SUSU Scientific Literary School: “We Are Ground Breakers in Studying of Literature Process”

Over its 75-year history South Ural State University has supported development of its scientific schools in natural sciences, engineering and humanities. Among the most outstanding and young schools is the scientific literary school of the SUSU Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities.

“Continuing the Traditions and a Groundbreaking Approach Are Important”

The scientific literary school was established at the SUSU Department of the Russian Language and Literature more than 10 years ago. It studies the Russian literature process of the 20th – 21st centuries, as well as the literary theory: problems of intermediality, visuality and cyclisation in literature; genre-and-style models of literary works; Russian émigré literature (including modern works); and regional literature. The school was founded by Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor Elena Ponomareva, and Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor Tatiana Semyan.

“The scientific literary school that emerged at SUSU is the heir to the potential of scientific schools of Ural State Pedagogical University and Russian State University for the Humanities. Today we are continuing the traditions which were brought from them. But we can also consider ourselves ground breakers since our scientific school leads the way in such fields as visual aesthetics of literature, rhythm of prose, synthesis of arts, and cyclisation in literature. A substantial distinctive feature of our research activity is that we do not limit ourselves when it comes to the materials under study, we conduct research of the current literature process. By now many scientific works have been prepared on the abovementioned topics, and today our scholars are known as serious scientists, who are already acquiring their own groups of brilliant disciples. An important indicator of a scientific school is the capability of its students to perform their work without their advisor’s guidance,” stresses Director of the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, Head of the SUSU Department of the Russian Language and Literature Elena Ponomareva.

Photo: Director of the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, Head of the SUSU Department of the Russian Language and Literature Elena Ponomareva; Professor of the Department of the Russian Language and Literature, Doctor of Sciences (Philology) Tatiana Semyan

Fundamental Research and Unique Projects

Three fields have formed within the scientific school: Topical Issues of Modern Literature Studies; Semantics and Pragmatics of Linguistic Units; Russian Language and Standards of Speech. By the present moment 3 doctoral theses have been defended: on Russian Novelistics of the 1920s: Strategies of Synthesis by Elena Ponomareva; Visual Image of a Prose Text as Literary Problem by Tatiana Semyan; and Olfactorium of the Russian 19th Century Prose by Natalya Zykhovskaya. Moreover, more that 10 candidate theses have been defended at the Department of the Russian Language and Literature, including a research on impressionism in literature by Natalya Shlemova, and a research on prosaic microcycles in the 1920s Russian short prose by Yuliya Feoktistova, which has become the first scientific work on prosaic microcycles in Russia. Also unique are a thesis research by Mariia Dvoinishnikova on works by Genrikh Sapgir ― one of the 20th century key poets; and a research on modern Chelyabinsk poetry by Evgeny Smyshlyaev.

Many of the Department’s research studies are being held at the intersection of different types of art, and this explains the interest to such literary problems as intermediality, synthetism and visuality. The key task of the philology scientists is to come up with productive theoretical models, which will not only become the basis for further studies, but will also be used in educational practice. Thus, the fields of research of Tatiana Semyan is the regional literature. At present Professor Semyan is supervising a project on the Virtual Museum of South Ural Writers, on which Master’s students are working under their project-based learning programme. This interdisciplinary project will result in creation of virtual apartment museums of South Ural writers and poets. Moreover, work is underway on the project of the Virtual Museum of Topical Poetry of Chelyabinsk; and a virtual literature map of modern Europe is being planned to be charted, the materials for which will be the Russian émigré literature. The Internet portal on the works of the Russian émigré writers will become an attempt to draw attention to the topical issues of modern times.

Photo: Philology Assembly

International Projects of the Department of the Russian Language and Literature

The international scientific projects of the Department of the Russian Language and Literature should be specifically mentioned. Thus, since 2006 International Student Scientific Conference on Language. Culture. Communication is being held and is already a tradition. In October of 2018 an international round table on Word that Unites Spaces was held online on the occasion of the SUSU’s 75th Anniversary. The participants from Switzerland, Canada and Poland delivered their presentations on what the role of language arts in modern social and cultural space is.

Moreover, lectures are being read and masterclasses are being held for students by philologists from foreign universities. A frequent visitor of SUSU is a lecturer from University of Tampere (Finland) Irina Savkina, a specialist in diary- and memoir-genre literature. Irina Savkina holds masterclasses on this topic at South Ural State University. One of the long-term partners of the SUSU Department of the Russian Language is the Institute of Slavonic Studies at the University of Zurich (Switzerland). Thus, in 2018 an International Conference on The Absurd in Literature, Art and Cinema was held, the co-organisers of which, besides SUSU and the University of Zurich, were University of Lausanne (Switzerland), University of Konstanz (Germany), University of Zagreb (Croatia), University of Belgrade (Serbia), and Kazakh Ablai Khan University of International Relations and World Languages (Kazakhstan). The conference will result in publishing of a collection of scientific articles planned for the end of 2018.

Students of the Department of the Russian Language take part in all the projects starting from their first years of studies. Already during the second year of studies they are engaged in scientific activity as participants of conferences; in the course of the whole period of studies they organise and participate in various projects in a game format (Philology Games, Akuly PеRа (News Tribe), etc.), in which they keep perfecting their professional skills. Active participation in the Department’s scientific work is an important part of the educational process ensuring the continuing of traditions of the scientific literary school.

Viktoria Matveichuk; photo by: Oleg Igoshin, Viktoria Matveichuk, archive of Tatiana Semyan
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