Call for papers 2013

The Dostoevsky Journal: An Independent Review, Special Issue on “Dostoevsky and the Creation of an Intellectual Tradition,” to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Søren Kierkegaard, whose philosophy is foundational to European Existentialism, to which Dostoevsky’s oeuvre has also been linked at least since Walter Kaufmann’s famous book, “Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre.”

Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky, together with Nietzsche, are the progenitors of an intellectual tradition which links art and philosophy into an aesthetics of modernity which becomes the philosophical context for European Modernism and the artistic avant-gardes of the 20th century.

Papers are invited on a broad range of philosophical and aesthetic topics which link Dostoevsky to the tradition of Kierkegaard’s philosophy or to its 19th and 20th century echoes in the artistic and literary canons of Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia (Japan and China in particular).

Of particular interest will be analyses in which Dostoevsky’s artistic and/or publicistic texts are read with or against the texts of European and Russian Modernist writers or the European and Russian Modernist philosophers, semioticians and psychoanalytic theorists. The latter may include (but not be restricted to) C. S. Peirce, Heidegger, Husserl, Wittgenstein, Freud, Lacan, Florensky, Fyodorov and V. Solovyov. The topics covered might be Dostoevsky’s “pochva” (soil) and Heidegger’s “Erde,” Solovyov on love and Dostoevsky’s representation of desire, Fyodorov’s resurrection of the fathers by the sons and Dostoevsky’s Oedipal ‘dramas’, Kierkegaad’s unrepresentable “reflective grief” and Dostoevsky’s “little pictures” (chertochki) as paths to the hidden contents of thought.

 Papers should be minimum 5,000 and maximum 10,000 words (including footnotes). Papers may be in English or Russian. They should be set out according to the journal’s Style Guide, available in the Information for Authors section on the journal’s website, Submissions should be made online, by 1st August 2013. The refereeing process (double blind) will take 2 months. The accepted papers will be published online and in hard copy by December 2013.

The new double volume of The Dostoevsky Journal: An Independent Review (2012) is now available on line and in print to subscribers. Click here to view the Table of Contents:

The latest issue of Transcultural Studies: A Series in Interdisciplinary Research (2012) is now available on line and in print to subscribers. Click here to view Table of Contents:


Post-Yugoslav and Slovenian Culture in Slavic Research

Post-Yugoslav Literatures and Cultures

Slavic Studies maintains strong research links with the literatures, languages and cultures of former Yugoslavia:

  • Staff: Associate Professor Vladiv-Glover’s monographs Lyrical Drama in Slavic Modernism [Lirska drama slovenskog modernizma], (Belgrade:“Prosveta,”1997); Postmodernism from Kiš to the Present [Posmodernizam od Kiša do danas], (Belgarde: “Prosveta,” 2003); Poetics of Realism: Dostoevsky, Flaubert, Tolstoy [ Poetika realizma: Dostojesvki, Flober, Tolstoj], (Pančevo:”Mali Nemo,” 2010).
  • Graduate (PhD) students:  Milan Orlić (PhD candidate), who is writing on the narrative structure of the Serbian novel (Modernism and postmodernism), and who is a co-editor of the Special Issue on “Transcultural Directions in Slavic and Comparative Literature (Graduate Issue),” Transcultural Studies: A Series in Interdisciplinary Research, Vols. 6-7 (2010-2011) 2012, 215 pp.; Zdravka Gugleta (PhD candidate), who is working on Serbian and World poetry (Vasko Popa and Charles Simic) and who has published on “Edward Dennis Goy, “The Escaped Mystery – the Poetry of Momčilo Nastasijević,” Transcultural Studies: A Series in Interdisciplinary Research, Vol. 8 (2012):197-203; Lara Jakica (PhD candidate), who is working on the uses of folk mythology in contemporary Serbian cultural discourse and who has published “The Problem of Resurrection of Kosovo Mythology in Serbian Popular Culture,” Transcultural Studies: A Series in Interdisciplinary Research, Vols. 6-7 (2010-2011) 2012:150-157.


Slovenian Literature and Culture

  • Research in Slavic Studies includes the new literature (in English translation and Slovene) of post-communist Slovenia. This is a developing cultural region of the “new Europe” which is already producing some excellent work of relevance to cultural studies in general. For an example, see Andrej Blatnik’s short story. Also, read Andrej Blatnik’s biography.


