Histcon.se Time, Memory and Representation Tid, Minne, Representation

A Multidisciplinary Program on Transformations in Historical Consciousness

Ett mångdisciplinärt forskningsprogram om historiemedvetandets förvandlingar

Irina Sandomirskaja

Professor, Cultural Studies, Södertörn University


B. 1959. Professor, Cultural Studies, Södertörn University. 1991 PhD in Linguistics from Institute of Linguistics, USSR Academy of Sciences, Moscow, with dissertation Metaphoric Emotive Verbs with the Semantics of Human Conduct. SCAS scholar in 1996-98. Has written several works on the history of linguistic practices, theories of mother tounge, and theory of translation, notably Kniga o rodine: opyt analiza diskursivnyx praktik (“A Book about the Motherland: Analyzing Discursive Practices”). Co-organized the research project “Cultures in Dialogue” 1998-2001 (Baltic Sea Foundation), and has organized numerous symposia, e.g., on national identities and cybernetics.


Ongoing research

Sandomirskaja will contribute a series of studies that combines linguistic theory and film theory in exploring ways in which linguistic structure and cinematographic visualization has influenced the way time and change has been conceptualized and understood in modernity.

In European languages time is conceptualized as an anthropomorphic being capable of moving, passing, coming, going. The knowledge that “time goes” would seem intuitively obvious, but in fact it deserves close scrutiny. The question will be raised as to the evidencing of time, how temporal passage is made evident. While Indo-European linguistics supplied the 19th century humanities with a model of scientific historicism in formalized positive knowledge, Saussure’s subsequent synchronic/diachronic approach to la langue became the scientific model for the 20th century social sciences with its “snapshots” (theory and modelling) and its “serializations” (comparative/diachronic comparisons).

The project will concentrate on a few linguistic texts (Jakobson, Spitzer) to find out how they re-interpreted Saussure and shortcomings of his model. An important inspiration for this analysis is the critique of linguistics by Walter Benjamin. A parallel investigation will address how cinema makes the flow of time apparently present. Rapid juxtaposition of photographic snapshots here creates an optical illusion of movement, which is filled in by the spectator who expects time to “flow”. Today, in the post-cinematic age, the role of the cultural critique of knowledge is to make visible the invisible temporal intervals, and thus the constructions of time and history as movement and flow.


Selected bibliography


(Blokada v slove: ocherki kriticheskoi teorii i biopolitiki iazyka)
Moscow : NLO, 2013 (in Russian)

–  Blokada v slove: ocherki kriticheskoi teorii i biopolitiki iazyka (Besiegement in Language: Essays in the Critical Theory and Biopolitic of Language). Moscow: NLO, 2013. Published in cooperation with Södertörn University.

– “Bez stali i leni: Aesopian Language and Legitimacy”. In: Per-Arne Bodin, Stefan Hedlund, Elena Namli (eds), Power and Legitimacy: Challenges from Russia, London: Routledge, 2012, pp. 126-136.

– "The Leviathan, or Language in Besiegement: Lydia Ginzburg’s Prolegomena to Critical Discourse Analysis". In: Van Buskirk, E.S., Zorin, A. & Ginzburg, L. (red.) (2012). Lydia Ginzburg's alternative literary identities: a collection of articles and new translations. Peter Lang : Oxford, 2012, pp. 193-234.

– (co-editor/contributor) In Search of an Order : Mutual Representations in Sweden and Russia During the Early Age of Reason (Södertörn Academic Studies 19. Södertörn, 2003),

Kniga o rodine: opyt analiza diskursivnyx praktik (A Book about the Motherland: Analyzing Discursive Practices).(Wiener Slawistischer Almanach, Sonderband 50, Vienna 2001)

“Iazyk-Stalin: "Marksizm i voprosy iazykoznaniia" kak lingvisticheskii povorot vo vselennoi SSSR (Landslide of the Norm: Language Culture in Post-Soviet Russia), edited by Ingunn Lunde & Tine Roesen, (Slavica Bergensia 6), Bergen 2006. (Stalin as Language: Marxism and Questions of Linguistics as a Linguistic Turn in the Universe of the USSR)

Skin to Skin: Language in the Soviet Education of Deaf–Blind Children, the 1920s and 1930s. Studies in East European Thought (2008) 60.

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