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Program

Nov 10, 2011 - Nov 11, 2011

Czechoslovak Samizdat and its Legacy

Symposium organized by the Czech Center NY in collaboration with New York University Prague and the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in NY

The aim of the symposium is to mark the ways how independent Czech literature developed in the last two decades of the Communist government. We will hear authentic testimonies by people who participated in samizdat publishing and invite experts - historians and literary theoreticians of different generations both from Europe and the US to discuss them. The Czech experience will be complemented by information on alternative literature in Poland and the Soviet Union.

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Working language: English

PROGRAM :
November 10 

Opening
4pm                            
Pavla Niklova, Director, Czech Center NY
Eliska Zigova, Consul General of the Czech Republic in New York                    

Panel 1
4:15pm-6pm          

Samizdat – First Hand Experience. Actors and Eyewitnesses.

Moderated by Wendy Luers
Panelists: Tomas Vrba, Ivan Havel, Jachym Topol, Paul Wilson, Bill Luers

6pm                           
‘Create Your Own Samizdat’, workshop led by Jarka Vrbova

Opening reception
6:30pm-8:30pm
 
Samizdat: The Czech Art of Resistance, 1968-1989 
Exhibition of underground publications, with examples examples of film and music recordings.
Curated by Daniela Sneppova.

November 11 

Panel 2            
9:30-11:15am

Samizdat – Subject to Research. Points of View: History, Literary Theory, Art, Political Science.
Moderated by Hanna Arie-Gaifman 
Panelists: Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz, Veronika Tuckerova, Daniela Sneppova, Martin Machovec, Martin Palous

 Panel 3      
11:30am-1 pm
           
Samizdat in the Web Age. China, Cuba, Burma and Elsewhere.

Moderated by Veronika Tuckerova
Panelists: Guobin Yang, Matvei Yankelevich, Paul Wilson, Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet

Samizdat events are organized under the auspices of the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Karel Schwarzenberg, and the First President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel. 

Samizdat events are part of the program Roads to Freedom, Czech Alternative Culture before November 1989.  
Special consultancy for both the exhibition and symposium: Tomas Vrba

PANELISTS:
Panel 1
Wendy W. Luers is President Emerita of the Foundation for Art & Preservation for Embassies (FAPE). She is the founder and President of The Foundation for a Civil Society, a democratization and non-profit organization. She is also co-founder and Co-Chair of The Project on Justice in Times of Transition, a independent conflict resolution project working in collaboration with the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University. Mrs. Luers is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Women's Foreign Policy Group; and serves as Vice Chair of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center and is on the boards of The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. at the University of Southern California (USC) and the World Childhood Foundation founded by Queen Silvia of Sweden.
 
Tomas Vrba
After philosophy and psychology studies at Charles University in Prague engaged in social work and research among local Roma population, dismissed immediately after signing the Charter 77 human-rights declaration. From 1977 to 1989 he was construction worker, translator and the editor of non-official (samizdat) publishing networks. Editor-in-chief for the Czech and Slovak edition of Lettre Internationale from 1990 to 1995, in 1993 he was the founder of the  Association of European Journalists/Czech section. From 1997 to 2000 he was the editor-in-chief for the Czech and English editions of the monthly Pritomnost/The New Presence and from 1998 to 2002 he was a member of the board of the Czech chapter of Transparency International. Since 1999 he has lectured at New York University, Prague. From 2002 to 2004 he was international vice-president of the Association of European Journalists. He was a member and (from 2004 to 2007) president of the board of the Czech News Agency (ČTK). Since 2007 he has been president of the board of the Forum 2000 Foundation, currently he also chairs the board of theater Archa in Prague.

Ivan M. Havel graduated in 1966 from Technical University in Prague and received his Ph.D. from University of California at Berkeley. Before the communist regime collapsed in late 1989, besides his semiofficial scientific work, he hosted discussion groups in his apartment in Prague and cooperated with samizdat editions. From November 1989 till June 1990 he was engaged in political work (as a member of the Council of the Civic Forum Coordination Center). Currently he is a researcher and past director of Center for Theoretical Study, a cross-disciplinary institution affiliated to Charles University, Prague, and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. His current research focuses on human mind, consciousness, artificial intelligence, and related areas of philosophy and cognitive science. He also has teaching responsibilities at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University. Since 1990 he has been the editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Vesmír. He is a member of Academia Europea, and serves on boards of several academic institutions and educational foundations.
He has published several books of scientific and philosophical essays and recently the collection of letters to Vaclav Havel to prison („Dopisy od Olgy“, Vaclav Havel Library, Dec. 2010).


Paul Wilson is a freelance journalist, magazine editor, radio producer and translator of Czech literature.
He has contributed essays, articles and reviews to many north American and European publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star and other literary and general interest magazines including The Walrus, which he helped establish as deputy editor, Saturday Night.  where he was Senior Editor from 1998-2001, The Idler (Associate Editor, 1988-1992), and Books in Canada.

