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SEFER Programs


The Сoncept of Borders in Slavic and Jewish Cultural Tradition

(December 6-8, 2023, Moscow, Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky Prospekt, 32A, room 901)

The Сoncept of Borders

Dear colleagues, we invite you to participate in the annual conference, which is the part of a long-term project on the comparative study of Jewish and Slavic cultures. The conference The Concept of Borders in Slavic and Jewish Cultural Tradition will be the twenty-seventh in a series of annual meetings of scholars working on the international project "Slavic Culture and Jewish Culture: Dialogue, Similarities, Differences" since 1995. This project is carried out by the Center for Judaic-Slavic Studies of the Institute of Slavic Studies, RAS in collaboration with various scientific and public organizations interested in cultural dialogue.

In recent years, researchers have shown a significant increase in interest in linguistic, ethno-cultural, ethno-confessional, and sociological processes characteristic of border regions, as well as in the tendencies of transforming linguistic and mental stereotypes reflecting the experience of centuries-old coexistence, in the mentality of the frontier and its linguistic means, linguistic, ethnographic, and sociological aspects of interaction between different cultural traditions.

The border in cultural texts is not only a spatial marker but also an essential element associated with the concepts of "own" and "foreign" space. Taking into account the centuries-old experience of ethno-cultural coexistence between Slavs and Jews, within the framework of the stated theme, we propose to discuss issues related to the exploration of geographical, linguistic, cultural, and social space, problems of overcoming cultural, linguistic, and mental boundaries, mechanisms of formation and destruction or overcoming of boundaries (both physical and symbolic).

The conference's thematic scope covers a wide range of issues: the border as an element of the linguistic and mental worldview; the phenomenon of an "open" border that becomes more of a line of cultural attraction between neighboring traditions rather than a demarcation line; forms of cultural contacts and antagonism of traditions on the cultural border; the formation of boundaries within society (communities, subcultural and religious communities; borders between religious and secular); symbolic boundaries between this and the other world (temporary boundaries in the folk calendar system and traditional rituals, boundaries between the human world and the world beyond, dangerous "foreign" space) as an element of the cultural code, their materialization in cultural symbols and reflection in the language of culture; going beyond one's own space and ways of exploring "foreign" space (breaking and transforming cultural stereotypes, adaptation of elements of another culture, etc.); mechanisms of influence on violators of established boundaries (prohibitions and prescriptions, traditional rituals of condemnation and censure); genres of literature and folklore (from ancient times to the present) that reflect the concept of a boundary and its perception in different eras (traveling, pilgrimages, visions, legends, mythological narratives, etc.); speech genres that shape the concept of a boundary in cultural texts (oaths, curses, proverbs, formulas of expulsion and intimidation - enemies, diseases, mythological characters, harmful creatures, etc.).

The conference is interdisciplinary in nature, and papers from historians, philologists, folklorists, ethnographers reflecting comparative aspects of the problem are welcome.

Please send your applications, topics, and abstracts (up to 500 words) by November 1, 2023

Apply now

The selection of participants will be conducted by November 15, 2023.

The organizers will consider the option of holding presentations via Zoom for out-of-town participants. The organizing committee does not have the possibility to cover travel and accommodation expenses for out-of-town participants. The conference materials are planned to be published in the annual journal "Slavic Culture and Jewish Culture: Dialogue, Similarities, Differences" (Scopus). Conference languages: Russian, English.

We would be delighted to see you at the conference - as speakers, discussion participants, and guests!

Sefer Team

Svetlana Amosova  (ISS RAS)

Olga Belova  (ISS RAS)

Irina Kopchenova (ISS RAS, Center "Sefer")

Victoria Mochalova  (ISS RAS, Center "Sefer")