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International Journal of Cultural Research


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Chair of Theory and History of Culture, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia
Faculty of Philosophy, State University of St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg Branch of the Russian Institute for Cultural Research
Unesco Chair for Comparative Studies of Spiritual Traditions, Their Specific Cultures and Interreligious Dialogue
International Association Russian culture
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Russian Academy of Sciences
Chair of Theory and History of Culture, St. Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts

have the honour of announcing


to be held in St Petersburg in August 25-29, 2006

The aim of cultural studies is to provide specific vision regarding the socio-cultural development of humanity, both in terms of historical developments and potential future ones. The field of cultural studies is manifold and complex, and researchers working in the field have refined exacting methodologies for collecting, processing and interpreting empirical data, as well as principles and technologies for the practical application of their theoretical findings.
Recent rapid changes in the dynamic of contemporary culture are forcing a reassessment in the field of cultural studies. Given the current world situation, there is urgent need to review and upgrade the theoretical stands of cultural research and the strategies for implementing findings. The First Russian Congress in Cultural Research will address a number of issues, starting with defining the position of cultural research within the framework of the general ‘classification of sciences.’ In what ways should the basic strategies of cultural research correspond to descriptive procedures? How are the findings of cultural research, which are gleaned from the examination of history, social studies, and humanities, delineated within the boundaries of science? In seeking to implement an understanding of the universals of culture, what is the optimal balance for maintaining the manifold local variations, both in traditional and modern communities?
The present epoch and the current world situation underscore the urgent need for a fresh elaboration of the problems and prospects in contemporary cultural research. In meeting the challenges of today’s world, we are dealing not only with the notorious deepening of an impending ‘anthropological crisis,’ but also with the imperative need for fundamental adaptation of our present-day way of life to the emerging global ‘new world order’. Under these circumstances, the creative potential of the humanities, in general, and cultural studies, in particular, increases exponentially. Here, strengthening Russia’s position in the contemporary ethno-cultural and civilization discourse will contribute greatly to resolving problems of our rapidly changing world.
Against the backdrop of a vast cultural transformation stemming from the incipient ‘new world order,’ it appears both constructive and relevant to elaborate within the framework of cultural studies specific procedures for monitoring, examining, counseling, and promoting the findings of cultural research. Potentially, these findings will prove to be key factors in developing a positive response to the world situation and in enhancing humanity’s decision-making and management capacities on all levels, from the personal and local to the national and international contexts.
A goal of the First Russian Congress in Cultural Research is to initiate the creation of a network of panels, with permanent status, which conduct integrative dialogues between representatives of different nations, religions, and cultures. These on-going panels will be organized in cooperation with non-governmental, governmental, transnational and international organizations. Their purpose will be to consolidate an understanding of the dynamic of contemporary culture, from many different angles and perspectives, and then to develop strategies for implementing the vision, basing primarily on the principle of tolerance.
Participants in the First Russian Congress in Cultural Research realize the need, common among all cultural studies programs, for enhancing shared understanding, research strategies, discourse tactics, pedagogical principles and training techniques, and especially the need to be in closer contact with researchers in other nations and cultures.

The Congress will include members of the professional community of specialists in cultural studies, and representatives of other, adjacent and/or related theoretical and practical disciplines, both from Russia and abroad. The participants may also include members of less directly related intellectual communities, who are cognizant of the current situation in culture studies. Taking into account the basic openness of present-day Russian academia, as well as the theoretical inadmissibility of studying cultures in isolation from one another, foreign colleagues are invited to participate in the Congress.

Taking into account the needs outlined above, the First National Congress in cultural studies will focus on reviewing work being done in the field and on consolidating the current findings of cultural research, as emerging realizations in the frontiers of historical, social, and humanistic disciplines; promoting common grounding in the basic principles of humanistic, transdisciplinary and multicultural paradigms; tracing the historical evolution, specific focal points, and the directions of growth in contemporary culture, as well as the major challenges and general outlook of the dynamics; detecting basic strategies and ‘good practices’ to enhance cooperation among researchers in leading scientific schools and communities.

The following specific topics are tentatively proposed for discussion:

Theoretical issues in cultural studies

  • Constitutive features and basic functions of culture;
  • Basic principles in studies of cultural development;
  • Present theory of cultural genesis;
  • Present state of cultural anthropology;
  • Present state of cultural semantics;
  • Present state of cultural sociology;
  • Present state of cultural psychology;
  • Dialectics of conformity and creativity, tradition and innovation, conservation and modernization, normative and conflict, isolation and openness, as basic categories in contemporary cultural research;
  • Dialectics of virtuality and somatics in contemporary cultural studies;
  • Personality in cultural space and time; modes of setting objectives and types of self-identification;
  • Spontaneous and organized forms of contact and mutual influence of cultures.

Methodology in contemporary cultural research

  • Subject matter(s) and method(s) of contemporary cultural research;
  • Position of cultural studies among other humanities;
  • Historical development of concepts and methods in cultural studies;
  • Basic principles of studying cultural typology and cultural universals;
  • Discoursive tactics and research strategies in contemporary culture research;
  • Methodologies of disciplines adjacent to culture studies;
  • General trends and local specifics in the development of culture research in Russia.

Historical study of cultures

  • Basic principles in studying cultures and civilizations;
  • Topical issues of cultural typology;
  • Topical issues in studying mentality in the traditional societies;
  • Beliefs, knowledge and myths in the culture of traditional and modern societies;
  • Problems and prospects in present-day mass culture;
  • Cultural dynamics (cultural accumulation and integration, transmission and expansion);
  • Specific traits of the current stage in the development of world culture: modernization, informatization, globalization, regionalization

Analysis and interpretation of cultural forms

  • Present-day strategies of analysis and interpretation of cultural forms;
  • Cultural research and topical issues in art studies;
  • Interpretation of cultural forms and general theory of artistic culture;
  • Dynamic of culture as a creative process.

