CFP Tolstoy Studies Journal Conference - Tolstoy and Russian Imperialism - Tbilisi, Georgia, June 16–19, 2023

Tolstoy Studies Journal Conference  

Tolstoy and Russian Imperialism/ Толстой и русский империализм

Tbilisi, Georgia, June 16–19, 2023


Michael Denner, Stetson University
Tatyana Gershkovich, Carnegie Mellon University
Donna Orwin, University of Toronto

       Tolstoy Studies Journal invites your participation in an international conference dedicated to reassessing Leo Tolstoy’s oeuvre in the context of Russian imperialism. Tolstoy’s relation to the empire-building projects of Imperial Russia was far from straightforward, and we encourage scholarship that considers this topic from a variety of theoretical, historical, and literary-critical perspectives. Which forms of imperialism and colonialism were acknowledged by Tolstoy? Which escaped his notice? How do we account for these differences in light of Tolstoy’s work, life, and historical moment? We encourage papers that address these questions by considering Tolstoy in his various guises: as an officer in the tsar’s army, an estate owner, an educator, the author of Russia’s national epic, a pacifist philosopher and world-famous spiritual leader, as a cultural totem of Russia before, during, and after the Soviet Union. We also welcome papers that illuminate the topic in its geographic, ethnic, and cultural specificities. Tolstoy’s experiences in the Caucasus shaped his literary and political imagination in crucial ways and remain in need of more analysis. But no less important are Tolstoy’s perspectives on other borders (e.g., in the Far East) and his real and imagined encounters with other peoples (e.g., Bashkir, Mansi). We hope that our conference will be an occasion to reflect not only on Tolstoy through the lens of empire, but also on empire through the lens of Tolstoy.

Expanded topics might include:

—Tolstoy’s Caucasian oeuvre

—Settler colonialism in Tolstoy’s art and life

—Russia as “Internal Empire” in Tolstoy’s work

—Tolstoy’s responses to the Russo-Japanese War and other military conquests

—Correspondence and collaboration between Tolstoy and anti-colonialists around the world

—Imperialism and the processes of reading, translating, and teaching Tolstoy


Please send a 300-word paper proposal in English or Russian, along with a brief contributor’s biography, to by February 1, 2023.