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Mary Neuburger, Director BUR 452, 2505 University Avenue, Stop F3600, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-3607

Petre Petrov

Other faculty Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Visiting Scholar


REE 325 • New Barbarians

44185 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm PHR 2.114
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Under the umbrella name “new barbarism,” the course will address a cluster of cultural ideas that emerged in the late nineteenth century and influenced significantly artistic modernism both in the West and in Russia. These ideas include Nietzsche’s celebration of instinctual forces and the “will to power”; Freud’s explorations of the unconscious; Darwin-inspired theories of degeneration and racial superiority; intellectual forebodings of the decline of Western culture (often accompanied by an anxious anticipation of the “new barbarians”); artistic flirtations with the “primitive” and the “naïve”; etc. In surveying these trends, the course will ask: Why is it that modernity, with its galloping technological progress and breathless trust into the future, call up visions of its opposite, of atavism, the primitive, the pre-rational?

The course is divided in two parts. In the first half of the semester, it will survey the most important Western ideas that made up the paradigm of a new barbarism. In the second half, it will address cognate ideas circulating in Russia during the early decades of the twentieth century, along with literary texts, images, and performances that gave them artistic embodiment.


Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness J. K. Huysmans, Against Nature Thomas Mann: Death in Venice D.H. Lawrence: “The Woman Who Rode Away” Leonid Andreev, “The Red Laughter,” “The Abyss” Aleksandr Blok, The Scythians

Isaac Babel, Red Cavalry Andrei Platonov, The Foundation Pit


Class participation: 20% 5 short response papers (1p): 20% Midterm exam: 20% Final paper: 40% 

REE 385 • Socialist Realism

44240 • Spring 2015
Meets TH 330pm-630pm PAR 210
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The seminar will be an occasion to think through the nature of Soviet socialist realism, as both a cultural institution and a mode of artistic dealing with the world. We will locate socialist realism in its proper cultural-historical setting, which means placing it within a web of issues that include: the crisis of representation; the function of art in modernity; art's rapprochement with politics; the (supposed) death of the subject/author; the demise of the great styles of the past; etc. 

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