The year 2017 marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution, arguably the twentieth century’s most defining, transformative series of events. To mark its anniversary, UNC’s Wilson Library is hosting an exhibit comprising items from the André Savine Collection of rare materials relating to Russian exile and émigré culture. The exhibit, World on Fire in Flames of Blood: Narratives of the Russian Revolution, is free and open to the public and is on display in Wilson Library’s Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room until May 14.
Curated by Slavic and East European studies librarian Kirill Tolpygo, the exhibit showcases a variety of viewpoints on the events of 1917 and the civil war that followed through journals, memoirs, photographs, and historical accounts. According to Tolpygo, “every item opens up an entire universe,” just as each “offers its own truth through its own narrative of the chaotic events that changed world history.”
On February 8 Donald J. Raleigh, the Jay Richard Judson Professor of Russian History and the director of the UNC Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies (CSEEES), gave a lecture Russia, 1917: Why Did the Romanov Dynasty Collapse and the Bolsheviks Come to Power? in which he examined both the long- and short-term factors that led to the February 1917 dissolution of the 300-year-old Romanov dynasty. His sweeping overview of nearly fifty tumultuous years of Russia’s history touched upon topics as diverse as the effects of Russia’s 1861 emancipation of serfs, visual representations of the Romanov family, the effects of World War I on Russian society, popular opinion, and the long term impacts of the events on world history.
CSEEES will continue its ongoing commemoration of the Russian Revolution throughout the year with a number of related events. In collaboration with the UNC Program in the Humanities, the center will host a Dialogues Seminar “Russia: Then and Now” on April 29. The seminar will feature a discussion with Donald J. Raleigh and Aaron Hale-Dorell (History, UNC), and will conclude with a workshop for North Carolina teachers on how to teach the Russian Revolution today. To learn more about the seminar and to register, please see here.
In fall, CSEEES will among other things co-sponsor a student-led national conference A Century of Movement: Russian Culture and Global Community Since the Revolution of 1917 (October 12-13) and host a keynote on November 7 by Professor Boris Kolonitskii from European University of St. Petersburg, arguably Russia’s leading scholar on 1917. Please check back for details or subscribe to our email list for the latest announcements.
We invite you to join us in examining the formative impact of the Russian Revolution throughout this year!
By Griffin Creech