Applied cultural studies

  • Primary cultural institutions and mechanisms in traditional and modern societies;
  • Cultural heritage and the primary problems of applied cultural disciplines (museum studies, library and archive studies, textual studies, etc.);
  • Problems and prospects of disciplines adjacent to culture studies (archaeology, ethnology, study of religions, geography and geopolitics, semiotics and philology, etc.);
  • Dialectics of dominating and dominant forms of culture, topical issues in studies of counter- and sub-cultures;
  • Current state of gender theory;
  • Cultural foundations and meanings of certain types of societal practices;
  • Theory and practice in culture planning;
  • Phenomenon of the city in general context of urban and regional studies.

Cultural policy

  • Optimal directions of cultural policy in the context of present-day societies;
  • “Scripts of the future” and state policy in the domain of culture;
  • Cultural identity and local versions of humanistic knowledge;
  • Structured dialogue as a basic mechanism in harmonizing relations between nations, religions, and cultures;
  • Status and prospects of the ‘Russian idea’ in context of the contemporary “dialogue between cultures.”

Theoretical and practical issues in teaching cultural studies

  • Problems and prospects in teaching culture in various disciplines (philosophy of culture, cultural anthropology, cultural psychology, sociology of culture, history of world art culture, etc.);
  • Axiology of teaching culture in schools and universities;
  • Cultural studies and the modernization of education;
  • Cultural studies and imposition of the Bologna principles in education;
  • Culture and education in the context of the Information Civilization
Agendas for plenary sessions and section meetings, poster seminars and roundtable discussions will be elaborated, proceeding from the topics cited above, and taking into consideration the applications, proposals, and abstracts received. The organizing committee is willing and ready to consider every recommendation concerning the program of the congress, as well as proposals for organizing additional workshops and/or roundtable discussions addressing particular issues in cultural studies.

Russian language will serve as the working language of the Congress. Invited speakers from abroad will be provided simultaneous English translation.

The First Russian Congress in Cultural Research is intended to be a multi-faceted forum. In addition to the academic program, there will be an associated art festival, with artistic exhibitions, literary recitals, musical and dramatic performances. The wide scope of the cultural program will contribute to building the atmosphere of a creative workshop, thus allowing the gaining of insights concerning the basic trends in contemporary culture studies via the prism of the artistic mentality.

The Second Russian Congress in Cultural Research “Cultural Diversity: from the Past to the Future” (St. Petersburg, Russia, 25–29 November 2008)

The Second Russian Congress in Cultural Research “Cultural Diversity: from the Past to the Future” took place in St. Petersburg in partnership with the UNESCO Moscow Office on 25-29 November 2008. The event was dedicated to the discussion on various aspects of cultural research and their role in modern research and education, as well as art process and cultural policy. The congress was conducted by research workers of St.Petersburg Branch of Russian Institute for Cultural Research, St.Petersburg State University, Herzen State Pedagogical University, Saint-Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Scientific Council in Cultural Heritage of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian State University of Humanities, Russian Christian Humanitarian Academy, Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, International Association 'Russian Culture' and in partnership with the UNESCO Moscow Office for Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, the Republic of Moldova and Russian Federation.
Over 800 representatives of cultural, educational and research institutions from the regions of the Russian Federation, CIS countries and abroad took part in the Congress. The attention of the participants was focused on the present-day challenges and prospects of cultural research, issues of its development and its involvement in interaction with different fields of knowledge.
The main subjects of the plenary sessions and group sessions were:
  • Theoretical, Practical and Comparative Cultural Research
  • Present-day Issues of Teaching Cultural Research
  • Basic Issues of the Modern Art Process
  • Applied Aspects of Cultural Research, Including Cultural Policy and Cultural Diversity
Within the frames of the Congress the Round Table Discussion “Cultural Diversity: Challenges and Perspectives” was held. The representatives of the UNESCO Moscow Office, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, Byelorussian State University of Culture and Arts, Russian Academy of the State Service under the President of the Russian Federation, as well as state institutions of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, participated in the work of the Round Table. The set of discussed issues included the following topics:
  • Cultural Diversity, Intercultural Dialogue and Sustainable Development under the Conditions of Intensification of the Interaction of Cultures
  • Identity in the Context of Globalization: the Problem of Integrity of National Spaces
  • Good Practices and Identity Politics in the Process of Modernization of the Eurasian Cultural Space of Cultural Heritage, “Living Cultures” as the Objects of Cultural Policy
  • Principles of Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue as the Ground for Cultural Policy
The plenary session dedicated to cultural policy was of special significance. Key-speakers were professors and partners of UNESCO Chair on Comparative Studies of Spiritual Traditions, their Specific Cultures and Interreligious Dialogue (based upon the facilities of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Russian Institute for Cultural Research). Within the frames of the session various reports on key issues of cultural policy with consideration of the international experience were presented and discussed.
In particular, the following subjects were discussed:
  • Theoretical Basis of Cultural Policy: Concepts, Models, Principles
  • Cultural Policy: Methodological Approaches and Mechanisms of Implementation
  • Innovative Projects at the Regional and Local Levels: Development and Implementation Mechanisms
  • Russian Cultural Policy in the Context of Global Processes and Tendencies
Along with the research events there took place a bundle of art shows within a project entitled “St. Petersburg Biennale of the Contemporary Art: the Forum of Curator Initiatives”.
Upon the results of the Congress the Final Report and the Resolution were adopted. The results of the Second Russian Congress in Cultural Research “Cultural Diversity: from the Past to the Future” will serve as a base for development of the concept and the programme of the International Conference “Cultural Policy and Policy for Culture”, which is due in 2009.

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