CFP: What is to Be Done?

Isabel Wünsche's picture
Call for Papers
July 15, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Eastern Europe History / Studies, Modern European History / Studies, Russian or Soviet History / Studies

CFP    What is to Be Done?
           Art Practice, Theory and Criticism in Russia during the Long Nineteenth Century 
           (edited volume)

Deadline: July 15, 2018

Call for Article Proposals

What is to be done? (Что делать?) – This question was pondered in academic circles as well as by art critics, writers, impresarios, and other members of the Russian intelligentsia during the long nineteenth century. Russian artists found themselves involved in a vivid and intergenerational discourse at home but also confronted with artistic discussions in the West. Their interest in western European aesthetic and philosophical ideas is matched by an upsurge of national sentiment. As a result, a broad range of concepts is mirrored in Russian artistic theory and practice. Russian artists reflected upon the goals and methods of the Academy and its opponents such as the Peredvizhniki; they explored the ideas of different artistic movements, including romanticism, naturalism, realism, impressionism, and symbolism, and examined philosophical concepts such as idealism, positivism, theosophy, essentialism and nihilism. Furthermore, their creative work and impact on public and artistic education was shaped by collectors, impresarios, patrons, and art critics. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Lev Tolstoy, Maxim Gorky, Alexandre Benois, Sergei Diaghilev, Pavel Tretyakov, Savva Mamontov, Igor Grabar, and Vladimir Stasov are some of the key figures who shaped the art theoretical debates of this time period. The essays in this volume will introduce new approaches to the ongoing debate on art practice, theory and criticism in Russia during the long nineteenth century, particularly highlighting the artists’ contextualization of western European ideas and the role that the Russian intelligentsia played in this process.

The editors, Ludmila Piters-Hofmann, Tanja Malycheva, and Isabel Wünsche, invite proposals for articles which might explore the following topics:
-    the goals and methods of the Academy and its opponents (e.g. the Peredvizhniki and Vladimir Stasov)
-    the role of museums in the preservation, presentation, and education of art
-    the pilgrimage of Russian artists to Italy, France, or ancient cultural sites
-    reactions to Western aesthetic/philosophical ideas (e.g. Winckelmann, Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Kant, Hegel, Berliner and Wiener Schule, Ruskin,      
     Nietzsche, etc.)
-    the impact of European styles on Russian art (e.g. romanticism, naturalism, impressionism, etc.)
-    the promotion of plein air painting as an essential part of artistic work
-    the arguments of followers and opponents of l’art pour l’art (Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Gorky, Benois, Diaghilev, etc.)
-    Nicholas Roerich’s theosophical concepts
-    the shaping of the image of Russian art beyond Russia (Benois, Grabar, Ettinger)
-    the role of art critics in public and artistic education (Khudozhestvenny zhurnal, Apolon, Zolotoye runo, Mir iskusstva, Puni, Jaremich, Radlov, 
    Tugendhold, Efros)

Proposals in English of no more than 500 words should be sent together with a short biography (max. 200 words) to the editors at the contact address below no later than 15 July 2018. Applicants will be notified regarding acceptance of their proposals by 15 August 2018. 

The editors’ selections will take into account the quality and originality of the proposed article, but also the desire for the thematic consistency of the volume. Materials submitted must be previously unpublished in any language. If accepted, completed articles of 4000-5000 words (including footnotes) should be delivered to the editors no later than 15 January 2019. Style guidelines will be circulated by the editors; illustrations will not exceed six black-and-white images per article. Authors must be available to respond to editors’ comments and, if necessary, resubmit their amended articles during the editing process in the first quarter of 2019. The volume is scheduled to be published by Logos (Berlin) in autumn 2019.

For further information on the volume please contact the editors, Ludmila Piters-Hofmann, Tanja Malycheva, and Isabel Wünsche at

For further information on the Russian Art and Culture Group, see:


Contact Info: 

Ludmila Piters-Hofmann, Tanja Malycheva, Isabel Wünsche (editors):

Contact Email: