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NVU Professor of History Alexandre Strokanov Presented at Two International Conferences in Fall 2020

Northern Vermont University Professor of History Alexandre Strokanov presented virtually at two prestigious international conferences this fall, one held in Poland and the second in China.

The first — The Second World War in the Collective Memory and Politic of the Former Eastern Bloc Countries — held October 22-23 in Warsaw, Poland, was organized by the Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, and The Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding.

Strokanov’s presentation — The New Face of the Museum: How the Victory Museum of the Great Patriotic War 1941-45 in Moscow has changed for the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Allies Victory — was part of the Narratives and Images of War in Public Space panel. During his lecture, he walked participants through an examination of how to pass the memories, experiences, and emotions of war generations to new generations. 

“We have always had veterans to learn from,” Strokanov said, but there aren’t many WWII veterans still living today. This requires museums, always key to the transfer of knowledge, to play an even greater role now, he said. 

Which raises the issue of how to attract a digitalized generation to museums, yet incorporate technology in a way that makes it accessible to all, he said. Strokanov’s discussion of the Victory Museum in Moscow, which opened several new expositions Summer 2020, explored the interactive nature of the experience at this museum and how the approach addressed the dual issue of accessibility and digital appeal. For instance, the displays encourage, rather than discourage, touch, and the museum guides move beyond the usual role of directing patrons through the space to take on the roles of characters from the time period to bring the past literally to life, he said.

Strokanov’s presentation will be published in the Journal of the Polish Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences.

Alexandre Strokanov also took part in the conference commemorating the 130th Anniversary of the Nobel Prize Winner in Literature Boris Pasternak. Held by the Institute of Foreign Languages at Zhejiang University in China November 6-9, Strokanov delivered a virtual keynote address titled: “Pasternak’s city of Yuryatin: where is it and why is it such?”

As Strokanov shares, “This imaginary city first appeared in Pasternak’s unfinished novel ‘Notes of Patrick,’ but became the center of the activity of his heroes in the novel Doctor Zhivago.” In his keynote, Strokanov analyzed the possible prototypes for such a city among existing real cities in Russia and came up with his own interpretation of the origins of the name for Pasternak’s city. He went on to explain why Pasternak named it Yuryatin, based on the results of his multiyear research.

An article based on his keynote presentation will be published in the international journal Russian Literature and Art.

Strokanov also presented in the conference section, “Memory about Boris Pasternak: Museums and monuments to the poet and writer in Russia and abroad,” in which he discussed how the memory of Pasternak is preserved through the museums devoted to Boris Pasternak in Moscow, Chistopol, and Vsevolodo-Vilva, as well as recently erected monuments.