International conference for bicentennial of Mikhail Bakunin
Pryamukhino (Tver’ region), Russia
July 12-13, 2014
On May 30, 2014 we will be celebrating 200 years of Mikhail Bakunin (1814 – 1876), a famous activist of the Russian and international revolutionary movement, a social thinker and one of the founders of the international anarchist movement.
From his arrival to the Moscow philosophical circle of Stankevich in the 1830s and then to the European revolutionary circles in the 1840s, Bakunin attracted attention of his contemporaries. He has influenced the history of the Russian and international revolutionary, social liberation and anarchist movements of the XIXth and XXth centuries in some decisive ways. Bakunin’s libertarian socialist ideas also featured a visionary critique of the “state socialism” well before this political model was implemented in the Soviet Union and the countries of the “Eastern bloc”. His critique of religion, patriotism, liberalism, the principles of authority and hierarchy remains modern even a century and a half later, in the XXIst century.
In Russia Bakunin’s name and ideas were subject to censorship and slander first during the Tsarist regime and later during the “Communist” power. His works were almost completely banned and remained unpublished for half a century. His activities were either silenced or presented in a caricatured manner. Unfortunately, this tradition continues to exist in our times as well. The number of honest, objective studies of Bakunin’s life and ideas in Russia remains very limited, while foreign studies are still not always accessible or known to Russian researchers. (Likewise, Russian studies of Bakunin are not always known to foreign researchers due to language and informational barriers.)
It is no coincidence that the controversial figure of Mikhail Bakunin is often subject to rushed and subjective judgements, he is still a victim of misinformation and ideological aberrations, which are the legacy of the hegemony of liberal, conservative and Marxist traditions.
In the village of Pryamukhino, where Bakunin was born, for more than ten years now (since 2001) annual summer conferences, the Pryamukhino Readings, are held. This is an independent space for discussing anarchist philosophy, its actual ideas and practices, the history of the Russian and international anarchist and liberatory movements, the history of the Bakunin family and the life and ideas of its most famous member, Mikhail. (Minutes of these annual conferences are available in Russian at http://bakunin-fund.hut2.ru and are also published in a book form.)
The organizing committee of the Pryamukhino Readings, ahead of the bicentennial of Mikhail Bakunin, invites you to participate in an international conference, which will be devoted to discussions about his life and ideas. We aim to get together the researchers of Bakunin and all those inspired by his ideas. We hope that such a conference in Russia will be just one in a series of events marking Bakunin’s 200th birthday. We invite historians, social scientists, other researchers, Bakunin enthusiasts and anybody who is interested in Bakunin and anarchism, past and present, to participate. We hope that the conference in Pryamukhino will be a platform for mutually beneficial exchange of information and ideas between Russian and foreign researchers and anarchists and will serve to improve the links between them. We look forward to have an active discussion about the relevance of the ideas and activities of this great rebel to the modern world.
Our conference will be held on July 12-13, 2014 (exact dates may change a little, but not radically – we plan to hold the conference in mid-July). We invite organizers of similar events marking Bakunin’s bicentennial to coordinate the time of their events so that potential participants have a chance to take part in all of them without the dates clashing.
The working languages of the Pryamukhino conference will be English and Russian. You can communicate with the organizers by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We ask you to send the proposed topics and theses of reports to us no later than December 1, 2013. Complete texts of reports should be provided not later than January 31, 2014, so that we have enough time to translate them into Russian.
We will be in touch with all those who inform us about their wish to take part in the conference, and will send updates on the details or possible changes of schedule.
We would be very interested to learn about any other events marking Bakunin’s 200th jubilee and exchange information with their organizers.
We would be grateful if you spread, publish, translate this text into any other languages so that as many people as possible learn about this conference. (We are sending out this text in English, French and Russian.)
If you specialize in studies related to Mikhail Bakunin, we also invite you to participate in a newly created English-language electronic mailing list ‘Bakunin Studies’, which will be used for exchange of information between researchers (write a letter to email@example.com in order to be included).
Organizing committee of Pryamukhino Readings 2014,
International conference marking 200 years of Mikhail Bakunin