Par Geneviève Cloutier
Publication en ligne le 15 juin 2013

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1The second issue of the CEES Review is the result of the collaboration between the Centre européen d’études slaves and the Quebec Network for Slavic Studies (QNSS). Most of the papers included in this issue were presented at the first QNSS conference, which was held at McGill University in Montreal in March 2011. Founded by a group of young scholars who wanted to facilitate intellectual exchange between Slavists from Quebec and beyond, the QNSS is a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and multilingual network.

2For this first meeting, which was attended by scholars from Canada, France, and the United States, the participants were invited to look into the question of the « Slavic imaginary » – a question that refers to how the Slavs see themselves and the world around them as well as to how the « Slavic world » is perceived from the outside. We notice that most participants, who came from various fields including literature, history, art history, musicology, anthropology and political science, chose to focus on the first aspect of the question.

3The articles presented in this issue are grouped in two parts. The first part includes articles that refer to the encounter (or to the non-encounter) between two worlds, two imaginaries : one Russian, the other North American. Fabien Bellat’s contribution about Russian churches in Quebec and the Soviet embassy in Ottawa deals with the question of the transposition of Russian architecture on Canadian soil. Janick Roy’s article draws a parallel between two writers (one from Russia, the other from Quebec) who were also doctors : Anton Chekhov and Jacques Ferron (1921-1985). Catherine de Lanfranchi-Wrangel and Alexis de Wrangel look into the Russian experience in North America in the 18th and 19th centuries and focus on the various linguistic and cultural transfers that occurred in this period, while Karen Ryan examines the techniques used by Russian-American writers to convey a sense of Russian language in their English writings.

4The second part of this issue includes articles that deal with collective imaginary and questions of national and transnational identity in the Slavic world. Sanja Boskovic brings out a specifically « Slavic » imaginary in her text on Serbian burial rituals. Érika Wicky, for her part, draws our attention to the problematic aspects that underlie the creation of an East-European imaginary in her text on the critical reception of the exhibition « Les Promesses du passé », presented at the Centre Georges-Pompidou in 2010 and devoted to the art of the « former Eastern Europe ». The articles of Adalyat Issiyeva and Alixandra Haywood both address the question of the creation of a Russian national imaginary through music. Their objects of study are very different, however : while Issiyeva’s article is about the work of 19th century musicologists who wanted to demonstrate that some Asian/Aryan musical elements constituted an essential part of Russian musical identity, Haywood is interested in the construction of a Soviet Russian imaginary in Sergey Prokofiev’s ballet Le Pas d’acier. Finally, Rashed Chowdhury’s contribution deals with the reconstruction of a Belarusian Tatar identity in the early 1990s.

5It goes without saying that these nine articles do not exhaust the vast question of the « Slavic imaginary », which refers to a multitude of imaginaries that have in common a space – the Slavic world – whose very unity is far from being the object of consensus. Concrete space ? Imaginary space ? This is a question that remains open.

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Par Geneviève Cloutier, «Foreword», Revue du Centre Européen d'Etudes Slaves [En ligne], Numéro 2, La revue, mis à jour le : 15/06/2013, URL :

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Docteure en littérature comparée et études slaves (Université de Montréal et Université Lyon III), Geneviève Cloutier est traductrice et enseigne la littérature russe. Elle est l’auteure du livre « L’avant-garde russe face à la “terreur de l’histoire” : historiosophie et historiographie chez Velimir Khlebnikov et Pavel Filonov », à paraître aux Presses du réel. Ses recherches actuelles portent sur la littérature et l’art dits « conceptuels » en Russie et en Amérique du Nord et sur les résurgence ...