Irina Denischenko

Student, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Columbia University

Heyman Center Fellow (Graduate Student) 2016 - 17

Project Description:

The focus of Irina Denischenko’s dissertation research is the status of words in avant-garde poetry, visual arts, and literary theory of Central and Eastern Europe in the 1910s and the 1920s. Her dissertation examines different figurations of the crisis of language that pervade poetic theory and practice at the turn of the 20th century and considers how artists attempted to overcome this crisis. She compares the visual poetry of the Russian Futurists, Hungarian Activists, and Czech Poetists and frames their experimentation with words and images as attempts to renew language. She also considers how, in an effort to save language from what is perceived as a fallen state, these literary movements entered into dialogue with contemporaneous theorizations of language and literature by the Russian Formalists, Prague Structuralists, and the Bakhtin Circle. Complicating the common view that circulation and exchange are responsible for parallel developments within literary and theoretical avant-gardes in Central and Eastern Europe, Denischenko offers a discursive model of the intellectual dialogue between these heterogeneous movements. During the Heyman Fellowship year, she was working towards the completion of two projects: the first involved rethinking the theoretical framework of her dissertation, emphasizing the significance of comparative methods for her dissertation topic; and the second was to complete an article, entitled “Beyond Reification: Mikhail Bakhtin’s Critique of Violence in Cognition and Representation,” which will appear in the “Bakhtin Forum” in the Slavic and Eastern European Journal 61.2 this fall.

Irina Denischenko is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages at Columbia University, where she received her M.A. and M.Phil degrees in Slavic and Comparative Literature. She also holds an M.A. degree in History from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Philosophy from Stanford University. Her areas of interest include literary theory, philosophy of language, and the avant-garde of Central and Eastern Europe.