He has translated many plays, essays, and books by Vaclav Havel. His translation of The Engineer of Human Souls, by Josef Skvorecky, was awarded the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in 1984, and his translation of Ivan Klima’s My Golden Trades was short listed for the Independent newspaper’s International Translation Award in 1993.
A collection of his essays on Czech and Slovak politics and culture will be published, in Czech, by Torst in 2012.

Jachym Topol was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. His father Josef Topol is a playwright,  poet, and translator.
Topol's writing began with lyrics for the rock band Psi vojaci, led by his younger brother, Filip, in the late '70s and early '80s. In 1985, he cofounded the samizdat magazine revolver Revue.
Because of his father's dissident activities, Topol was not allowed to go to university. After graduating from high school he worked as a stoker, stocker, construction worker, and coal deliveryman. Several times he was imprisoned for short periods, both for his samizdat publishing activities and for his smuggling across the Polish border in cooperation with members of Polish Solidarity movement. He was also a signatory of the Charter 77 human rights declaration.
During the 1989 revolution, Topol wrote for the independent newsletter Informacni servis, which later became the investigative weekly Respekt. Between 2009–2011, he was on the staff of the daily Lidove noviny. 
Works:
Sestra (Sister; Atlantis, 1994)/ English translation Alex Zucker: City Sister Silver (Catbird Press, 2000), Andel (Angel; Hynek, 1995), Nocni prace (Nightwork; Hynek, 2001), Kloktat dehet (Gargling tar; Torst, 2005)/ English translation by David Short: Gargling with Tar, Portobello Books, London, 2010/Chladnou zemí (Chilly land; Torst, 2009), and more.

Bill Luers is President of the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA). Prior to joining UNA-USA in February 1999, Mr. Luers served for 13 years as President of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.
During a 31-year career in the Foreign Service, Mr. Luers served as U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1983-1986) and Venezuela (1978-1982). He was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe (1977-1978) and for Inter-American Affairs (1975-1977).
Prior to the Foreign Service, Mr. Luers served as an officer in the U.S. Navy (1953-1957). Mr. Luers has been a visiting lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, at George Washington University in Washington and at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Diplomacy and other public policy organizations, Mr. Luers serves on a number of corporate and nonprofit boards. Still active in the arts, Mr. Luers is the American International advisor for the Praemium Imperiale Annual Awards to the Arts. He is fluent in Russian, Spanish, and Italian.

Panel 2   
Hanna Arie-Gaifman
As Director of 92nd Street Y's Tisch Center for the Arts, Hanna Arie-Gaifman oversees 92Y’s concert series and Unterberg Poetry Center, which presents a world-renowned reading series featuring established and emerging novelists, poets, playwrights and biographers reading from and discussing their work; programs that examine the role of the critic; and staged readings, verse dramas and dramatic adaptations of literary texts.
Before joining 92Y, Hanna served as dean of the Mozart Academy in Prague, director of artistic management and international relations of the Czech Philharmonic and director of Prague’s annual Musica Judaica Festival. In these roles (from 1993 to 2000), she helped to recreate Prague’s cultural life in the post-Communist era and reinvigorate the strong tradition of Czech Jewish culture. She has also taught at University of California, Berkeley and New York University.      

Veronika Tuckerova is curently the Texas Chair of Czech Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.  She studied German and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York, and wrote her dissertation on Reading Kafka during the Cold War. Veronika taught previously at Columbia University, Queens College, and New York University in Prague. She also worked as a translator and editor, and published in journals such as the Harvard Review, Slavic and East European Performance Review. She has been a regular contributor to Revolver Revue and Lidové noviny.  Among her research interests are modern German and Czech literatures, translation, and bilingualism.

Daniela Sneppova
Artist working across the boundaries of photography, performance and electronic media. With one foot in Canada and the other in the Czech Republic, her projects revolve around shifting processes of embodiment in politics and identity, with an emphasis on the transcultural.  Her performance and installation projects have been exhibited internationally.
Her most recent projects include the video installation I think I love you but I have chosen darkness (www.danielasneppova.org) and Mrtvolka, an experimental multi-media theatre piece which premiered in 2011 in Toronto. (http://mrtvolka.wordpress.com/performance-documentation). Here her multi modal interests in the convergence of the mediated and the live had an opportunity for a real time collision. Curatorial projects include Song Show, 2009 and upcoming in November 2011, Samizdat: the Czech Art of Resistance, 1968-1989 for the Czech Centre in New York. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Western Ontario in Visual Arts at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies. Her favorite place in the world? 60 feet under (the surface of the water).

Marketa Goets-Stankiewicz is Professor Emerita in the Department of CENES (Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies) at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada. In addition to having written essays on Czech, German and comparative literature, and reviews of Czech plays performed by the Czech theater “Divadlo za rohem” in Vancouver, she is author of The Silenced Theatre: Playwrights Without a Stage (1979), and editor of The Vanek Plays: Four Authors, One Character (1987), Good-Bye Samizdat , Twenty Years of Czech and Slovak Underground Writing (1992),  and co-editor of Critical Essays on World Literature: Vaclav Havel (1999).  In Spring 2009 she was Benjamin Meakins Visiting Professor at the University of Bristol. In 1988 she was the recipient of the order of Scriptores Bohemici.

