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Poetic Geographies of Revolutionary Russia: Mapping Russian Place-Based Identity with Digital Humanities

Fri, November 6, 4:00 to 5:30pm, Virtual Convention Platform, Room 4

Session Submission Type: Roundtable

Affiliate Organization: ASEEES Digital Humanities Group

Brief Description

Attachment to place—knowing where we belong—is one of the ways in which we know who we are. In Russia the years of war and revolution (1914-1922) triggered rapid transformations in Russians’ understanding of their national identity and their definitions of and attitudes toward the idea of a “homeland.” This process became particularly visible in the imaginative literature produced between 1914 and 1922 by ordinary Russians, literature that lends itself to a new understanding of the broad patterns of place-based identity in this turbulent time.

Our roundtable on “Poetic Geographies of Revolutionary Russia” continues the discussion of the 2020 Slavic DH group pre-conference workshop on the University of Virginia project on Mapping Poetic Geographies of Revolutionary Russia. The project uses a set of DH tools to examine a large corpus of 600 literary works by 75 writers written between 1914 and 1922 for patterns of place-based consciousness. The central analytical tool is called a “place-based concept” (PBC), which is a kind of tree that connects up to five different components to each spatial image appearing in the corpus—these are place type, place scale, political leaning, feeling/ attitude to place, and time. The website and database aim to give researchers and students a much more nuanced view of Russian place-based identity, well beyond the established stereotypes of West vs. East, Russia between Europe and Asia, center vs. periphery, capital vs. province.

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