Iconotheca Valvasoriana

  •  This is a new research collection consisting of a facsimile edition of rare European art prints from 15th to 17th centuries, collected by the Austrian-Slovenian polymath and scholar Baron Johann Weichard von Valvasor during his travels between 1659 to 1672 in Europe. It consists of 7,752 prints and drawings by a pantheon of master artists of Europe, among them: Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Rembrandt van Rjin, and many others prominent Austrian, Carinthian, Dutch, English, Flemish, French, German, and Italian artists. This first edition is a publication arranged exactly as Valvasor himself organized it over 300 years ago, according to theme, technique and nationality of the authors.
  • The facsimile was published in 2008 by the Janez Vajkard Valvasor Foundation at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
  • The collection Iconotheca Valvasoriana was handed over to the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne on 27 September 2010 by the Minister for Slovenes Abroad of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr. Boštjan Žekš.
  • Now in the Metropolitan Library of Zagreb, the original Collection is part of the Croatian State Archives. It is held in the Department of Prints and Drawings of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts as the major collection of old graphic and drawings in Croatia. It contains works of all the significant graphic artists of Europe of the period. Bishop Aleksandar Mikulić purchased the collection in 1691, together with Valvasor’s library of 1520 books for the Archiepiscopal Library of Zagreb.
  • This original research material is open to postgraduates who wish to write an MA or a PhD thesis on a topic related to Valvasor or his collection.


For further information contact:

Associate Professor Millicent Vladiv-Glover



“Socialist Realism and Nationalism in Music, Literature and Film”



Report on

Special Section

 “Socialist Realism and Nationalism in Music, Literature and Film”

Convenor: Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover (Slavic Studies, Monash U)

The 11th Biennial Conference of the Australasian Association for Communist and Post-Communist Studies (AACaPCS), “Communist and post-communist societies: domestic, external, and transnational challenges,” University of Tasmania, Hobart, February 7-8, 2013.

            The Special Section featured five panels with a total of 14 presentations by scholars from Australia, China, USA and UK.  The first key-note speaker in the Section’s Plenary Session was Catharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy (Barnard College, Columbia University), with “Case Studies in the Formation of the Soviet Internationalist Empire: the Ballet as Nation Building.” Professor Nepomnyashchy discussed the role of the Ukrainian ballet Pan Kanevskii (1931), the Uzbek ballet Cotton (1933), the Georgian Ballet Mzechabuki (1936), the Azeri ballet Maiden Tower (1940), the Belarusian ballet Nightingale (1940), and the Kyrgyz ballet Cholopon (1944) in context of the Soviet internationalist political project in which “Orientalism” and “Occidentalism” played a role. 

            The second keynote speaker was Zhao Yonghua (Institute for Journalism, Rinmin Chinese National University, Beijing), who gave a Chinese perspective on the role of the Western media in the process of the “colour revolutions” in the CIS.

            The panel on Nationalism, Sotsrealism and Popular Culture” featured Lara Jakica (Slavic Studies/German Studies, Monash University) on “The Resurrection of the National Kosovo Myths in Contemporary Serbian Popular Culture.”  The issue of how Kosovo mythology influenced Serbian national ideology and continues to do so in cultural and political life in Serbia today raised questions about the (mis)use of history and mythology in political propaganda. Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover’s (Slavic Studies, Monash University)  presentation on “The Socialist Realist Poetics of Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev : Comparisons with Dziga Vertov’s Constructivism” revised the accepted view that Tarkovsky’s film ends in transcendence; instead, it claimed that the film conformed to a Socialist Realist ethics of work and nardonost’ (populism), cast in a binarism of conflict and resolution of the artist’s crisis of productivity, against a backdrop of Russian medievalism constructed as myth. Svetlana Tishchenko’s (Slavic Studies, Monash University)  paper on  Boris Akunin’s film , Шпион [Spy], based on Akuniin’s eponymous novel, treated the Socialist Realist devices in both works against the question of whether this was aesthetic play (“a joke”) or nostalgia for the stability of a  by-gone Soviet era of certainties.

            The panel on Sotsrealism in Music and Aesthetics featured a presentation by Julie Waters (Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash U) on the British self-declared Socialist Realist composer, Alan Bush and the impact of the 1948 Prague Composers’ Congress on the British Composers’ Guild, which was facilitated by Bush’s mediation and political engagement.  The questions in the discussion concerned the possible reaction to  ‘McCarthyism’  amongst left-wing British composers after World War II, and intersections between the radical politics of these composers and their interest in a revived  folk aesthetics without nationalist or  middle class connotations. The paper by Joel Crotty (Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash U) addressed the contemporary paradox of historical Socialist Realism in Romanian music in the current European climate. It claimed that Communist cultural artefacts are currently displayed in Romania for a variety of purposes, from the pedagogical to the kitsch but that there is a reluctance to treat Socialist Realist music seriously in the academic context, where it is relegated to a passing reference in the literature. Dr Andrew Padgett’s (Monash College) paper on “Reading Socialist Realism in Music through What was Condemned: The Case of Shostakovich” focused on interpreting Dmitri Shostakovich’s 4th and 5th symphonies in the context of the emergence of musical Socialist Realism in the mid-1930s. This met with lively debate between the musicologists and critical theorists as to the function and meaning of irony in Shostakovich’s work. This discussion opened up new perspectives on the dialectical nature of musical Socialist Realism and its links to the emergence of Russian postmodern culture in the perestroika and post-Communist periods.

