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Mark Yoffe

Mark Yoffe, is creator and curator of the International Counterculture Archive at Global Resources Center of Gelman Library of George Washington University in Washington DC. He is also curator of the Peter Reddaway Soviet Samizdat archive. Both collections encompass multimedia and interdisciplinary range of documents pertaining to political and cultural dissent in the USSR. The Counterculture collection is international in scope and mostly focuses on youth discontent and musical resistance under dictatorial and conservative regimes. He is an experienced field ethnographer having done fieldwork all over Eastern Europe, in many parts of FSU and in Latin America. He is a blogger and an author of numerous articles and two books on Slavic culture. He lectures widely around the world on topics pertaining to Russian culture. Currently he is involved in study of Moscow and Leningrad samizdat tradition. Likhachev fellowship is his first foray into the world of Leningrad literary and artistic underground.

 

I just returned from two remarkable weeks I spent as a Likhachev Foundation fellow in Saint Petersburg. My immediate project involved learning about Leningrad tradition of samizdat (underground self-publishing). But the success of my fellowship program widely exceeds my direct goals and interests. In this regard I don't even know who to start to praise first. I guess my huge thanks should go the organizers Elena Vitenberg and Alexander Kobak of the foundation, who not only made me feel very at home and cared for but helped me greatly to establish direct relationships with a multitude of colleagues knowledgeable in the field of Leningrad literary underground. Mr. Kobak's encyclopedic knowledge of his city is an incredible resource value of which is impossible to overestimate. Then I have to thank score of people with whom Elena and Alexander put me in touch who shared with me their immense knowledge of the subject and directed me further to other specialists. I am also very grateful to my fellows other participants of 2012 fellowship, because sharing the experience and observations with colleagues from variety of backgrounds and often unrelated disciplines is a hugely rewarding and enriching process. It adds freshness to your own personal experience, balances it out and it is one of the best elements of the program. Allowing us, scholars of different disciplines, to spent two intense weeks of discovery in Petersburg the Likhachev foundation does an enormously successful and important work.

Bravo Likhachevians!