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Indigenous Literature in Russia: Yuri Rytkheu

Associate Professor Audun Johannes Mørch will give a talk about indigenous Russian literature, based on the works of the Chukchi writer Yuri Rytkheu (1930-2008).

A Chukchi woman plays a traditional instrument.

A Chukchi throat singer in a traditional dress.

Photo: Hans Petter Sørensen

A linguistic barrier

If we compare Russian indigenous literature with similar phenomena, we will soon discover that the literature is often written in the indigenous people's own language. As few literary scholars master these languages, the result has been that this particular literature has been studied to a very small extent by scientists and critics. However, the works of the Chukchi writer Yuri Rytkheu are different – after writing a few minor works in his native language, he went on to write in Russian. This enabled Mørch to study his works more thoroughly.

The Chukchi universe

The aim of Mørch's literary project is to understand Rytkheu's fictive universe, and in the extension of this, the indigenous Chukchi universe. Mørch will guide us through both shamanism, mysticism, the tundra, the Arctic Ocean and the polar sky, as well as the encounter between the Chukchi indigenous culture and modern Russian (later Soviet) culture. The audience will gain insight into how the traditional Chukchi worldview represents a knowledge of the human race and its place in nature that has been lost in the civilized world, but which can be of great value for us today – especially from an ecological point of view. Mørch claims that this is perhaps the most important reason why it is necessary to read indigenous literature in general.

Where and when

January 31, 2.15 PM, Stort møterom, Georg Sverdrups hus. Tea and coffee will be served. Registration is required due to space restrictions, but all interested are welcome. NB! The talk will be given in Norwegian.

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About the speaker

Audun Johannes Mørch is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Humanities at University of Oslo. His academic interest is Russian literature from several eras, including indigenous literature from Russia, which was the main topic of his latest publication: Between the Primordial, the Modern and the Post-Modern: The Chukchi Writer Yuri Rytkheu (2017). 

Published Jan. 19, 2020 12:19 PM - Last modified Jan. 20, 2020 4:43 PM