ⓘ Mikhail Epstein

                                     

ⓘ Mikhail Epstein

Mikhail Naumovich Epstein is a Russian-American literary scholar and essayist who is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Cultural Theory and Russian Literature at Emory University, Atlanta, US. He there moved from Moscow, USSR, in 1990. He has also worked as a Professor of Russian and Cultural Theory at Durham University, UK, from 2012 to 2015, where he was the founder and Director of the Centre for Humanities Innovation at Durham University.

His areas of specialization include postmodernism, cultural and literary theory; the history of Russian literature and intellectual history; contemporary philosophical and religious thought, and ideas and electronic media. Epstein is also an expert on Russian philosophy of the 19th and 20th centuries and on thinkers like Nikolai Berdyaev. He writes essays on cultural, social, ethical and international issues.

                                     

1. Biography

Epstein was born in Moscow, USSR, and is of Jewish heritage. He graduated from the Philological faculty of Moscow State University in 1972. He has been a member of the Soviet Writers Union since 1978 and the founder and director of the club "Image and Thought" 1986–1988 and Laboratory of Contemporary Culture in Moscow 1988–89.

He moved to the United States in 1990 and was a fellow of Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Washington D.C. in 1990–1991. He joined the faculty of Emory University in 1990. In 1992, he received a grant from the National Council for Soviet and East European Research to work on the history of Russian thought of the late Soviet period. He write InteLnet Intellectual network, 1995 and a number of other interdisciplinary web sites in the humanities.

One of his major continuing projects is "On the Future of the Humanities: Paradigmatic Shifts and Emerging Concepts", on which he worked as an inaugural senior fellow at Emory University, 2002–03 and as a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study at Durham University, England 2011. He had visiting professor appointments at Wesleyan University 1990 and University of Oregon at Eugene 2002.

Mikhail Epstein has won national and international prizes, including the Andrei Bely Prize St. Petersburg, 1991; The Social Innovations Award 1995 from the Institute for Social Inventions in London for his electronic Bank of New Ideas; the International Essay Contest set up by Lettre International and Weimar – Cultural City of Europe 1999; and the Liberty Prize, awarded for his outstanding contribution in the development of Russian-American cultural connections New York, 2000.

                                     

2. Ideas and terms

In the realm of aesthetics, Epstein, together with poet and conceptual artist Dmitry Prigov, is credited with introducing the concept of "new sincerity" novaia iskrennost as a response to the dominant sense of absurdity in late Soviet and post-Soviet culture. In Epsteins words, "Postconceptualism, or the New Sincerity, is an experiment in resuscitating fallen, dead languages with a renewed pathos of love, sentimentality, and enthusiasm".

In his exploration of contemporary spirituality, Epstein focuses on the concept of "post-atheism," or "minimal religion", discussed in particular in his correspondence with the Protestant thinker Thomas Altizer and extensively examined in Charles Taylors book "The Secular Age" 2007 that refers to Epsteins work.

                                     

3. Bibliography

In library catalogs, publications are listed under the names: Mikhail Epstein, Mikhail Epshtein, and Michail Epstein. He has published 37 books in English and Russian, and 19 books have been into German, Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, and Korean. Articles and essays have been translated and published in 23 languages. Full list of publications includes more than 700 items.

                                     

3.1. Bibliography Books in English

  • Transcultural Experiments: Russian and American Models of Creative Communication with Ellen Berry. New York: St. Martins Press Scholarly and Reference Division, 1999, 340 pp. of 23 chapters in this book, 16 are written by this author. ISBN 0-312-21808-7
  • The Transformative Humanities: A Manifesto. New York–London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2012, 318 pp. ISBN 9781441155078
  • Cries in the New Wilderness: From the Files of the Moscow Institute of Atheism. Trans. and intr. by Eve Adler. Philadelphia: Paul Dry Books, 2002, 236 pp. hardcover and paperback. ISBN 0-9679675-4-6
  • The Irony of the Ideal: Paradoxes of Russian Literature. Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2017 ISBN 1618116320
  • Russian Spirituality and the Secularization of Culture. New York: FrancTireur-USA, 2011, 135 pp.
  • PreDictionary. Berkeley: Atelos, 2011, 155 pp. paperback. ISBN 1-891190-34-2
  • After the Future: The Paradoxes of Postmodernism and Contemporary Russian Culture, Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1995, 392 pp. Hardcover and paperback editions. Electronic edition, Boulder, Colo.: NetLibrary, Inc., 2000. ISBN 0-585-15509-7
  • A Philosophy of the Possible: Modalities in Thought and Culture. Boston, Leiden et al: Brill Academic Publishers, 2019, 365 pp. ISBN 978-90-04-39834-4
  • Russian Postmodernism: New Perspectives on Post-Soviet Culture with Alexander Genis and Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover. New and revised edition. New York, Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2016, 578 pp.of 28 chapters, 19 are written by this author. ISBN 978-1-78238-864-7
  • Relativistic Patterns in Totalitarian Thinking: An Inquiry into the Language of Soviet Ideology. Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Occasional Paper, #243. Washington: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1991.94 pp.
  • The Phoenix of Philosophy: Russian Thought of the Late Soviet Period 1953-1991. New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019, 312 pp. ISBN 9781501316395


                                     

3.2. Bibliography Books in English and Russian

  • The Constructive Potential of the Humanities. / Konstruktivnyi potential gumanitarnykh nauk. Moscow, Russian State University of the Humanities, 2006, 74 pp.
  • Amerussia: Selected essays. / Amerossiia. Izbrannaia esseistika. parallel texts in English and Russian. Moscow: Serebrianye niti, 2007, 504 pp.
                                     

3.3. Bibliography Essays

  • Epstein, Mikhail March–April 2013. "The art of world-making". Philosophy Now. 95: 22–24.