            The panel on Sotsrealism, Nationalism(s) and Transcultures featured a paper by Lian Kun (School of Liberal Arts, Renmin University of China,Beijing) on “The Revision and transformation of the concept of „sotsrealism” in China,” which gave new insights into how this imported Soviet aesthetics played itself out on Chinese writers and intellectuals. The paper disclosed that a large stock of so-called “red classics” were translated from Russian into Chinese and that Chinese literature and culture paid a heavy price for the half century of domination of the Socialist Realist aesthetics to which they were subjected. Zdravka Gugleta (Slavic Studies, Monash U), who presented on the “National and Transnational Interpretations of  Vasko Popa’s  Poetry,” made the point, contra the ‘nationalist’ readings of Popa’s  works,  that his aesthetics displays an “integralism” due to the interconnectedness of his individual poetic works, which requires a work-immanent reading of his opus as one text. Nikolai Gladanac (Comparative Literature, Monash U) presented on “The Failure of (National) Identity as the Condition of Subjectivity in the Diary of Witold Gombrowicz,” claiming that Gombrowicz’s Diary (1953 – 1969),  is, amongst other things, a running argument with the ad hoc strictures of Socialist Realism. In a manner similar to Fernando Pessoa’s “The Book of Disquiet” or Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “The Writer’s Diary,” Gombrowicz employs a theatricalised, shifting persona, augmented through the playfulness of form, to examine social and ethical questions grounded in the encounter between the concrete indeterminacy of subjectivity and the historical life world. The lively discussion triggered by the theoretical underpinnings of these claims about the subversion of (national) identity through the non-socialist-realist literary canon centred around the question of whether Bakhtin’s seminal work on Dostoevsky, with its emphasis on the workings of language and structure in Dostoevsky’s fiction, can continue to serve as a starting point for Dostoevsky and literary studies in general. Opinion was divided between those with an affirmative view and those who, echoing the impatience prevalent in the late eighties and early nineties with the saturated (mis)appropriation of Bakhtin’s writings, believed otherwise. The latter maintained a position in line with 1980s-1990s critics, such as Yuri Kariakin, Joseph Frank and Natasha Reed, who argued for an implied “authority principle” in Dostoevsky’s writings and the concomitant importance of theme and story in interpretations. Those in favour of continuing with Bakhtin as a theoretical starting point agreed that his model needed augmentation. It was felt, however, that this did not necessarily involve content analysis but rather a re-examination of the question of violence and representation in Dostoevsky’s writings. This discussion on principles of theoretical approaches to literature distilled the work of the entire Special Section on the method of Socialist Realism which still resonates in mainstream academic writing on cultural text (as an echo of a Western Marxism or a ‘traditional’ separation of art into form and content) in East and West.

            The panel on Nationalism(s) Re-visited featured a paper by Costica Bradatan (Arizona State Universtiy/Texas Tech University, USA) on “Philosophical Nationalism: the History of a Bad Idea,” which focused on the historical role and revival in the 1990s of three Romanian philosophers of the interwar period or the “golden age” of Romanian culture (Cioran, Noica and Eliade), despite the fact that these offered ideological support to the fascist Iron Guard.  The result was an upsurge of nationalism amongst post-Communist followers of these ‘fashionable’ philosophers. The discussion centred on the larger context of Eliade’s political involvement in interwar Romania, about the significance of Cioran’s political writings (whether he really meant what he wrote), as well as about Ianosi’s aesthetic theory. The paper of Michael A Nicholson (Emeritus Fellow, University College, Oxford) on “Teleology and Nationalism: Solzhenitsyn in the 1940s” raised the interesting new proposition that the ideological and aesthetic origins of Solzhenitsyn’s mature opus was to be sought in his (little known) early pre-incarceration and incarceration writings and literary projects. This small, but not insubstantial body of creative writings, which survives from the years of his sentence, prompts the question of whether his sense of how to write and how not to write is affected by the wholesale reappraisal and soul-searching of those years. Milan Orlic (Slavic Studies, Monash U) closed the Section with his paper on  “Ivo Andrić’s Universalism and the Subversion of the Idea of a ‘national’ Canon,” in which he posited that Andrić’s  concept of “universalism,” built into his literary work as poetics as well expressed through his non-fiction and theoretical writings, was based on his experience as a career diplomat, which allowed Andrić to develop the concept of a South Slavic identity (the so-called Yugoslav identity) as an essential part of the historical Slavic identity. Moreover, this Slavic identity became an integral part of a more complex and wider system of European historical and cultural identity reflected in Andric’s work, covering both Occidental Europe and its encounter with the Orient.

