Conference at Smith College on February 15-17, 2019

Made possible through the generous support of Mrs. Elizabeth M. and Mr. Jean-Marie Eveillard


With US-Russia relations having reached a post-Cold War low, and with sustained attention to Russia in the Western media, it is more critical than ever to advance knowledge about this country’s complex past and its present challenges.


“Understanding Russia” explores Russia’s politics and culture, in both contemporary and historical contexts, and seeks to foster balanced discussion of its place in the global community. Bringing together a wide range of scholars and public intellectuals, the conference will facilitate an ongoing dialogue on Russia in the college community, and celebrate the vitality of Russia’s culture in and beyond the Smith classroom.




Friday, February 15

3:00 p.m.

Gallery Talk

"The Art of Spiritual Warfare: Anti-Religious Images in Early Soviet Russia"

Vera Shevzov (Professor, Smith College)

Cunningham Center, second floor, Smith College Museum of Art

4:00 p.m.

Russian Rock Music and Afternoon Tea

DJ-ed by Joe Crescente (UMass Amherst) 

Atrium, Smith College Museum of Art

5:00 p.m.

Poetry Reading

Polina Barskova (Associate Professor, Hampshire College) 

Cathy Ciepiela (Translator, Professor, Amherst College) 

Alumnae House Conference Hall

8:00 p.m.

Public Lecture

“Akim Volynsky’s Journey to Ballet’s Magic Kingdom”

Lecture by Stanley Rabinowitz (Professor, Amherst College) 

Earle Recital Hall, Sage Hall

Saturday, February 16
All events take place at the Carroll Room, Campus Center 

9:00 a.m.

9:45 a.m.

Breakfast and Registration

Conference Welcome
Rebecca Hovey, Dean for International Study and Director, 
Lewis Global Studies Center

Introduction of Keynote Speaker
Rosetta Marantz Cohen, Faculty Director,
Lewis Global Studies Center

10:00 a.m.

Keynote Address

A Few Positive Things I Know About Russia

Irina Prokhorova

12:00 p.m.


1:00 p.m.

Russia Today: Is it All About Putin?

William Taubman (Professor, Amherst College)

“Putinism in Perspective: Compared to its Soviet Predecessor and to Gorbachev’s USSR”


Peter Rutland (Professor, Wesleyan)

“The Prospects for Pluralism in Contemporary Russia”


Maria Sidorkina (Fellow, Amherst)

"The Monstration is Wha?! Protest and Belonging in Post-liberal Siberia"


Lauren McCarthy (Professor, UMass)

"Can Civil Society Hold the Russian State Accountable?"


Marjorie Senechal (Professor, Smith College)

“A Personal Close-up of US - Russian Scientific Cooperation”


Faculty moderator: Sergey Glebov (Associate Professor, REES, Smith College)

2:30 p.m.

Coffee Break

3:00 p.m.

Irina Prokhorova and panelists

4:30 p.m.

Russia Through Our Eyes

Student Panel

Addie Bacon ‘19
Elizabeth Bouteneff ‘20
Caroline Dunbar ‘20
Maria Mutka ‘21

Faculty moderator: Thomas Roberts,

(Assistant Professor, REES, Smith College)

5:30 p.m.

Closing Remarks

February 17

12:00-4:00 p.m.

Smile Upon Us, Lord

Stage Russia recording of Vakhtangov Theater production, Moscow

Hillyer, Graham Hall Auditorium

Other Opportunities


9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

Photograph Exhibition

"Portraits of War: Cynthia Elbaum’s Photographs of Chechnya, 1994"

Nolen Art Gallery, Campus Center, Smith College


9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.



9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

“Views from the Eastern Front: Russian Modernism and the Great War”

Amherst Center for Russian Culture, Amherst College

Second floor of Webster Hall, in the center of the Amherst College campus and on the south side of the main quadrangle

Thursday, February 21
4:30 p.m.


Open Registration


Lewis Global Studies Center

Elizabeth Mugar Eveillard '69 and Jean-Marie Eveillard

Department of Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies

Department of Religion

Smith College Museum of Art

Mead Art Museum, Amherst College




February 15-February 17


Friday, check the schedule for locations for events

Saturday, Carroll Room, Smith College Campus Center

All events are free and wheelchair accessible. For disability access information or accommodations requests, please call 413-585-2407. To request a sign language interpreter, call 413-585-2071 (voice or TTY) or email global@smith.edu at least 7 days before the event. 


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