IS THERE ANYTHING LEFT TO LEARN FROM YOU, MIKHAIL MIKHAILOVICH? ON KEY CONCEPTS OF BAKHTIN’S THEORY OF LITERATURE AND CULTURE
Tomasz Z. Majkowski (Jagiellonian University Krakow) visits Tromsø to speak about the scholarszhip of M. M. Bakhtin. This first lecture provides an overview over key theoretical and conceptual trajectories of Bakhtin's work and shows its enduring relevance for literary, cultural, and media studies.
Almost 50 years after Bakhtin’s death, both his theoretical contributions and biographical details remain as elusive as ever. With the authorship of several texts hotly debated, accusations of plagiarism and fascination with Stalin’s terror, and several romanticized legends, Bakhtin is simultaneously considered a solitary genius ahead of his time, a shameless self-promoter, a key contributor to 20th century humanities or an unreliable imposter fabricating data. His theory, apparently self-contradictory and incomplete, is regarded as historical inquiry, part of literary studies, linguistics, general theory of culture, moral philosophy and even Orthodox theology.
Despite all the controversies and difficulties, there is an order in Bakhtinian thought, as his body of work revolves around key concepts of dialogue and laughter. The first one is a philosophical, moral and practical principle, organizing discursive interactions of both everyday life and artistic endeavors. The other is the driving force behind the cultural dynamics, confronting all ideals with basic facts of a human material condition. Due to the rejection of seemingly unchanging ideological stances and calls to abandon the position of superiority, Bakhtinian theory is especially relevant to understand – and resist – a contemporary culture of moral certainty.
The lecture is an initiative of the ENCODE research network funded by ISK/UiT and is open for everyone. Also MA students are very welcome to join.
Tomasz Z. Majkowski works at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, where he is the head of the Game Research Centre. His main research interests are: Bakhtin-inspired game research, postcolonial theory in game studies and relation between digital games and the ideologies of nation-states.