Book Launch: Russia as Civilization: Ideological Discourses in Politics, Media and Academia

The event will be held on ZOOM

At the end of the Cold War, Samuel Huntington prophesized that national identities would increasingly involve a sense of belonging to larger cultural- historical entities he called civilizations. Russia as Civilization: Ideological Discourses in Politics, Media, and Academia takes Huntington one step fur- ther, to explore how the image of a single nation can be constructed and perceived as a civilization unto itself. Through detailed examinations of Russian intellectual and creative practices as well as political discourses, gender debates, media, the fine arts, and the production of academic scholarship, the chapters shed light on the extraordinary potential of the civilization concept as a locus for mobilizing powerful senses of shared national identity.

The rich contextual detail and nuanced theoretical and conceptual analysis in the book shed much light on how civilization narratives and practices should be understood in a wider context of rising populism. To mark the release of the book, its contributors will be joined by three discussants to consider in more detail some of the key aspects of the volume including: defining ‘civilizationalism’, elaborating its relationship to nation-building, expanding on different forms of civilizationalism in Russia today and specific cases of its operationalisation.

Event presenters:

Introduction: Russian civilizationism in a global perspective

Sanna Turoma (University of Tampere); Kåre Johan Mjør (University of Bergen)

Discussant: Mark Bassin (Södertörns högskola)

Chapter 1

“Nation” and “civilization” as templates for Russian identity construction: A historical overview

Olga Malinova (Higher School of Economics, Moscow)

Discussant: Matthew Blackburn (Uppsala University)

Chapter 3

Russia between a civilization and a civic nation: Secular and religious uses of civilizational discourse during Putin’s third term

Victor Shnirelman (Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow)

Discussant: Alicja Curanovic (University of Warsaw)