See our CREECA Fall 2022 Lecture Series schedule here.

Past lectures are available to stream on the CREECA Podcast.

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

CREECA LECTURE: Calling the Future: What Names in Russian and East European Science Fiction Reveal

April 15, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm

Sibelan Forrester, Professor of Modern and Classical Languages and Russian at Swarthmore College

This lecture will be given over Zoom: REGISTER HERE.

Image Credit: “‘I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room’ -RB” by la.furia is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In Eastern Europe and Russia/the USSR, science fiction has often offered ways to make implicit assertions about the future. In Socialist Realism, representations of the future were constrained by Marxist theory. Science fiction enabled authors to craft more creative plots and adventures; a story could assume “socialism in space” without specifying how that happened. Naming was one narrative technique Soviet science fiction writers used to shape notions of the future. Names with ethnic and national associations, for example, were used to suggest that this future would be international. This talk will present a number of examples from Czech, Polish, and Russian science fiction, bringing in not only nationality but also race and gender, to address questions of how the names could be, or have been, effectively translated into English.


Sibelan Forrester is the Susan W. Lippincott Professor of Modern and Classical Languages and Russian at Swarthmore College. She has translated fiction, poetry, and scholarly prose from Croatian, Russian and Serbian, including science fiction from Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Olga Larionova, and Davor Slamnig. Her current research includes a study of how the Russian “technical intelligentsia” interacted with science fiction as both authors and readers.



April 15, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm