Session Submission Summary

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New Approaches to Czechoslovak Dissent

Mon, November 25, 10:00 to 11:45am, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Floor: 4, Pacific D

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

The study of Czechoslovak dissent has mostly concentrated on the usual suspects: Václav Havel, Pavel Kohout, the Plastics, etc. However, the story of dissent covers a much broader cast of characters, not defined as merely a local, male phenomenon of the post-war generation. This panel attempts to push against the prevailing trends in the study of dissent by examining the complicated roles played by gender, the younger generation, and international connections. Jan Matonoha (Ústav pro českou literature/Charles University) will discuss the exclusion of gender in dissent, using theory from both Judith Butler and Wendy Brown. His talk will analyze Havel’s “Anatomy of Resistance” with its problematic account of feminism. Daniel W. Pratt (McGill University) will turn to the second generation of dissent, focusing on their attempts to position themselves not only against the government but also against the previous generation of dissent. His talk revolves around the brothers Jachym and Filip Topol who became major figures in the 1980s underground in Prague. Brian Goodman (Arizona State University) will expand the scope of dissent to include authors living in the West, both American and Czech, who helped develop the so-called “grey zone” between dissent and collaboration. His presentation will look at how major figures such as John Updike and Kurt Vonnegut played a role in the efforts to help the imprisoned leaders of the Jazz Section.

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