Research / Projects

The How-To of Bare Life

The project is dedicated to the work by Ol'ga Skorokhova (1911--1982), "the Soviet Helen Keller": a deaf-blind author and scholar, a representative of the Soviet school of "defectology" (a Stalinist version of special education and disability studies). Sandomirskaja is reading her autobiographical fragments trying to understand Skorokhodova's experience in inventing techniques of perception and communication in the absence of vision, hearing, and language (a condition comparable to what Walter Benjamin called "mere life", and Giorgio Agamben analyzed politically as "bare life"). Sandomirskaia's purposes in this project are (1) to further elucidate the theoretical and aesthetic problems of perception and language through the experience of a deaf-blind woman as a self-made phenomenologist; (2) to describe the theoretical and methodological foundations of early Soviet pedagogical psychology and approaches to disability in Stalinist culture as the practice of making the Soviet man; (3) to analyze deaf-blindness as such, deaf-blind perception and communication as allegories of Modern enlightenment in general and of Soviet literature and literacy in particular.

The results of the project are represented in articles and conference presentations, two fragments are included in "Blokada v slove..."



Project Manager

Irina Sandomirskaja
School of Culture and Education

More information

Project start: 2008
Project end: 2014


Research linked to the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe: Yes

Information på svenska

School/centre to which the project is linked