Martin Machovec

Editor, teacher of English, literary historian and review-writer, translator.
In 1985 he graduated from Charles University, Prague, in English and Russian.
In the 1970s and 1980s he was in contact with independent, underground Czech artists, writers, editors, and publishers. He took part in publishing samizdat books and periodicals (Vokno, Revolver Revue).After the fall of the Soviet-Communist regime, he has made a large number of Czech samizdat books ready for regular printing presses. Since 2001 he has been lecturing at the Department of Czech literature, Faculty of Philosophy, Charles University.
He lectured on the topic of Czech samizdat and underground literature at University of Washington, Seattle, Greifswald Universität, Germany, Central European University, Budapest, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas at Austin etc.
English publications on related topics: “Czech Underground Literature, 1969-1989. A Challenge to Textual Studies”, 2004;  “Publish and Perish: Samizdat and Underground Cultural Practices in the Soviet Bloc”, 2009; Views from the Inside, Prague 2006 (editor of the volume and author of the epilogue).

Martin Palous is Director of Vaclav Havel Library in Prague and Senior Fellow at School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University in Miami.
Martin Palous was Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States of America from 2001 to 2005 and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York (2006 - 2011).His other diplomatic appointments include Czech Republic´s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (1998-2001). He served also as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia (1990-1992).

Being one of the first signers of Charter 77, he served as spokesman for the human rights group. In 1989, he became also a founding member of the Civic Forum. He was elected to the Federal Assembly in 1990.
Martin Palous studied Natural Sciences, Philosophy and Law. He received his Ph.D. in Public International Law from Masaryk University in Brno where he defended his doctoral thesis Freedom of Expression in the European Court of Human Rights in 2007. Martin Palous has also had an active academic career, holding a number of teaching positions and being author of numerous publications both at home and abroad.

Panel 3      
Veronika Tuckerova
is curently the Texas Chair of Czech Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.  She studied German and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York, and wrote her dissertation on Reading Kafka during the Cold War. Veronika taught previously at Columbia University, Queens College, and New York University in Prague. She also worked as a translator and editor, and published in journals such as the Harvard Review, Slavic and East European Performance Review. She has been a regular contributor to Revolver Revue and Lidové noviny.  Among her research interests are modern German and Czech literatures, translation, and bilingualism.

Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet’s book, Frontier Fictions: Shaping the Iranian Nation, 1804-1946 discusses Iranian nationalism and analyzes the significance of land and border disputes, with attention to Iran 's shared boundaries with the Ottoman Empire, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf region.
Dr. Kashani-Sabet has finished a book entitled, Conceiving Citizens: Women and the Politics of Motherhood in Iran (forthcoming, Oxford University Press, Spring 2011) She is also completing a book on America 's historical relationship with Iran and the Islamic world entitled, The Making of the 'Great Satan': A History of US - Iranian Relations (under contract to Princeton University Press). In addition to her academic work, Professor Kashani-Sabet has written several fictional pieces. Her first novel, Martyrdom Street, was published by Syracuse University Press in 2010.
Professor Kashani-Sabet teaches courses on various aspects of modern Middle Eastern history, including ethnic and political conflicts, gender and women's issues, popular culture, diplomatic history, revolutionary ideologies, and general surveys. Dr. Kashani-Sabet has directed the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania since 2006. She is a member of the Association of Iranian American Writers.

Guobin Yang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures and the Department of Sociology at Barnard College, Columbia University. His books include The Power of theInternet in China: Citizen Activism Online (Columbia University Press, 2009. Winner of best book award, Communication and Information
Technologies Section of the American Sociological Association, 2010) and
Re-Envisioning the Chinese Revolution: The Politics and Poetics of Collective Memories in Reform China (edited with Ching-Kwan Lee, 2007). His next book, China's Red Guard Generation: Dissent, Loyaltyand Nostalgia, is under contract with the Columbia University Press.

Matvei Yankelevich is one of the founders of Ugly Duckling Presse, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that specializes in poetry and translation. He is the author of Boris by the Sea (Octopus Books), Bending at the Elbow (Minutes Books), and Alpha Donut (forthcoming from United Artists Books), and the translator of Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Ardis/Overlook). He teaches at Hunter College and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. 

Paul Wilson is a freelance journalist, magazine editor, radio producer and translator of Czech literature. He has contributed essays, articles and reviews to many north American and European publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star and other literary and general interest magazines including The Walrus, which he helped establish as deputy editor, Saturday Night.  where he was Senior Editor from 1998-2001, The Idler (Associate Editor, 1988-1992), and Books in Canada.
He has translated many plays, essays, and books by Vaclav Havel. His translation of The Engineer of Human Souls, by Josef Skvorecky, was awarded the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in 1984, and his translation of Ivan Klima’s My Golden Trades was short listed for the Independent newspaper’s International Translation Award in 1993.
A collection of his essays on Czech and Slovak politics and culture will be published, in Czech, by Torst in 2012.

 

Press release:

 

Venue:

321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States

Date

From: Nov 10, 2011
To: Nov 11, 2011

Organizer:

Czech Center


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