Winchester Academy to host Elena Volkova
By Maggie Jones
Elena Volkova will present “Art on Trial: Religion and Freedom for Artistic Expression” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12, at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
Hosted by Winchester Academy, the program is free and open to the public.
A Moscow State University professor emeritus, Volkova asserts that “Russian Orthodoxy, combined with the Communist ideas, produced a new hybrid ideology in the post-soviet Russia.”
She believes this religious ideology is based on a State-Church marriage and is used to justify state violence and military aggression.
She will discuss how Russian artists who dare to criticize the church’s loyalty to the authoritarian regime are persecuted, charged with blasphemy, inciting religious hatred, hooliganism or vandalism.
Volkova supports her point of view with examples of persecution in Russia, including three big anti-artist trials since 2003 – two exhibitions and Pussy Riot.
“Almost every week brings a new scandal today in Russia,” Volkova said.
She asks how freedom for artistic expression can coexist with freedom of religion, whether any balance can be found, how the state can manipulate both and what blasphemy is as a religious and legal term.
Volkova has a doctorate in American literature and a doctorate in religion, literature and culture from Moscow State University. She taught comparative literature, English literature, Bible and literature and culture and Christianity at MSU for 30 years. She is now professor emeritus and an independent expert in religion and culture.
Her published works include The Salvation Story in English and Russian Literature and “Visions of Heaven and Hell” in The Oxford Handbook of Literature and Religion.
This is Volkova’s return visit to the Waupaca area. In 1993, she consulted with area teachers and students as a guest of the Gifted and Talented Consortium.
Winchester Academy is funded through gifts and tax-deductible donations.
Volkova’s program is sponsored by Pat Hollenbeck.
For more information about Winchester Academy, visit winchesteracademywaupaca.org, follow ot on Facebook or contact Executive Director Ann Buerger Linden at 715-258-2927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.