Call For Papers: Making the New Man

Conference “Making the New Man” St Petersburg University, May 16-18, 2019. 

Abstract: The goal of the conference is to explore the fantastic visions of, and the actual experiments in, “making the new man” in one particular setting – the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. The revolutionary transformations of 1917 boosted scientific fantasies of engineering human evolution, and the young Soviet republic of the 1920s and 1930s became a stage for astounding experiments in medicine, biology, psychology, pedagogy, literature, art, and cinema, all aimed at exploring the possibilities of making the “new man”. By focusing on the first forty years of the twentieth century, the conference hopes to uncover continuities and discontinuities in elaborating the concept of the “new man” across the customary divide of the Great War and 1917 revolutions, as well as to explore similarities and differences between the concurrent Russian/Soviet and other/Western visions of the “new man”. By combining the perspectives of different disciplines, the conference seeks to examine the continuous interaction and cross-fertilization among major cultural domains (natural and social sciences, theater, education, literature, medicine, religion, cinema, and the fine arts) in the construction of the new man. Of primary interest are the mechanics and dynamics of interconnections between the biomedical visions, and actual experiments, of perfecting human beings, on one hand, and the expression and transformation of these visions and experiments in literature, cinema and the arts, on the other.

Topics relevant to the conference include (but are not limited to):

  • Western visions of the new man as reflected and/or transformed in Russian/Soviet science and literature;
  • The mechanisms of human evolution in Russian/Soviet thought;
  • The construction units of making the new man;
  • The dualities of the new man: biology and sociology, nature and nurture, inborn and learned, body and mind, normal and pathological in various cultural forms and practices (from clinics to novels and from movies to laboratories);
  • The dreams and realities of proletarian culture and proletarian science;
  • Eugenics, bourgeois and proletarian pro-creation of the new man: sex, love, marriage, family, and children;
  • The new biological man on canvas, stage, and screen;
  • “Biomechanics” and “psychotechnics” of the new man.

Guidelines for Submission 

If you are interested in presenting a paper at this conference, please send a 300-500 word-long abstract and a brief biographical statement to the following address: new_man@spbu.ru

The deadline for proposals is October 20th, 2018. Decisions will be announced on November 1st, 2018.The working languages of the conference are Russian and English

For the full call for papers see: https://networks.h-net.org/node/73374/announcements/2092439/making-new-man-scientific-and-artistic-experiments-russian