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Elena Volkova, associate professor of comparative literature and culture at Moscow State University, and Dana Heller, director of Old Dominion's Humanities Institute, will give presentations for the university's first fall Humanities Symposium, "Idiocy, Holiness and Nation (Or, Dostoevsky Meets Forrest Gump)," today.

Volkova will give a talk titled "The Divine Idiot in Russian Literature and Culture" and Heller will speak on "Idiot Nation: Divine Foolishness in American Literature and Culture" Wednesday in the Burgess Room of BAL. The program will run from 12:30-2 p.m.

The lectures are drawn from a project Heller and Volkova collaborated on, called "Face to Face," which resulted in the development of a new course in Russian-U.S. comparative cultural studies. Volkova's visit has been made possible through an IREX/Carnegie Foundation grant awarded to the Humanities Institute in partnership with Moscow State, where Heller was a
senior Fulbright lecturer in American studies for a year and a half (1997-99).

Volkova specializes in both American and Russian literature of the 19th century. She will also give talks Sept. 27 and 28.

Part II of the first Humanities Symposium, "An Interdisciplinary Forum on Spirituality and Humanities Scholarship," is scheduled for 3-5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, in the Burgess Room of BAL, and will feature Old Dominion faculty from various departments addressing current issues, problems and questions regarding spirituality, religion and scholarly work in their disciplines.

Speakers will include Elizabeth Lipsmeyer (art), Manuela Mourao (English), John Morreal (philosophy) and Austin Jersild (history). Joining the panel will be Professor Terry Lindvall of Regent University.

This article was posted on: September 13, 2000

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