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Socialist Culture Recycled
(Eastern Europe: from Disillusions to Nostalgia and Beyond)
June 25–27, 2021, St. Petersburg, The Institute of Russian Literature of Russian Academy of Sciences (Pushkin House)

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Conference Agenda

June 25, Friday, 9.00 – 19.00

Panel 1, 9.00 – 11.00,
«Cultural Recycling» as a Concept, Art, Everydayness
Chair: Alexander Panchenko

(Technical University of Munich)
“Nostalgia” or “Recycling”?:
Nostalgia as a form of critique
(University of Bucharest)
The Commodification of the
Socialist Past in Romania: Clubbing Promotion between “Retrofitting” and “Retromania”
Klavdia Smola
(University of Dresden)
Recycle Art? Recycling Socialism in Recent Russian Art

30-minutes Break

Panel 2, 11.30 – 13.30,
Cinema & TV
Chair: Arkadiusz Lewicki

Anna Svetlova
Culture heroes of late socialism and their
representations in modern Russian culture
Erik Vlaeminck
(Independent Researcher)
& Qiwen Wu
(Independent Researcher)
Reimagining Soviet Rock
Masculinity in Kirill
Serebrennikov’s Leto
(University of Łódź)
Re-makes and re-interpretations.
Life of Hans
Kloss in Polish culture after 1989

1-hour Break

Panel 3, 14.30 – 16.30,
Chair: Alexander Panchenko

Jānis Oga
(The Institute of
Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia)
Latvian Novels from the 1970s and 1980s: Publications after the Collapse of the
Soviet Union
Timothy Attanucci
Gutenberg University of Mainz)
Recycling Critical Theory:
Post-Socialist Melancholia in W.G.
Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn (1996)
Bradley А. Gorski
(Georgetown University in
A Soviet Author for Post-Soviet
World Literature

30-minutes Break

Panel 4, 17.00 – 19.00,
Monuments & Architecture
Chair: Piotr Zwierzchowski

Antony Kalashnikov
(NRU Higher School of Economics; The University of Alberta)
Totalitarian Heritage and Cultural Recycling: The Case of Stalinist Monuments
Andres Kurg
(Institute of Art
History, Estonian Academy of Art)
Interventions in Socialist
Architecture, 1970-1980
Julie Deschepper
(Kunsthistorisches Institut in
Florenz (Max-Planck- Institut))
Recycling Constructivism:
Marketing for Preserving or
Preserving for Branding?
Barbara Dudás
(The Institute of
Art History, Research Centre for the Humanities, ELKH in Budapest)
Hungarian Socialist Murals and
Tapestries Recycled. The Case of Gyula Hincz

June 26, Saturday, 9.00 – 19.00

Panel 1, 09.00 – 11.00,
Literature & Language
Chair: Susanne Frank


(Belarusian State University)
The Soviet Literary Institutions in Modern Belarus: an Attempt to Return
Kapitolina Fedorova
(Tallinn University)
Language ideology as a post-Soviet legacy: The case of Estonia
Andriej Moskwin
(University of Warsaw)
Textbooks on Belarusian
Literature: Creating a New Canon
or a Return to “Sovietism”
Valery Vyugin
(The Institute of
Russian Literature of Russian
Academy of Sciences;
St. Petersburg State University)
How to Heal the History?
(Contemporary Russian Fiction
from the Perspective of the Literary Awards)

30-minutes Break

Panel 2, 11.30 – 13.30,
Architecture, Monument, Museums
Chair: Susanne Frank

Nadezhda Vikulina
(Incoming PhD student at
the Department of Slavic Literaturs
and Languages, Harvard
Contemplative Sign for the
Potential Demise: A Look at the
Abandoned Soviet Garden Cities
Valentyna Kharkhun
(Nizhyn Mykola Gogol State
Leninopad: Rethinking the History & Recycling the Monuments in
Antonia Došen & Petra Milovac
(The Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb)
Museological interpretations of
socialism in Croatia today
Sylwia Nehring
(The professional museologist)
Disillusions and Nostalgia in
Museums of Communism in Poland

1-hour Break

Panel 3, 14.30 – 16.30,
Cinema & Theatre
Chair: Piotr Zwierzchowski

Elin Parkman Smirnova
(Uppsala University)
Nation and memory in Russian
cartoons of the 21st century
Toni Juricic
(Durham University, UK)
Decadent Socialism as the Belle
époque: Recreating the Cultural
Memory of Yugoslavia within the
Fictional Microcosmos of Black and White World
Maria Polakowa
(The Laboratory for drama and theatre studies in Central and Eastern Europe, Warsaw University)
Neon Reality by Pavel Pryazhko
Thomas Fritz Maier
(Higher School of Economics in
Continuous Discontinuities:
Recycling the Village Prose genre in Roman Senchin’s Zona zatopleniia (2015)