S M Vladiv-Glover

Slavic Studies, Monash University
































“The Serbian ‘nation’ in Miloš Crnjanski’s Trilogy Migrations (1928-1966)”Public Lecture by Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover

21 April 2013


Club Novi Sad

Ross House, Level 3, 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne 3000





Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover

Profesor slavistike i komparativne književnosti

Monash University


Problem srpskog “naciona” u trilogiji Seobe Miloša Crnjanskog: Seobe I


Milos Crnjanski (1893 Czongrad – 1977 Belgrade) je jedan od najznačajnijih pisaca medjuratne jugoslovenske književnosti (pored Andrića, Krleže i nadrealista u poeziji). Kniževni stil i poetika proze i poezije Crnjanskog su bili glavni uticaji u formiranju poselratnih srpskih pisaca, kao Danilo Kiš, Dobrica Ćosić, Gojko Djogo i postmodernista. Roman Seobe I (1929) je preveden na francuski 1986 (L’Age d-Homme), gde je dobio nagradu kao najbolji roman godine. Seobe I na engleskom su izašle kao Milos Tsernianski, Migrations. Transl. Michael Henry Heim (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P).

            Predavanje ce se osvrnuti na formu  romana kroz koju dolazi do izražaja tematika nacionalne sensibilnosti Srba u pograničnoj Krajini (Grenzgebiet) Austrougarske u 18. veku, koja je uopštena u vekovečni problem formiranja i raspada srpske nacije kao istorijskog entiteta.


Profesor Vladiv-Glover je specjalista za kniževnu teoriju i komparativni pristup analiziranja nacionalnih književnih kanona. Posebnu pažnju udeljuje dobu književne “moderne” (modernizma) od 1870’h -1930’h godina. Publikovala je šest knjiga i oko sto članaka i poglavlja u naučnim časopisima i monografijama. Medju ostalim, autor  je studije Lirska drama slovenskog modernizma (Beograd: Prosveta, 1997).




Andrej Blatnik

Andrej Blatnik was born on 22 May 1963, in Ljubljana, Slovenija, where he studied Comparative Literature and Sociology of Culture and got his Masters in American Literature. He started his artistic career playing bass guitar in a punk band, was a free-lanced writer for five years, and now he works as an editor in Cankarjeva, one of the biggest Slovenian publishing houses, and is on the editorial board of the Literatura monthly since 1984. He is one of the jury members of the Vilenica prize.

So far he has published two novels, Plamenice in solze (Torches and Tears, 1987) and Tao ljubezni (Closer to Love, 1996), and four collections of short stories: opki za Adama venijo (Bouquets for Adam Fade, 1983), Biografije brezimenih (Biographies of the Nameless, 1989), Menjave koz (Skinswaps, 1990) and Zakon zelje (Law of Desire, 2000). In addition to this, he published a collection of essays on contemporary American literature, especially metafiction, entitled Labirinti iz papirja (Paper Labyrinths, 1994), and a collection of cultural criticism Gledanje cez ramo(Looking over the Shoulder, 1996).

A short movie was made after one of his stories and another one was adapted into a TV drama. He wrote five radio dramas (one of them, Praske na hrbtu, was presented at the Prix Italia and translated in English and Hungarian) and translated several books from English, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles among them.

He won some major Slovenian literary awards (the award of the city of Ljubljana and Zlata ptica, the highest award for young artists, among them). Several of his short stories have been translated and published in magazines in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Hungarian, Russian, Polish, Slovakian, Croatian, Serbian, and Albanian, as well as in the anthologies The Day Tito Died (Forest Books, London and Boston 1993),Central Europe Now! (Archa Publishing House, Bratislava 1995), Nouvelles slovenes (Autres Temps, Marseille 1996), The Imagination From Terra Incognita(White Pine Press, New York 1997) and Afterwards (White Pine Press, Buffalo 1999).

The translation of his book Menjave koz was published in Spanish (Cambios de piel , Libertarias/Prodhufi, Madrid 1997), Croatian (Promjene koza, Durieux, Zagreb 1998) and English (Skinswaps , Northwestern University Press, Evanston 1998), and is forthcoming in German.Tao ljubezni was published in Croatian (Tao ljubavi, Meandar, Zagreb 1998) and Slovakian (Tao lasky, F.R. & G., Bratislava 2000).Labirinti iz papirja was published in Croatian (Papirnati labirinti, Hena-Com, Zagreb 2001) and Zakon zelje in German (Das Gesetz der Leere, Folio, Vienna 2001) and is forthcoming in Croatian and Hungarian in 2002.

Andrej Blatnik has read fiction in Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Georgia, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia and the USA (Poets’ House in New York City, Library of Congress, University of Iowa, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University, Northwestern University, Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco…) and contributed in conferences in Austria, Greece, Portugal, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Georgia, and the USA. He was a participant of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA, in 1993, and a guest at the International Writers Center at the Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA, in 1995, and Ledig House International Writers Colony in 1998. He received various fellowships, including Fulbright, the Austrian KulturKontakt fellowship, and a grant from Japanese government. He enjoys traveling, always on a shoestring.



Honours units

The honours sequence consists of any Slavic major sequence, undertaken at Monash University in the case of Ukrainian Studies, or at any other university in the case of Russian, or any other Slavic language, plus the Honours Subjects at fourth year level described below. The units are taken from the Centre of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, the Centre for European Studies and the Centre for Translation Studies.

