Feeling like you need a good, meaningful laugh at the end of the most taxing academic year ever? If so, you’re in luck: on May 13th and 14th, CofC’s Russian Studies Program Director Dr. Irina Erman is co-organizing and co-hosting an academic conference on “Funny Dostoevsky,” held virtually at Dartmouth University. You can register for the conference here and it is free: https://russian.dartmouth.edu/news/2021/04/funny-dostoevsky-conference
Dr. Erman will also present on her own work at the conference on Saturday at 1:45pm EST: ““Shooting Blanks: Laughter, Misfire, and Performance in Crime and Punishment” The abstract of her presentation is below:
The ancient Greeks compared laughter to a dagger. As arsenals evolved, theorists of laughter came to foreground its explosive potentiality. This paper focuses on the figure of the explosive and ridiculous Lt. Gunpowder in Crime and Punishment. An insecure petty tyrant, Lt. Gunpowder functions as Raskolnikov’s comic double and plays an outsize role in Raskolnikov’s failure as an “extraordinary” criminal. I trace Lt. Gunpowder’s emergence from the vaudeville and read him as the nexus for Dostoevsky’s theorization of the interrelations between laughter, violence, and performance.