30-minutes Break

Panel 4, 17.00 – 19.00,
Music, Performance, Fragrance
Chair: Lyuba Bugaeva

Olga Mesropova
(Iowa State University)
Negotiating Soviet Nostalgia,
Musical Memory, and Format Adaptation: Russian Televised Singing Contests of the New Millennium
Mark Lipovetsky
(Columbia University)
Dressing the Soviet in Drag:
Vlad Mamyshev-Monroe’s “Soviet”
Hans J. Rindisbacher
(Pomona College in Claremont)
Beyond Regime Change:
The Persistence of Fragrance,
«Красная Москва»
Tyler Adkins
(Princeton University)
The Bricolage of Yesterday: Soviet Objects and Post-Soviet Infrastructures in Altai Republic

June 27, Sunday, 9.00 – 19.00

Panel 1, 09.00 – 11.00,
Cinema, TV & Music
Chair: Lyuba Bugaeva

Arkadiusz Lewicki
(University of Wrocław)
Nostalgia for Youth? Images of the 1980s in Contemporary Polish Cinema
Aleksei Semenenko
(Umeå University)
The Lapenko Phenomenon:
Mythmaking through Recycling
Vadim Mikhailin
(Saratov State University)
Recycling of a Dead Genre?
New Start for a (Post)Soviet School Film
Piotr Zwierzchowski
(Kazimierz Wielki University)
Criticism and Nostalgia: Citizens’s Milicia in Contemporary Popular

30-minutes Break

Panel 2, 11.30 – 13.30,
Cinema, Anthropology, Everydayness
Chair: Arkadiusz Lewicki

Lyuba Bugaeva
(St. Petersburg State University)
Mythology and Totalitarian Past:
Alexander Sokurov’s Perspective
Ksenia Golovina
(Toyo University)
Unexpectedly “Soviet:” Housing in
Japan and Material Practices of
Post-Soviet Migrants
Veronika Pehe
(The Institute for Contemporary History of the Czech Academy of Sciences)
Velvet Retro: Popular Culture and
the Czech Memory of the pre-1989 Past
Maria Engström
(Uppsala University)
Queering the mainstream:
Alexander Gudkov and cultural
recycling of the Soviet 80s

1-hour Break

Panel 3, 14.30 – 16.30,
Chair: Valery Vyugin

Irena Sentevska
(University of Arts in Belgrade)
Four Decades of Recycling the
Images of Socialist Past: The Case of Laibach
Monica Puglia (Sassari University)Low Intensity Ideology: the Case of Offlaga Disco Pax
Antonio Grgić
(The Institute of Architectural
Theory, Art History and Cultural
Studies TU Graz)
Retrotopia Through Music:
Reutilization of Forgotten
Yugoslav Socialist Monuments as
Musical Instruments for
Participatory Concerts in Public
Daria Zhurkova
(The State Institute for Art Studies
in Moscow)
Pop-musicians of the Past in
Contemporary Biopics: Integration of Western and Eastern Dramatic

30-minutes Break

Panel 4, 17.00 – 19.00,
Remix (Music, Cinema, The Internet, Literature, Everydayness)
Chair: Valery Vyugin

Rita Safariants
(University of Rochester)
Raising the Dead: Rock Music in
Contemporary Russian Cinema
Ola Siebert
(Université du Québec à Montréal)
Different Forms of Nostalgic
Expressions in Online
Communities: German Ostalgia and Polish «Post-peasant» Nostalgia
Philip Decker
(Princeton University)
Exploring the (Post-)Soviet
Underworld in the SCP Foundation
Maya Nadkarni
(Swarthmore College)
Nostalgia and Hungary’s Remains
of Socialism
Organizing committeeClosing

Conference Programme in PDF

Organizing committee

Contact Info: Valery Vyugin scr.conference@gmail.com valeryvyugin@gmail.com

Call for Papers

June 25–27, 2021, St. Petersburg, The Institute of Russian Literature of Russian Academy of Sciences (Pushkin House)
Moved from June 2020, due to COVID-19.

The popularity of Soviet ‘retro-culture’ in post-Soviet society is a passionately debated topic in current studies addressing the situation in Russia of the 1990s – 2010s. But equally impressive is the fact that a comparable fascination with the socialist past is observed even in those European countries that had the socialist order imposed upon them immediately before or after World War II.

In the specialist literature, which grows ever larger, such admiration is typically interpreted in terms of revanchism, trauma or nostalgia (Boym 2001, Cooke 2005, Oushakine 2009, Rezanova 2011, Todorova and Gille 2012, Etkind 2013, Pehe 2016). We believe, however, that these well-established approaches are not able to exhaust the problem. Indeed, their very familiarity can produce predictable outcomes.

