Mikhail N. Epstein - RESEARCH  PROFILE

    This text was prepared by Hal Jacobs for the Provost's Office
    in March 2001.

  When Mikhail Epstein was still living in Moscow, he dreamed of
  an academic community in which people came from all over the
  campus -  theology, physics, history, statistics, biology - to share
  knowledge and intellectual imagination.

  During his experience with Emory's Gustafson seminars in the
  late 1990s, he finally found the type of community that he was
  dreaming about.

  "What's so inspiring about these kinds of seminars is that
  everybody  has a hidden biologist, physicist or mathematician inside            himself. And that hidden knowledge is awakened through dialogue with
  different kinds of people."

  Professor Epstein is a good example of a scholar who defies
  easy classification. He has shared his passion for Russian philosophy --
  as well as literature, linguistics, cultural studies, among many other
  things - in 14 books. He is widely regarded as one of
  contemporary Russia's most prominent scholars in the humanities.

  Last year Dr. Epstein was awarded the Liberty Prize for his
  contributions to Russian-American culture. It's only the second
  year of the prize, which is awarded to outstanding Russian scientists,
  writers and artists who have moved from the former USSR to
  the U.S. The other three winners have included a poet and two visual

  The year before that, in 1999, Professor Epstein entered an
  international essay competition that asked writers to describe
  different ways of looking at time - past, future and present. Out
  of approximately 2,500 submissions from 123 countries judged by
  seven national juries, Dr. Epstein's essay was one of 10 winning entries.

  He believes it's part of a scholar's responsibility to show where
  society and culture have been -- and which direction they're
  moving towards. His award-winning essay and upcoming book describe
  his belief that we are moving into a new period of creativity.

  His award-winning web site, which he calls InteLnet (short for
  Intellectual-Net), follows his belief that the Internet is just an
  instrument of the human mind to expand into space and time. To
  that  end, he created a site that would host a community of humanistic
  minds, electronically connected, that would use this web as a way
  to connect across cultures and disciplines.


  Mikhail Epstein is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of
  Cultural Theory and Russian Literature. He was the founder and former
  director of the Laboratory of Modern Culture, Experimental Center of
  Creativity, in Moscow.

  "This is an extraordinary award for an extraordinary intellectual,
  whose presence adds tremendously to Emory College and the
  university," said Emory College Dean Steven Sanderson. "We are
    fortunate to have one of the leading contemporary figures in
  Russian culture among us as a friend and colleague."

  Epstein currently is a member of the executive board of the
  International School of Theory in the Humanities (Spain),
  chairman of the National Society for the Study of Russian Religious Thought (U.S.), and a member of The Academy of Contemporary Russian
  Literature (Moscow).

  "Epstein is probably the most important figure in Russian literary
  theory in the post-Bakhtin, post-Lotman era. What he has to say
  is of  great interest to everyone interested in cultural studies." (Walter
  Laqueur, Chairman, Center for Strategic and International

  "Epstein has been a major theoretician of Russian
  postmodernism since  the early 1980s. . . . [HIS] contribution is unique insofar as he is both a major scholar and a vital participant in the cultural
  processes that constitute the focus of his work. (Nancy Condee,
    University of Pittsburgh)

  Russian and East European Studies evolved out of the Soviet
  and East European  Studies Program, which began in 1983 through federal     grants.  Currently, affiliated faculty in Political Science, History, Law, and the Russian Language Program work to enhance undergraduate
  courses and sponsor lectures, films, symposia, and workshops for local

Hal Jacobs   hjacobs@accessatlanta.com