in Budapest, June 19 – 21.

Our Centre for Humanities Innovation team will travel to Budapest this week to participate in the COLLOQUIUM:

New Paradigms in the Humanities and the Transformation of the Literary

Assessments of how new relationships between humanities disciplines, and indeed a new humanities, can be forged on the basis of a new concept of the literary will be discussed here.

The Colloquium will include the introduction on the Centre’s activities by Centre’s director Prof. Mikhail Epstein, as well as brief presentations on the tasks and the future of the humanities followed by an open discussion.

Gerald Moore. The Third Culture Humanities Network: Theses for a Provisional Manifesto

Caitríona Ní Dhúill. Technologies of Self–Inscription

Nick Roberts. Is there a single author in this room?

Alastair Renfrew. The Transformations of the Literary

Mikhail Epstein. The Transformative Humanities: What, How and Why to Transform?

June 19, 13.05 – 14.45. Room 7.

See details:

http://thehumanities.com/the-conference

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Centre for Humanities Innovation opening reception and mini-conference

You are cordially invited to the Centre for Humanities Innovation opening reception and mini-conference.

http://www.dur.ac.uk/chi/

The Centre aims to foster intellectual creativity in research and to encourage the creation of new ideas, concepts, terms, paradigms, mental schemes, and other products of intellectual imagination, as well as to develop collaboration between the humanities and natural and social sciences.

Date: May 16th, 2013

Time: 4:30 pm – 6:30pm, with reception to follow

Location: Senate Suite, University College (Castle)

 

The event will include the introduction on the Centre’s activities by Centre director Prof. Mikhail Epstein, as well as brief presentations on the tasks and the future of the humanities, followed by an open discussion. We are delighted to welcome Prof. Julian Reiss from the Centre for Humanities Engaging Science and Society (CHESS) to chair the discussion. The presentations will be as follows:

Gerald Moore: The Third Culture Humanities Network: Theses for a Provisional Manifesto

Caitríona Ní Dhúill: Technologies of Self-Inscription

Nick Roberts: Is There a Single Author in this Room?

Mikhail Epstein: The Transformative Humanities: What, How and Why to Transform?

The evening will conclude with a buffet reception.

The event is open to all, but as seating in the Senate Suite is limited, please reserve your place by e-mailing Ms Jennifer Nelson no later than May 14th at j.e.nelson@durham.ac.uk.

Centre Russkii Mir opened at Durham University

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On April 23 2013 at Durham University in Northeast England a new Russian Center was officially opened at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. The Center in Durham was named after Sergei Averintsev, the distinguished Russian philologist and cultural historian. Professor Mikhail Epstein shared his recollections about Mr. Averintsev and assessed his contribution to the humanities.

On April 23 2013 at Durham University in Northeast England a new Russian Center was officially opened at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

The Russian Center in Durham was named after Sergei Averintsev, the distinguished Russian philologist and cultural historian. Professor Mikhail Epstein shared his recollections about Mr. Averintsev and assessed his contribution to the humanities.

Mikhail Epstein on Sergei Averintsev:

The task of Russkii mir is to open Russia to the world. The name of Sergei Averintsev is the perfect symbol of such an openness, a symbol of the spiritual synthesis where the best of the West and the best of the East share both their Christian legacy and their aspiration for a humanistic and democratic future. 

Sergey Sergeevich Averintsev (1937 – 2004) was an outstanding Russian philologist, specialist in literary history and theory. For several decades, from the 1970s to the mid–1990s, he served as a senior researcher at the Institute of World Literature in Moscow. From the mid-1990s to his death he was a professor of Slavic Studies at the University of Vienna.

But who really was Sergei Averintsev? It would be easier to say who he was not. In the field of the humanities he was almost everything that a person can be: a philologist, a philosopher, a theologian, a cultural historian, a literary theorist, a translator, and a poet. He was a man of encyclopedic erudition that covered Greek and Roman antiquity, the New Testament, Middle East, Byzantium, European Middle Ages, classical Russian literature and philosophy, Russian Silver Age, and 20th c. Western literature and religious thought. He was a philosopher in the deepest dense, a seeker and lover of wisdom. As probably nobody in Russian humanities he interpreted cultural phenomena in multiplicity of their intertextual and intersdisciplinary projections. He was a most broadly thinking humanist but with a very firm standing in humanistic and religious foundations of Russian and European culture. His thinking was opposed to totalitarianism of any kind, be it communism or fascism, religious fundamentalism or technocratic pragmatism. His credo was a combination of faith and freedom. He could repeat after St. Augustine: “Believe in God and do what you want”.

Averintsev was born in 1937, in the year when Stalin planned to exterminate completely religion in the USSR and tens of thousands of priests were killed and tens of thousands of churches destroyed or turned into warehouses. Averintsev has done more than any other Russian intellectual to restore the connection of our contemporaries with the spirituality of the past thus opening the way to the spirituality of the future. Since the late 1960s, with publication of his articles in the five volume Phiolosophical Encyclopedia and his book The Poetics of Early Byzantine Literature(1977), he established himself, as they say in Russia, as vlastitel’ dum, the ruler of the minds of Russian intelligentsia. He reversed the relation between politics and culture in the minds of many intellectuals. Under Soviet regime, culture was believed to be a tool of politics. For Averintsev, politics was only one small segment of culture, inscribed in larger and spiritually more rich segments, such as literature and language, philosophy and theology. He can be considered, along with Mikhail Bakhtin, who belonged to a previous generation and whom Averintsev admired, a founder of Soviet and post–Soviet culturology, an integrative, multidisciplinary approach to culture.

Once Averintsev said: “The present is so important because through it the mysterious depth of the past and the mysterious breadth of the future reveal themselves through an encounter with one another”. Let this Averintsevian openness to the past and the future through the medium of the present be our guide in all our scholarly and teaching endeavors.