The aim of the proposed conference is to provide a fresh view of the socialist retrotopia. To do this, we suggest the idea of cultural recycling (Moser 1993, Brian and Villeneuve 2002, Dika 2003, Klucinskas and Moser 2004, Kalaga and Kubisz 2008, Kendall and Koster 2007, Chardin 2012) as an alternative starting point for its exploration. Despite the fact that, in general, cultural recycling is a widespread metaphor with a more than half-century-long history, it is used very limitedly in post-socialist studies, at least in Russia (Vasilyeva 2013, Luehrmann 2005, Dobrenko 2015). Nevertheless, there are perhaps at least two self-evident benefits from addressing it. First, this is an umbrella concept which covers a variety of methods, including the above-mentioned revanchism, trauma and nostalgia studies. Second, it places a strong accent on the migration of cultural (political, ideological, aesthetical, moral, etc.) values, with time, from the centre to the periphery of public attention, to oblivion, and, after a certain period, back in the other direction. The latter is exactly what has happened with socialist heritage in the last three decades.

The widest spectrum of cultural practices (from arts such as literature, theatre, cinema, music, painting, architecture to the aesthetics of everyday life) in their relation to the idea of recycling are expected to be discussed at the conference.

We especially encourage participation from specialists from Eastern Europe who wish to focus on the situation with ‘legacy culture’ of this kind in their home countries; their contribution the joint discussion of the observed strategies of re-utilisation of the past will be particularly valuable.

Topics for submission include but are not limited to

– cultural recycling of socialist art heritage (literature, cinema, theatre, music, painting, sculpture, architecture, etc.);
 – cultural recycling as an ideological and political instrument;
– retro-culture and new media technologies (innovations in video- and audio technologies, cable television,  the Internet);
– the Soviet past for sale: recycling and marketing;
– re-utilisation of the Soviet heritage from the perspective of poetics, narratology, memory studies, trauma studies, nostalgia studies, cultural trash studies, etc. 

We invite proposals for presentations of 20-minute duration.
The working language of the conference is English.
Due to COVID-19, the conference will be held virtually.
Please, submit an abstract (up to 300 words) and short bio (up to 100 words) by January 20, 2021 to scr.conference@gmail.com.
Notifications of acceptance will be sent no later than February 10, 2021.


Chardin, Jean-Jacques. 2012. The déjà-vu and the Authentic: Reprise, Recycling, Recuperating in Anglophone Literature and Culture. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Dika, Vera. 2003. Recycled Culture in Contemporary Art and Film: the Uses of Nostalgia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kalaga, Wojciech, Marzena Kubisz, and Jacek Mydla, eds. 2008. Repetition and Recycling in Literary and Cultural Dialogues. Częstochowa: Wydawnictwo Wyższej Szkoły Lingwistycznej.
Kendall, Tina, and Kristin Koster, eds. 2007. Other Voices 3 (1). Cultural Recycling [Special Issue].
Klucinskas, Jean, and Walter Moser, eds. 2004. Esthétique et recyclages culturels: explorations de la culture contemporaine. Ottawa, Ont: Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa.
Moser, Walter. 1993. “Recyclages culturels. Élaboration d’une problématique.”In La Recherche littéraire : Objets et méthodes, Sous la direction de Claude Duchet et Stéphane Vachon. Montréal, Québec: XYZ, 1993: 433-447.
Neville, Brian, and Johanne Villeneuve, eds. 2002. Waste-site Stories: The Recycling of Memory. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press.
Dobrenko, Evgeny, 2015. “Recycling of the Soviet.” In: Russian Literature since 1991, edited by Dobrenko, Evgeny, and Mark Lipoveckij: 20-44.
Luehrmann Sonja, 2005. “Recycling Cultural Construction: Desecularisation in Postsoviet Mari El.” Religion, State & Society 33 (1): 35-56.
Vasilyeva, Zinaida. (2013). “Où sont les restes du communisme? Recyclage de la mémoire soviétique dans les expositions et les œuvres d’art.” A contrario 19 (1), 53-67.
Etkind, Aleksandr. 2013. Warped Mourning: Stories of the Undead in the Land of the Unburied. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.
Oushakine, S. and E. Trubina. eds. 2009. Travma: punkty [Trauma: Points] Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie.
Boym, Svetlana, 2001. The Future of Nostalgia. New York, N.Y.: Basic Books.
Cooke, Paul, 2005. Representing East Germany since Unification: From Colonization to Nostalgia. Oxford: Berg.
Pehe, Veronika, 2016. Socialism Remembered: Cultural Nostalgia, Retro, and the Politics of the Past in the Czech Republic, 1989-2014. Thesis (Ph.D.) UCL (University College London), 2016.
Rezanova, Zoia, 2011, ed. Nostal’giia po sovetskomu [Nostalgia for The Soviet]. Tomsk: University of Tomsk.
Todorova, Marija Nikolaeva, and Zsuzsa Gille. eds. 2010. Post-Communist Nostalgia. New York: Berghahn.