The Honours Year consists of two 12-point units plus an Honours Thesis of 14,000-18,000 words on an approved Slavic topic. The CLS-coded units in critical theory prepare students for research in Slavic literature and culture topics (Russian, Ukrainian, the literatures and cultures of the former Yugoslav Republics).

For further information students may contact the coordinator of the Slavic Studies research discipline, Associate Professor S M Vladiv-Glover, on 9905 2256 or email:

For a list of available units, please see the Slavic Studies – Honours Area of Study handbook entry.

Honours prizes

Joseph and Eugenia Pona Prize

The Prize is offered by the Ukrainian Studies Support Fund in honour of Joseph and Eugenia Pona, benefactors of Ukrainian Studies at Monash. It is normally valued at $500 and is awarded to a student undertaking Fourth Year Honours in Slavic Studies with a thesis on a Ukrainian topic. The prize is awarded on merit as attested by the student’s academic record over the first three years of study. The award is made in March.

George Marvan Slavic Honours Prize

The Prize is offered by the Slavic Studies Program in honour of Professor George J Marvan, who was professor and chairman of the Department of Slavic Languages at Monash University between 1973 and 1993. Professor Marvan, a Prague linguist, has made a significant contribution to the development of the Slavic disciplines in Australia. In particular, he transformed the Department of Russian (established in 1962) into a Department of Slavic Languages at Monash University. The Prize is normally valued at $100 and is awarded to a student undertaking Fourth Year Honours in Slavic Studies. The prize is awarded on merit as attested by the student’s academic record over the first semester of Honours study. The award will be made in July. 


Post Graduate Research in Slavic Studies

Arts Faculty Information

Fields of research

The staff involved in the Slavic Studies research discipline conduct and supervise research in Slavic literary and cultural studies and in Slavic linguistics. Slavic staff have research interests in the areas of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, as well as European Studies.

Research in the field of literature focuses on Russian, Ukrainian, Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav topics. Special areas of supervision are: Russian Modernism, avant-garde cinema, F.M. Dostoevsky and L.N. Tolstoy in the context of European Realism and Phenomenology.

Linguistic research covers a wide spectrum of topics, both modern and historical, in Slavic and general linguistics, with special emphasis on contrastive linguistics and the morphology of contemporary Slavic languages. Supervision in this area is conducted in conjunction with Linguistic Studies in the School.

Members of staff and their special fields of interest

Slobodanka Millicent Vladiv-Glover

  • Comparative Literature in relation to Russian and other Slavic Literatures
  • F M Dostoevsky, L N Tolstoy and Critical Theory
  • Modernism, the avant-garde and Slavic Drama
  • Post-Yugoslav and Post-Soviet Literature
  • Bakhtin, Structuralism and Poststructuralism
  • Postmodernism in Slavic literatures

Marko Pavlyshyn

  • Contemporary Ukrainian Literature and Culture
  • Issues in Post-Soviet Culture
  • Slavic Cultures in Australia
  • Rhetoric

Master of Arts in Slavic Studies by research

For details, refer to the Arts Faculty information.


The MA is undertaken by thesis on a topic approved by the program. All students will be expected to report regularly to their supervisor throughout the year and are encouraged to attend postgraduate seminars and present papers on the subject of their research.

The MA thesis is normally 40,000 – 60,000 words in length and is written in English.

Entry requirements

Applicants will normally have an honours degree with a grade of H2A or above in the relevant discipline or the equivalent.

Prospective research students should refer to How to Apply. The first step is to complete the on-line Pre-Application Form.


The library

The Monash University library has a large collection of books in the literatures and cultures of the Slavic countries (especially Russia, Ukraine and the countries formerly comprising Yugoslavia) and in Slavic linguistics.

There is a well established inter-library loan system.

Research abroad

Staff involved in the Slavic Studies research discipline have links to universities and other scholarly institutions in Slavic countries and assists graduate students in making arrangements to conduct research abroad.

Further information is available on the School’s Graduate Studies (Research) page.

Doctor of Philosophy

For details, refer to the Monash University Handbook


Candidates with a masters degree or an honours degree with a grade of H1 or H2A, or the equivalent, may be admitted to PhD candidature. Applicants who have qualifications from countries other than Australia are normally enrolled in the MA by research degree, and may apply to upgrade to PhD after twelve months. Candidates are required to write a thesis on a topic approved by the program. The research programs of PhD candidates must lead to an original contribution to the study of language, literature or culture, and students will be encouraged to acquire a wide range of special skills ancillary to their subject.

A PhD thesis is normally 60,000 – 90,000 words in length and is written in English.

The first step is to complete the on-line Pre-Application Form.



National and International Links

International Links

Slavic Studies has established international research links. Its active projects with research partners are:

“The Postmodern Philosophy of M M Mamardashvili” – with Slavic Studies, Radbout University, Netherland and the International Mamardshvili Research Network

“The Phoenix of Philosophy: On the Meaning and Significance of Contemporary Russian Thought” – with Mikhail Epstein, Emory University, Atlanta

The International Dostoevsky Society – joint projects with fellow members, including Panon University, Vesprem, Hungary and University of St Petersburg, CIS.

