[Konferenz München] Narrating the Siege. The Blockade of Leningrad and its Transmedial Narratives

18.06.2015 09:30 - 20.06.2015 16:30

The Blockade of Leningrad (1941-1944) is more than just an important historical event. Even as the war was going on, the Blockade was being invested with symbolic meaning, and this symbolism has decisively shaped our perception of life under the siege until the present day. The conference organised by Prof. Dr. Riccardo Nicolosi (LMU, member of the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies) and Prof. Dr. Polina Barskova (Hampshire College) will focus on a central aspect of the symbolic representation of the Blockade that up to now has not been examined systematically, namely its narrative dimension.

The main objective of the conference is to treat the Blockade of Leningrad as a narrative phenomenon, since only by narrating the siege is it possible to comprehend it and come to terms with its horrific experience. Narratives help give meaning to the state of emergency, the sudden intrusion of war into everyday life and give coherence to something that was otherwise inconceivable and inexpressible. Narratives are known to give meaning to facts by setting a starting and endpoint, by selecting events and arranging them in a certain order, by modelling space etc. This explains why from the very beginning the Blockade led to a virtual torrent of narrative representations: diaries, memoirs, poems, novels and plays, films, paintings, monuments etc.
Contributors to the conference will examine transmedial narrative models of the Blockade and will try to formulate a narrative grammar of the Blockade that spans different media, genres and epochs. Among others, the following questions will be crucial to the conference: Which discursive strategies have been applied to create new models of explaining and perceiving the altered reality of the city? Can we identify structural constants in the different media, e.g. on the levels of modelling time and space, of narrative coherence or regarding eventfulness? Which models of media authentication are used in the works discussed, i.e., what is the relation between the mimetic and the anti-mimetic, the facto-graphic and the fictional? Another aim of the conference will be to reconstruct the diachronic development of narrative patterns of the Blockade, beginning with Socialist Realism and continuing on into postmodernism. Finally, the conference will investigate the way official and unofficial narrative strategies have interacted and competed with one another and how they have shaped Soviet and post-Soviet cultural memory of the siege.



Conference Venue

Nikolaiplatz 1b
80802 München

Filmscreening Venue (18/6/2015)
Gasteig / Vortragssaal
Rosenheimer Straße 5
81667 München