Summer School 23.08-6.09.2015: “Siberian Western: Images, Symbols, Stereotypes of Western Siberia”


The summer school «Siberian Western-2015» will be mostly dedicated to the images, stereotypes and symbols of Western Siberian region which have been articulated for many centuries among Russians and foreigners. It is well known that the history of discovering and exploring Western Siberia took a long time and was unequal and unbalanced in comparison with other parts of Russia. The huge distances and the very Eurasian space established in the minds of travelers and explorers unique and strange, attractive and challenging images of the region full of natural resources, a severe climate and a peculiar character of indigenous people. Upon discovery, they transformed into widely spread stereotypes and symbols about the region transmitted from one generation to another. The radical cultural, economic changes and social modernization of the XX century brought new patterns and symbols in our understanding of Western Siberia. Active inclusion of Western Siberian region into international economic and cultural processes demands a better insight into such images, symbols and stereotypes.

That is why the summer school will offer its participants a wide range of academic lectures, workshops, round-tables as well as Russian language courses alongside with excursions and ethnographic expeditions. These activities are aimed at understanding the images and symbols of Western Siberia from a whole range of perspectives: history, ethnic and religious relations, cultural, ecological and geographical studies. The summer school program includes the following pillars:

Pillar 1 is dedicated to the Russian language courses (for beginners as well as for those who have an advanced level of Russian).

Pillar 2 is meant to demonstrate how historical memory, ethnography, the Decembrists’ movement, and a “silent” language of cultures played a decisive role in creating images, symbols and stereotypes of the region. At the same time, the school participants will have a possibility to study the images of Siberia in German literature, participate in excursions and expeditions to the historical city of the region – Yalutorovsk and the historical capital of Western Siberia – Tobolsk (Abalak Monastery) and Khanty-Manssiysk.

Pillar 3 is related to the ecological dimension of oil and gas exploration in the region. This pillar will offer a number of lectures and workshops on the regional peculiarities of ecological expertise of oil and gas industrial development.

Pillar 4 explores the contradictions between stereotypes and reality in social relations in Western Siberia, namely in local political processes, in inter-confessional relations and in business.