Konferenssit ja seminaarit

Out of the USSR: Travelling Women, Travelling Memories

Travelling has always been connected with fundamental social and political changes taking place in societies. Throughout history, one of the countries that people have chosen to leave, move away or have been expelled from, but also a country which they have been going back to, is Russia/the Soviet Union. There is an obvious link between the large transformations that have taken place in Russia since the time of perestroika in the 1990s until the ongoing war in Ukraine and the restrictions of civil rights such as freedom of speech, and the increased mobility out of Russia.

The conference takes these transformations as starting points in examining how individuals reflect on and recall the Soviet/Russian home country in literary presentations, addressing the history of mobility, emigration, family, gender, ethnic or religious background in face of their collective memory in their new place of residence. The meeting points for the proposals are the concepts of travelling/mobility/exile and (post-, trans-/cross-cultural) memory. The focus is on women’s fictional texts and memories from the 1980s until today that allow the presentations to address and to acknowledge [e]migrating women writers as mediators of ideas and memories in trans-/cross- cultural contexts. The aim of the conference is to focus on gender in the process of the transformation of cultures through ideas that travel, and to pay special attention to women’s contribution to the cultural transfer and mobility of ideas and memories which have not been sufficiently studied and documented.

The conference has its background in the research project Texts on the Move , and it is organised by Texts on the Move: Reception of Women’s Writing in Finland and Russia 1840–2020 (Emil Aaltonen Foundation),  University of Turku, and Tampere University.

Keynote speakers are:

Eva Hausbacher, Professor of Slavic Literature und Culture at the University of Salzburg, Department of Slavic Studies. “Close distances: Narratives of the Soviet Past in Russian-German Women’s Writings”

Simona Mitroiu, PhD, Senior Researcher at Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Department of Interdisciplinary Research in Social-Human Sciencesm“Generations of Memory in Women’s Narratives: Literary (re)workings of Transnational Disruptions, Intersections, and Transformations”


Conference programme

Thursday 2 February 2023 (Edu 2, Educarium Building,
Assistentinkatu 5, 20500 Turku)

10.00-10.15 Introduction

10.15-11.00 Simona Mitroiu: Generations of Memory in Women’s Narratives: Literary (re)workings of Transnational Disruptions, Intersections, and Transformations

(Keynote lectures can be viewed also online: https://utu.zoom.us/j/61400736892)

11.00-11.30 Coffee

11.30-12.00 Ulla Savolainen: Memorability through Postmemory: Multimedia and Multi-Scalar Memory of Soviet Repression of Ingrian Finns in Lea Pakkanen’s Work

12.00-12.30 Anna Helle: Remembering the Women of the Ingrian-Finnish Konkka Family in Musta passi by Anita Konkka

12.30-13.00 Tatjana Hofmann: From the Black Sea to Zurich Lake: Collective Traumas and Individual Coping Strategies

13.00-14.00 Lunch

14.00-14.30 Tora Lane: Tensions between Languages in the Bilingual Poetry of Katia Kapovich

14.30-15.00 Jenniliisa Salminen: Finding your Language, Finding your Genre

15.00-15.30 Renner-Fahey, Ona: The Visual Unfolding of a Diasporic Identity: Anya Ulinich’s Sasha Goldberg

15.30-16.00 Coffee

16.00-16.30 Marina Sivak: The Essence of Memory in Maria Stepanova’s Novel In Memory of Memory (2017)

16.30-17.00 Fatemeh Shayan (University of Isfahan, ): Maria Stepanova’s Post-Memory of the Twentieth Century Russian History

17.00-17.30 Viola Parente-Čapková & Riitta Jytilä: Sofi Oksanen – Contested Memories in Bloodlands Fiction

18.00 Reception (Luoma-tila, Arcanum Building)


Friday 3 February 2023 (Educarium, Edu2,
Assistentinkatu 5, 20500 Turku)

9.30-10.15 Eva Hausbacher: Close Distances: Narratives of the Soviet Past in Russian-German Womenʼs Writings

(Keynote lectures can be viewed also online: https://utu.zoom.us/j/61400736892)

10.15-10.30 Coffee

10.30-11.00 Marja Sorvari: Memories and Texts on the Move: Katharina Martin-Virolainen’s Im letztem Atemzug (2019) and Anna Soudakova’s Mitä männyt näkevät (2020)

11.00-11.30 Withold Bonner: Another Museum of Abandoned Secrets: Sasha Marianna Salzmann’s Im Menschen muss alles herrlich sein

11.30-12.00 Sabine Egger: Ukrainian Women Writers in Exile as “Masters of Dialogue” in the German Literary and Media Landscape

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.00-13.30 Kristen Welsh: Decay, Distortion, Reintegration: Geocorporeality and the Female Body in Contemporary Russian-American Fiction

13.30-14.00 Inna Sukhenko: Chernobyl Experience, Migration and Radiation Literacy Synchronized

14.00-14.30 Asiya Bulatova: Irina Odoevtseva’s Memories of Hunger in Post-Revolutionary Russia and Occupied France

14.30-15.00 Coffee

15.00-15.30 Maria Yelenevskaya and Ekaterina Protassova: Life Stories of the Russian-Women abroad: Similarities and Differences

15.30-16.00 Natalia Mihailova & Arja Rosenholm: Remembering between Revival and Solidification. Observations of an Essay Collection of “Memory of Migration – Migration of Memory” in the Finnish-Russian Journal LiteraruS

16.15- 17.15 Panel Discussion with Authors: Polina Kopylova, Zinaida Lindén, Anna Soudakova

18.30 Conference Dinner




There is no conference fee, but participants cover the expenses for travels, accommodation and conference dinner. Conference dinner is optional.

Light lunch and refreshments will be served in the breaks at no cost.

Please fill in the registration form by 21 January 2023: https://link.webropolsurveys.com/S/27D44630CF3312ED


The Venue

University of Turku, Lower Campus, Educarium Building (Assistentinkatu 5, 20500 Turku)

Map available at: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Educarium,+20500+Turku/@60.4587296,22.2852424,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x468c76edfd9279e9:0xed42a4471253b444!8m2!3d60.4587296!4d22.2852424

Educarium Building: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCRno-hwYEY

The abstracts and the bios will be available in January.



Viola Parente-Čapková ()
Ennaliina Leiwo ()


Organised by the research project Texts on the Move: Reception of Women’s Writing in Finland and Russia 1840–2020 (University of Turku, Tampere University, Emil Aaltonen Foundation)