National Links

Australasian Association  for Communist and Post-Communist Studies (AACPS)



Slavic Studies staff edit two international refereed journals:

Slavic Studies staff are involved in the editorial board of the high-profile international journal Studies in East European Thought (SEET), which is a SCOPUS journal. Slavic staff have also acted as guest-editors onSoviet and Post-Soviet Review which is also listed with SCOPUS.

Slavic Studies is also linked to the journal of the ANZSA (Australian and New Zealand Slavists Association):Australian Slavonic and East European Studies.

Other Slavic journals of interest:

East Central Europe

Russian History

Southeastern Europe

The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review


Slavic Studies Research Activities

Slavic Studies staff edit two international refereed journals:

Slavic Studies staff are involved in the editorial board of the high-profile international journal Studies in East European Thought (SEET), which is a SCOPUS journal. Slavic staff have also acted as guest-editors onSoviet and Post-Soviet Review which is also listed with SCOPUS.

Slavic Studies is also linked to the journal of the ANZSA (Australian and New Zealand Slavists Association):Australian Slavonic and East European Studies.

Other Slavic journals of interest:

East Central Europe

Russian History

Southeastern Europe

The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

Other Projects

War metaphors in contemporary English novels – Lyudmyla Antypenko A’Beckett (Adjunct Research Fellow)

Cultural associations of colour words in Russian – Anna Mostovaia (Honorary Research Fellow)

Poetry Translation – Zdravka Gugleta (PhD candidate)

Vygostky’s Model of Memory and the Teaching of Literature in the Language Classroom (LCNAU Project) – Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover

Cinematic Adaptations of the Russian, Italian and ex-Yugoslav Literary Canons (joint project with Italian Studies)

Transposition of Serbian Poetry into the Cinematic Medium (joint project with RMIT University Film & TV)


Contact Us

Honours Enquiries

Ms. Catherine Joseph
Room S427, +61 3 9905 2280

General Enquiries

  • General Office:
    Room S430
    Building 11 (Menzies Building)
    Clayton Campus
  • Post: 
    School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics
    Building 11 
    Monash University
    Clayton 3800


Home – introduction

Slavic Studies engages with research into Russian and other Slavic literatures, post-Soviet and post-Yugoslav studies, Russian and Slavic socio-linguistics and Russian, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian topics in Translation Studies.

Admission into Slavic Honours, or Slavic MA by Research, or MA by Course Work and 66% Research or a Slavic PhD requires prior knowledge of a Slavic language or, in the case of specialisation in Comparative Literature and Critical Theory topics, prior study in these areas.

Current and recent research areas in Slavic Studies, which reflect postgraduate research as well as staff research, are the following:

  • Poetics of Realism: L N Tolstoy, F M Dostoevsky in the context of Dickens and Flaubert
  • Drama: Chekhov and “intimate theatre”, “theatre of cruelty” (Artaud) and “absurd theatre” (Beckett)
  • Dialogicity (M Bakhtin, M Mamardashvili)
  • Slavic cinema: avant-garde and post-perestroika
  • Post-communist popular culture: the Russian detektiv novel, Slovak TV soaps and rock bands
  • Russian and Slavic socio-linguistics

Slavic Studies – Disciplines

Our Staff

Members of the Slavic Studies staff and their areas of specialisation and research

Return to:

Dostoevsky at World Literature Congress in Beijing

世 界 文 学 研 究 所 
Institute of World Literature

School of Foreign Languages, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, P. R. China

In collaboration with Zhao Baisheng, Professor of Comparative World Literature, Director of the Institute of World Literature, School of Foreign Languages, Peking University,  Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover co-organize a panel on “Dostoevsky as a World Writer” at the First Congress of the World Literature Association (established at Harvard in 2011), “The Rise of World Literatures”, Beijing, 30 June – 3 July 2011. The Panel included presentations by Sergei Shaulov (U of Bashkiria, Ufa, Russia), Irene Zohrab (Victoria U of Wellington), and Liang Kun (Renmin University of China).  Slobodanka was also a Plenary Speaker with a paper on “The Obsession with Money: Dostoevsky’s Arkady Dolgoruky  (The Adolescent) and the Birth of 20th century Virtual Culture.” Gayatri Spivak and David Damrosch were Keynote Speakers.

The conference venue was the beautiful campus of Peking University, the oldest and most elite university in China. The organisers did everything to make the 130 delegates from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, the Americas and Africa feel welcome, from the help with accommodation to the lavish food served at the conference lunches and the Congress Dinner. The life and soul of the whole conference mechanism was Professor Zhao Baisheng, Professor of Comparative World Literature and Director of the Institute of World Literature, School of Foreign Languages, Peking University. Professor Baisheng gave a warm reception to participants long before they arrived in Beijing, through his encouraging friendly and collegial emails and his perfect communication in English. The conference atmosphere was up-beat and spread a feeling of goodwill and optimism not only about the future of the Humanities but about world collaboration in culture in the age of globalisation. Difference – transmissible through translation – was valorised as a positive value and celebrated through the heterogeneity of world canons and theoretical approaches featured under the one roof: World Literature. The role of translation, “script worlds” and publishing in World Literature was highlighted through a large focus on these discourses in the conference presentations. It was a relief to see that the diachronic approach was not displaced by synchronic studies and that history still loomed large in the methodologies of World Literature.

