Uppsala International Literature Festival 23-25 March 2023

  • Date:
  • Location: Uppsala stadsteater, Uppsala konstmuseum etc.
  • Website
  • Organiser: Democracy and Higher Education in Collaboration with the Uppsala International Literature Festival
  • Contact person: Christina Kullberg
  • Kulturevenemang

Democracy and Higher Education in collaboration with Uppsala International Literature Festival

This year’s literature festival focuses on how war and crime are portrayed in literature seen as a site of problematisation as well as reconciliation of abuse by individuals, institutions and states. In these times when open dialogue is threatened even in stable democracies, collaborations between research and culture are even more important. Literature’s ability to foreground different perspectives, to give a voice to the marginalised, and to bring complexities to life, sheds light on the present state and future of democracy that research needs to take advantage of. Conversely, researchers bring an important historical and social context to the questions literature poses.

Democracy and Higher Education are co-organisers of two events on the festival program. We are present at the start of the festival at Uppsala stadsteater on Friday, March 23. Christina Kullberg, professor of French literature at Uppsala University and also our project leader will present an introduction to the role of literature in democratisation. This will be followed by a discussion on how neo-Soviet myths and narratives underpin Russian imperialism. Throughout this year of illegal invasion and warfare, Russia’s military has suffered setback after setback. But in Russia the imperialist mindset that drove Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine appears to have seeped deep into Russian life. Maria Engström, professor of Russian at Uppsala University, will present the background to this as she outlines how the “neo-Soviet myth” was created by historical revisionism and the revival of Soviet mechanisms and structures.

Later, we can hear the award-winning Russian author Sergey Lebedev who, in his latest essay, “Sandarmoch – When the graves speak,” examines the brutality of the Russian army in Ukrainian cities and draws connections with the trial of the historian who mapped the mass graves from the Stalinist terror of the thirties. He will have a conversation with the poet Ida Börjel whose latest book Call Home (Ringa hem) contains a series of documentary poems in which Börjel interprets mobile phone calls from Russian soldiers at the Ukrainian front that were intercepted by the Ukrainian security service.

We are also convening a panel discussion looking at the Institute of Racial Biology to be held at the Uppsala Art Museum on Saturday, March 24. Ola Larsmo who recently released Lesson 11 (Lektion 11), and the poet Burcu Sahin, whose latest collection of poetry is Blood Book (Blodbok), will talk with the historian of ideas Sven Widmalm. Here, poetry, prose and science will bring different perspectives on the legacy of the Institute of Racial Biology in order to examine how power, institutionalisation and “science” exercise oppression.

Other highlights of the program are conversations with the Turkish author and Tucholsky Prize winner Asli Erdoğan. For the entire program see: www.uppsalalittfest.org


For contact, interview requests, etc,
- Artistic director Kholod Saghir kholod_s@hotmail.com, 070-4199480
- Project manager for Democracy and Higher Education Christina Kullberg, christina.kullberg@moderna.uu.se, 018-471 1442.