AVANT-GARDES AND ÉMIGRÉS is a research initiative and prototype online environment at Yale University dedicated to the study of Russian and East European avant-gardists and émigrés in the twentieth century.
Through this approach we intend to foreground the continuity of Russian Formalism, structuralism, and semiotics with theories of Digital Humanities entering critical discourse today. The initiative will explore the close relationship between avant-garde aesthetics and Formalist theory, and the dissemination and evolution of interpretive practices through emigration, including the formation of many departments of Slavic Languages and Literatures in the United States.
How did avant-gardists and émigrés shape the reading practices, archival and library collections, and institutional formations of Slavic Studies as a field, and the intellectual landscape of American academia more broadly? How did the flow of persons, texts, and ideas from the Soviet Union influence the dynamics of American culture during the Cold War, through institutions, academic practices, theoretical approaches and methodologies, and cultural forums—ranging from the Slavic Review to the New Yorker? Can we imagine, build, and share digital tools to visualize a network of émigrés and centers of cultural capital in complex and ever-shifting configurations? How have these networks shaped our own education, training, tastes, and biases as scholars, as well as those of communities outside of academia? How do they shift over time? And how might all of the above be reimagined—indeed, how are they already being reshaped—in the digital age, given the technological, socio-economic, and political present?