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
"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
"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 email@example.com