Jenya Mironava (Harvard University)
For many Americans, Belarus was put on the (literary) map in 2015, when Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Many more learned about Belarus in 2020, when a tenacious wave of country-wide post-election protests (unprecedented in the history of this arguably most Soviet of the post-Soviet states) brought Belarus into public discourse in the US. The initial American enthusiasm for Belarusians’ struggle for democracy has since ebbed away. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, which the Belarusian regime supports, the country has receded from view as an independent actor.
Belarus remains on the margins of Slavic studies, as well. Even more striking than the absence of Belarusian literature and culture from the curricula of Slavic departments in the US is the virtual absence of Belarus from scholarship, and from most discussions about the urgent need to decolonize our field.
This panel is envisioned as a space for scholars and teachers with an interest in Belarus to come together and reflect on the ways in which this lacuna in Slavic studies can begin to be filled. Making room for Belarusian voices in the field, an important goal in its own right, will also help us to diversify it.
Papers on all aspects of Belarusian culture, literature, and language are welcome.
Particularly encouraged are presentations that focus on less commonly taught and researched Belarusian authors and texts (in the broadest sense), as well as those that address the practical considerations of making room for Belarusian voices in the curriculum specifically.
This panel is a space for scholars and teachers with an interest in Belarus to come together and reflect on the ways in which we can make room for Belarusian voices in Slavic studies, especially the practical considerations of integrating Belarusian literature and language in the curriculum.