Russia and the Global Color Line Workshop Program


JULY 14-15, 2022

Workshop Organizers: Eugene M. Avrutin (Tobor Family Endowed Professor of Modern European Jewish History, University of Illinois) and Professor Valeria Sobol (Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Illinois)

Zoom registration link:

Program PDF

*All times are in CDT*

Day 1, July 14th                                      Main Library Building, Room 106

10am: Welcoming remarks (Valeria Sobol, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

Panel 1: 10:05am-12pm

  • Luke Jeske, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: “Russians, Race, and Religion in the Holy Land, 1882-1914”
  • Liao Zhang, Michigan State University: “A Short-lived Brewery: Chinese Diaspora, Cross-Border Business, and Soviet Citizenry in the Russian Far East, 1920s-1930s”

Discussant: Eugene Avrutin, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Keynote lecture: 1:30-2:30

Yoshiko Herrera, University of Wisconsin-Madison: "The Sunny Side of Essentialism: Race and Jazz in Contemporary Russia”


Panel 2: 3pm-5pm

  • Ismael Biyashev, University of Illinois at Chicago: “Modernity in Motion: Archaeology, Nomadism, and the search for the ‘Siberian New Man’” (on Zoom)
  • Lindsay Ceballos, Lafayette College: “Russian Colorism and Political Agency in Chernyshevsky’s Chto delat’? (1863) and Turgenev’s Nov’ (1877)”

Discussant: Valeria Sobol, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Day 2, July 15th                                                      Main Library Building, Room 106

Panel 3: 9am-11am

  • Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon, University of Pennsylvania: “The Soviet Socialist Lives of Angela Davis: An Afro-Pessimist Reading of the Soviet Union and Blackness”
  • Thom Loyd, Cardiff University: “The Absent-Minded Racists”
  • Hilary Lynd, University of California, Berkeley: “Race, Culture, and the Paradoxes of Soviet Anti-Apartheid”

Discussant: Peter Wright, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Think Tank session (with workshop organizers and Think Tank students only): 11:15 am-12:15 pm


Panel 4: 1:30pm—3pm

  • Ksenia Pavlenko, Cornell University: “Time and ‘Types’: Mining Modernism in Photographs from Imperial Khiva and Turkestan”
  • Felix Cowan, University of Toronto: “Making Russians White: Civilization and Racialization in Late Imperial Russian Popular Discourse” (on Zoom)

Discussant: Yoshiko Herrera, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Concluding thoughts—3:30pm-4:30pm