The World Literature Association, inaugurated at Harvard University under the leadership of David Damrosch, whose published works provided a theoretical framework for the work of the First Congress, was launched at Peking University which hosted the First Congress. Future congresses will migrate to various universities around the world.
For me, the First Congress was a journey into the future – the future of knowledge in the 21st Century and the epistemological heritage of literature and its cognate discourses: philosophy of culture, critical theory, semiotics, phenomenology and many other subtexts of World Literature. At the opening of the Congress, the Chinese doyen of Comparative Literature, Professor Yue Daiyun, Director of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Studies at Peking University, and President of the Chinese Comparative Literature Association, stressed the “progress made in World Literature in the name of Comparative Literature,” with which it intertwines. She repeated this message throughout her speech.

Beijing is a city of monumental proportions yet somehow the people of Beijing make it very welcoming and human. I felt at home and at ease in this city although I can’t read or speak Chinese and not because “everyone speaks English.” Everyone does not speak English even if some speak it exceedingly well, especially children. I felt at home because this is the first conference I have been able to attend without jetlag: it is in “our region.” The flight is a straight line north, from Melbourne to Beijing, along the same longitude. No crossing of time zones – a boon for all Oz academics. The China of Beijing did not strike me as very different from the Australia of metropolitan Melbourne.



Report on 2011 field trip to Iran

(SLAVIC STUDIES MA External Candidate/LCL)

Angelina Saul

Maslenitsa [Shrovetide] in Iran
(A literary quest from Astrakhan, Russia, to Rasht, Iran)

You have still not understood that my word
Is a god howling in a cage.
- Velimir Khlebnikov (1885-1922)

“Khlebnikov?” “You’re travelling through two days of snow to honour a crazed poet? Are you all there?” These are the general questions I am faced with once I’ve explained, hesitatively, the reason for my two-day train journey from St. Petersburg to Astrakhan. Caught between misted frames, the wide expanse of Russia blasts past as I look through my notes and books on Khlebnikov, the unsteadiness of the countryside proving to be the perfect backdrop to my field trip.

The poetry of Velimir Khlebnikov is not an easy topic to chat about over sips of a strong cuppa with my fellow passengers. Khlebnikov is one of Russia’s most entrancing and ambiguous literary figures defying a neat title of classification: philologist, mathematician, ornithologist, dervish, and of course, poet. His immense and disorderly poetic oeuvre, his vigorous (and not to mention endless) essays on language, the future, mathematics, skybooks, Asiaunion, historical calculations and all sorts of odd-topics, led him to being called “The President of the Globe” and “King of Time” by his contemporaries.

The location of Astrakhan is crucial in terms of understanding Khlebnikov’s works. The poet’s hometown is a swirl of colour and rustic dilapidation – a breathing testament to the various cultures that invaded, traded or settled there. The director of the Khelbnikov Museum, Alexander Mamayev, gives me a guided tour of the city, pointing out and elaborating on the significance of  different ghettos, temples of faith, and historical monuments. As a port of trade nestled quite discreetly near the Caspian, it is a city which lends itself to history and multiculturism. In the essay “An Indo-Russian Union” Khlebnikov declared Astrakhan to be the centre and uniting force of three worlds, “the Aryan world, the Indian world, the World of the Caspian: the triangle of Christ, Buddha, Mohammed”. It is this variety of languages and cultures in Astrakhan that most likely incited the poet to delve into verbal experiments that explored the hidden meaning of phonemes, morphemes, lexemes, as well as completing a theory on the meaning of many consonants in the Russo-Slavic tradition. In his most heavily anthologised poem, “Incantation by Laughter”, the following whimsical effect of his explorations ensues:

Hlaha!Uthlofan Lauflings!
Hlaha!Uthlofan Lauflings!
Who lawghen with lafe, who hlaehen lewchly,
Hlala! Ufhlofan hlouly!
Hlala! Hloufish lauflings lafe uf beloght lauchalorum!

As the snow was beginning to fall along the Volga, I headed back to the library in the Museum of Khlebnikov. Stopping by the market for some evening tidbits of fruits, nuts and produce I have never seen before, the elasticity of Russian is laid bare, as tens of languages are added for richness. The usual boundaries of language seem to bend, leading me to question just exactly how much did Velimir invent, and how much he may have heard. I am left to my thoughts and research to mull over, although later on I note that several different languages were used in the one sentence in order to bargain.

