EUTIM Annual Conference Thu 15 Sep 2022 – Sat 17 Sep 2022

Time Out of Joint: Literary (Re)Visions of Time in Eastern and Central Europe

Image: Bohdan Tokarskyi

From 15 till 17 September 2022, the second EUTIM Annual Conference “Time Out of Joint: Literary (Re)Visions of Time in Eastern and Central Europe” will take place at Potsdam University. The event is curated by Alexander Wöll, Principal Investigator at EUTIM with the Focus theme “Small Literatures and Neighborhood”.

This conference will explore literary imaginations of time in Eastern and Central Europe in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. At the centre of this investigation will be the pregnant notion of “non-simultaneity”, which calls into question the many assumptions commonly attached to time such as: that it is distributed equally, that it unfolds in a linear fashion, that the progression of time inevitably engenders progress and brings closer the future, and that the past remains behind. In this conference, we seek to problematise these ideas by focusing on the literatures of Eastern and Central Europe and regarding the temporalities that they offer in their own right.

The region’s unique history of political and aesthetic experiments, ideologies and utopias, dissidence and revolutions, rise and fall of empires and the transformation of nations provides a particularly valuable ground for the study of time-related disparities. The communication – of political power, culture, languages – between political centers and perceived peripheries, between East and West is most often considered in spatial terms. Yet the distance between them, above all the distance of experiences, brings about significant temporal asymmetries, which merit deeper examination.

The events of the most recent and even ongoing history, such as the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas, which has now turned into Russia’s full-blown horrifying war against Ukraine, the mass elation and the subsequent brutal repressions in Belarus, the neo-Stalinist turn in Russia, serve as painful reminders that “the end of history” is not in sight and that the questions of (neo)imperialism and national identity are far from being irrelevant. As the farthest cry from the current reality one reads Fredric Jameson’s shortsightedly optimistic proposition that “we no longer are encumbered with the embarrassment of non-simultaneities and non-synchronicities. Everything has reached the same hour on the great clock of development or rationalization”.

The recent historical events have unequivocally shown that for Eastern and Central Europe, especially the present is firmly steeped in the past: In tradition and cultural heritage, but also in archaisms, unresolved traumas and incomplete projects such as modernism brought to an abrupt end through political violence. Rather than flowing smoothly, time shrinks and accelerates, breaks and heals.

This conference seeks to explore, through the analysis of Belarusian, Czech, Crimean Tatar, Jewish, Polish, Ukrainian and other texts, how literature articulates these perceptions and transformations of time, and what themes, aesthetic strategies and genres the prose, drama and poetry from this region employ and bring to the fore. What place is reserved for postmodernist irony, moral relativism and dissolved subjectivity? How much room is there for the sublime, transcendence, ethical urgency and the pursuit of authenticity?

Instead of seeking to smoothen out temporal ruptures, discrepancies and continuities, and bringing them to the “the same hour”, this conference will place them at the focus of inquiry, studying the very time difference and temporalities that arise from the experiences in Eastern and Central Europe – not as a deviation from a “normal” course of history, but rather as a temporal modality of its own.

Venue: Senate Hall (Senatssaal) of the University of Potsdam, Campus Neues Palais, Haus 9, Room 1.03

Conference Program

Thu 15 Sep 2022

Registration & Coffee

Opening Remarks

Annette Werberger (European University Viadrina, EUTIM Director)

Alexander Wöll & Bohdan Tokarskyi (both University of Potsdam and EUTIM)

A Time for Transcendence: Narrative Time after Postmodernism

Raoul Eshelman (University of Munich)

Coffee Break

Ukrainian Chronoschisms: Subversive Temporalities in Sophia Andrukhovych’s Writing

Vitaly Chernetsky (University of Kansas)

Coffee Break

Collective Present and Future in Belarusian Poetry: Before and After 2020

Ulyana Veryna (University of Oldenburg)

Lunch at the UP Canteen

“Time Has Melted”: Poetic Articulations of Soviet Temporalities in the Brezhnev Era

Bohdan Tokarskyi (University of Potsdam, EUTIM)

Coffee Break

Colonial Times: Literary Representations of the “Fountain of Tears” of Bağcasaray (Bakhchisarai)

Rory Finnin (University of Cambridge)

Walk through Sanssouci Park

Dinner at Maison Charlotte

Fri 16 Sep 2022

Models of “Vertical Time” in Recent Belarusian Literature

Gun-Britt Kohler & Kristina Kromm (University of Oldenburg)

Coffee Break

“Countries of Degraded Form”? How Witold Gombrowicz and Ziemowit Szczerek Play with Historical (Auto)Stereotypes

Aleksandra Konarzewska (University of Tübingen)

Coffee Break

Televisual Deconstructions of (Stalinist) Ideology and the Return of the Religious in Andrzej Wajda’s Film “Man of Marble”

Fabian Erlenmaier (University of Potsdam, EUTIM)

Lunch at the UP Canteen

Changes of Time in Selected Novels of Jáchym Topol (from City Sister Silver to A Sensitive Person)

Andrea Králíková (Charles University, Prague)

Coffee Break

Walk to the City Center

Belarusian Literature Evening

with Alhierd Baharevich, Yulia Tsimafeyeva, Artur Klinau, Thomas Weiler, moderated by Tatiana Klepikova (University of Potsdam)

Dinner at Ristorante Da Vinci

Sat 17 Sep 2022

Ukrainian War Poetry

Alexander Wöll (University of Potsdam, EUTIM)

Coffee Break

 

“А перад гэтым… а пасля”. Time Gaps and Time Ruptures in Ukrainian and Belarussian Poetry since 2014

Mariya Donska (University of Graz)

Closing Remarks by the Conveners

Lunch at Augustiner im Bürgerbahnhof (Sanssouci Train Station) / Snacks at Café Caroline (Neues Palais Visitor Center)

Annual Meeting of the German Association of Ukrainian Studies (Deutsche Assoziation der Ukrainisten)

Hybrid Event, Senatssaal, Haus 9, University of Potsdam