Bard News & Events

Press Release

Bard College Hosts International Symposium on October 20 to Commemorate the Centennial of the Russian Revolution

The Symposium Will Be Accompanied by Film Screenings and Other Events throughout October and November Focusing on the Russian Revolution

Mark Primoff
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— On Friday, October 20, Bard College will host a symposium commemorating the centennial of the Russian Revolution. The event, “The 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution International Symposium,” will examine a wide range of topics related to the history, politics, and culture of this seminal event in modern Russian history. Bard President Leon Botstein will deliver the keynote address, and speakers include scholars from Bard, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. Petersburg State University (Smolny College). The scholars will discuss, among other topics, the history and politics of the Revolution, literature in early Soviet Russia, visual culture of the two 1917 revolutions and the Russian Civil War, music of the Revolution, and the Russian Revolution and Eastern European ethnic cultures. The symposium is free and open to the public and takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Weis Cinema, Bertelsmann Campus Center. It is sponsored by the Russian and Eurasian Studies Program, Center for Civic Engagement, Studio Arts Program, Art History Program, Experimental Humanities, Center for Moving Image Arts, German Studies Program, and Russian Art of the Avant-Garde Project at Bard.
In addition to the symposium on October 20, Bard College will host several campus-wide events, throughout the months of October and November, focusing on the Russian Revolution, including film screenings, a workshop—run by alumni/ae and students—on the creation of revolutionary propaganda posters, and a conversation on Hannah Arendt’s On Revolution.
Sponsored by the Center for Moving Image Arts and with introductions by Richard I. Suchenski, the film screenings include:
Tuesday, October 17, 7 p.m. (Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center)
  • Ivan the Terrible, Part 1 (Sergei Eisenstein, 1944, USSR, 95 minutes, 35mm)
  • Ivan the Terrible, Part 2 (Sergei Eisenstein, 1946/1958, USSR, 88 minutes, 35mm)
Wednesday, October 18, 3 p.m. (Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center)
  • Revolution: New Art for a New World (Margy Kinmonth, 2016, UK/Russia, 85 minutes, DVD)
Wednesday, October 18, 7 p.m. (Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center)
  • Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925, USSR, 75 minutes, 35mm)
  • Earth (Aleksandr Dovzhenko, 1930, USSR, 90 minutes, 35mm)
Sponsored by the Russian and Eurasian Studies Program, Russian Film Series, Russian Art of the Avant-Garde Project and introduced by Oleg Minin, the screenings also include:
Wednesday, October 11, at 7 p.m. (Room 102, Olin)
  • The Rider Named Death (Karen Shakhnazarov, 2005, 106 minutes, DVD)
Wednesday, October 25, at 7 p.m. (Room 102, Olin)
  • Aelita: Queen of Mars (Yakov Protazanov, 1924, 104 minutes, DVD)
Wednesday, November 1, at 7 p.m. (Room 102, Olin)
  • Agony (Rasputin) (Elem Klimov, 1981, 152 minutes, DVD)
Wednesday, November 15, at 7 p.m. (Room 102, Olin)
  • Heart of a Dog (Vladimir Bortko, 1988, 76 min, DVD)
Thursday, October 19, 2–6 p.m.
ROSTA Windows at Bard: Propaganda Poster-Making Workshop (Fisher Barn Studio/Studio Arts building)
This hands-on workshop is geared toward mastering the technique of propaganda poster making as practiced by the Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA) and its affiliated artists after the Bolshevik takeover and during the Russian Civil War (c. 1918–20). After learning the technique, participants create their own posters, which will be displayed at Bertelsmann Campus Center for the rest of October. Cosponsored by the Studio Arts Program, Russian and Eurasian Studies Program, Center for Civic Engagement, and Art History Program, the workshop is run by Michael Ipsen ’15 and Julia Minin ’16.
Monday, November 13, 6–9 p.m. (Room 202, Olin)
In conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution International Symposium, the Hannah Arendt Center, Russian and Eurasian Studies Program, German Studies Program, and Center for Civic Engagement present a conversation between Roger Berkowitz (Bard / Hannah Arendt Center) and Artem Magun (Smolny / European University) on Hannah Arendt’s On Revolution. The event is moderated by Thomas Wild (Bard / Hannah Arendt Center).
The Russian Revolution is largely absent from Hannah Arendt’s book-length exploration of modern revolutions. This absence comes from Arendt’s understanding of the Russian Revolution as a social revolution that follows the model of the French Revolution, and thus one that failed to offer anything new to our understanding of revolutions. Arendt’s dismissal of the Russian Revolution and her critique of social revolutions have been controversial, and widely criticized for ignoring the driving force of revolutions to help the poor.
In spite of this, Arendt does return to the question of the Russian Revolution when she writes on councils (soviets). In this, she values the heritage of 1917, only to recognize that councils were soon suppressed by the Bolshevik Party.
In this discussion between two Arendt scholars, Berkowitz and Magun, will ask whether Arendt was right in seeing the Russian Revolution as derivative of the French Revolution, whether her dismissal of social revolutions can be defended, and whether the revolution of her liking is possible in the present historical circumstances.  
For more information and full symposium schedule, please contact Oleg Minin at
# # #

back to top

This event was last updated on 09-29-2017