In 1921, with the Red Army’s insurgence into the Gilan province of Iran, Khlebnikov decided to go along for the ride. Overlooking the fact that the region had been going through the turmoils of a revolution (the Red Army supporting the local revolutionaries, who themselves turned on the Soviets later on due to power struggles between the Soviets, British, Germans, and centralised government in Tehran), Khlebnikov wanted to fulfil his dream of ‘going East’, and so was a part of the Cultural contingent of the Red Army. As I am en route for Rashte from Tehran, I am reminded of Khlebnikov’s idealism and astonishment in this part of the world, where he writes of, “The smell of the night, these stars/ Are a wild inhalation in the nostrils/ as the water floats on a bed of  nails/ murmuring into foam”.

Mapping out Khlebnikov’s whereabouts in Iran ninety years on proves to be more complex than in Russia. Firstly, the history of the area has undergone several revolutions since there, and the preservation of history has suffered. The Russian influence in the area, although acknowledged, is rather poorly maintained. Secondly, the culture of enshrining history with a temple as in Russia seems to be something of an anomaly outside of Russia. Thirdly, like Khlebnikov, I have also arrived during difficult times. The tautness in the air could tune a violin, as more and more anti-government activities are taking place, as the hostility of people towards power is gaining momentum, and I have arrived several days prior to the ‘Day of Rage’.      

Despite this, I am able to note and explore some parts of the Russian and Soviet presences in the region, especially in the main museum of the region, in the architecture, even in some expressions in the local language. Students from the university are obliging and happy to translate all my questions, explaining and probing for more information on my behalf.

However, the finer details of Khlebnikov’s wanderings are inexplicable, as the cultural clubs where he read his essays, ‘The truth of time’, and ‘Fate in a mouse-trap’, are unknown. The exact location of the newspaper, ‘Red Iran’, where Khlebnikov published many poems, is also unknown. Having made contact via contacts with some Slavic professors at the University of Gilan to discuss my research, I am forbidden from entering the premises of the University, although I am told that they were expecting me. A day of wasted diplomacy ensues, toing and froing from one office to another, ending with a deflated dead end conversation with the Director of International Scientific Office, where I am told that the Slavic professors know nothing about this topic.

On the other hand, this is the fault of the poet too. Not many people knew of his whereabouts even then. He didn’t take his role in the Red Army seriously, and was instead occupied with writing, drawing, and philosophising in the local tea-houses, drifting about the countryside (the locals branding him as a ‘Russian dervish’), and endlessly taking an active role in being absent from his responsibilities. His life-style eventually drew the attention of the Cheka, an incident he also draws upon in one of his poems. Although wanting to stay, this ‘Rose-Mullah’ was forced to leave once the Soviets withdrew and made a peace treaty with Iran in 1921.

However, whether I was walking along the Volga in Astrakhan, or along the Caspian in Enzeli, I am not thinking of these stories and intrigues, or of the poet’s biography. Caught within the blustery storm moving in from the Caspian, I instead think of the lines:

Ra, who sees his own eye in the red rusty swamp water,
Envisions his dream and himself….
A thousand eyes, a thousand dots and pupils.

Characteristically, the poem captures the psychedelic and exuberant flux of the Khlebnikovian world of myth and history, where the Egyptian sun god is interconnected with the Volga, which in turn is connected to the rebel peasant, Razin, who in turn is connected to the kidnapping of a Persian Princess. It these genial-like abstractions of time and language that darkens my mood as I make my way back to Tehran the night before Tuesday’s ‘Day of Rage’, as I’ve come to the conclusion that I am no closer to me goal, and although it is not the Volga staring back at me, there is the ambivalence lurking in Khlebnikov’s words that are also in bewilderment in the face of my own bewilderment.

Adopting a Nitzchean tone, the poet suggested that with the hidden powers of language “we now extend our law over the abyss”. There is something utopic, grand, even frighteningly naïve in Khlebnikov’s desire to reform reality within human consciousness via language. As I am faced with several hundred (or is it thousand?), military forces near Tehran University the next day, the notion of reality being reformed strikes a chord. On the way to the theatre with a friend and a professor from the Foreign Languages Department, a hush falls over us as English, Russian, and I assume even Farsi, are not welcome at this very moment. Trying to look inconspicuous, we enter the student theatre to see Beckett’s play, ‘Act without words’, sadly apt given the clashes on the other side of the fence.

The picture of revolution Khlebnikov conjured up in Gilan, which was also a part of the local Iranian New Year festivities (Nawruz), was something to be seen to be celebrated, as

Again, we are in the first days of humanity!
Celebrating Brahim,
Adam is walking behind Adam.
Crowds of them,
In this verbal game.

Leaving Tehran on Maslenitsa, a Russian pagan holiday, I am filing through my notes as the plane is ready to take off. One Khlebnikoved states, that “Khlebnikov’s Persian poems are inherently Russian, tell us more about Russia than about Iran, and are certainly not Persian”. Having written a poem about Easter in Enzeli, I am not sure how afflicted Velimir would have been by such an observation, as his poetic vision and my quest to seek out that poetic vision have only added to the idea of language’s displacement and the displacement of place, voice, time, and self.

March 2011