Open Course “Visions of the Past, Histories of the Future in Historical & Sci-Fi Films”

    Evgeny Grishin, duskin drum, Peter Jones


    From 16th of April until 6th of June open course “Visions of the Past, Histories of the Future in Historical & Sci-Fi Films” will be taught at the School of Advanced Studies. The course is open, so everybody is welcome. Participants will receive a certificate of the course completion issued by SAS if they attend regularly.

    Tuesday and Thursday from 7:10 p.m. to 8:40 p.m. The course is taught in English. Free and open admission..

    This team-taught open course is a series of lectures about temporal imagination in popular historical and science fiction films. Exploring narratives of our past and present in contemporary cinema, we will discuss a series of recently produced historical feature films about Russia and Western Europe, and science fiction films. The course will go beyond true/false or realistic/nonrealistic dichotomies often applied to analyses of historical narratives and future scenarios. We will examine how these narratives tell about and reveal contemporary convictions, imaginations, and anxieties. We will consider how these imaginary temporalities enable both escapism and, potentially, cognitive estrangement to reassess contemporary situations. This open course also offers an elective seminar for SAS Students.

    Evgeny Grishin is a historian of Europe and Russia in the period of early modernity with particular interests in language, religion, and materiality.

    duskin drum is an interdisciplinary scholar, artist, performer, and the author of “Ecology. Technology. Anime” online course.

    Peter Jones is a cultural historian, specializing in the religious, political, and intellectual life of medieval Europe (c.500–1500).

    The Plan:
    • April 18/Lecture 1: Past, future, and temporal imagination (Grishin/drum/Jones)
    • April 23/Lecture 2: Film “Viking”/“Викинг” (Andrey Kravchuk, 2016, Russia) – where to begin the story? (Grishin)
    • April 25/Lecture 3: The problems of origins, continuity and destiny in the historical narratives/imagined pasts (Grishin)
    • April 30/Lecture 4: Film “Tsar”/“Царь” (Pavel Lungin, 2009, Russia) (Grishin)
    • May 2/Lecture 5: State and people in past and present (Grishin)
    • May 7/Lecture 6: Film: “Annihilation” (Alex Garland, 2018, USA) (drum)
    • May 9/Lecture 7: Dread and dark euphoria; feeling a historical moment of now. Why so much body horror and dystopia? (drum)
    • May 14/ Lecture 8: Film: “Prospect” (Christopher Caldwell and Zeek Earl, 2018, USA) ~ Hard science fiction and precarious laborers. (drum)
    • May 16 / Lecture 9: Design fiction and speculative design ~ when science fiction “works.” (drum)
    • May 21/Lecture 10: Film “Interstellar” (Christopher Nolan, 2014, USA) (Grishin)
    • May 23/Lecture 11: Whose is the future? (Grishin)
    • May 28/Lecture 12: Film: “Favourite” (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2018, UK/Ireland/USA) (Jones)
    • May 30/Lecture 13: Humouring the past (Jones)
    • June 4/Lecture 14: A time travel film blending history and sci-fi will be chosen by the group (drum/Grishin/Jones)
    • June 6/Lecture 15: Retro, mash-up, and the future past, what our past and future tell us about ourselves (drum/Grishin/Jones)