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The Language Created in the Gulag

March 22, 2018 @ 12:30 pm - 1:20 pm

About the Event:
The Soviet Gulag was an inseparable part of the Soviet state system. Based on the Marxian idea of man’s dialectical relationship with labor, Soviet Corrective Labor Camps (Gulag) was an institution exploiting the potentiality of work and man’s body. Official protocols and literary descriptions show us what life in the Gulag was like. In the Gulag, two opposing languages developed: one by administrative authorities for their official communication and another by prisoners for daily communication. Both prisoners and administrative authorities used codified language. While official protocols and records of interrogations of detainees represent a fairly well-developed language, the language of detainees evolved spontaneously. For prisoners it was a means of survival, while for administrative authorities it was a means of control. Examining the vocabulary and structures used by both languages, a complementary, but deep-rooted relationship between the detainees and the administrative authorities in the Gulag will be discussed.
About the Speaker:
Siranush Dvoyan is a lecturer at the American University of Armenia (AUA) and a Visiting Professor at the Yerevan State University (YSU). She did her PhD on French-Armenian Diaspora Literature in 2001, YSU. She is the editor of volumes of Western Armenian and Diaspora Armenian writers (Yeghia Demirchibashian, Grigor Beledian, Marc Nichanian). Her recent articles include “Imaginary Theatre”, in: Key Problems of Modern Armenian Prose, (ed. by: L. Galstian. Antares, Yerevan, 2014) and “The Possibility of Original”, in Matevosyanakan Entercumner 3, (ed. by Vazgen Gabrielian, YSU Press, Yerevan, 2016). Dvoyan is also the co-editor of, a platform for cultural criticism. Her research interests include revolutionary articulations and paradigmatic relationships between politics and art/literature.
Language: English


March 22, 2018
12:30 pm - 1:20 pm
Event Categories:


Room 133W, Paramaz Avedisian Building