Between Stalin and Dionysus: Bakhtin's Theory of the Carnival

Boris Groys


The essay by Russian American philologist Boris Groys and nine commentaries followed by Groys’ reply to them in this special issue: “Deconstructing Bakhtin, Carnival with Evil”, present a provocative discussion about Bakhtin’s conceptual work and legacy for education and beyond. Boris Groys argued that Bakhtin embraced a dangerous play with Stalin’s totalitarianism through fusing art and life, prioritizing cosmic carnival over human rights and by being mesmerised by dionysian passions. The following nine commentaries, written by educationalists and non-educationalists, present a diverse spectrum of reactions to Groys’ criticism of Bakhtin: from passionate rejections to sympathetic acceptance seriously considering implications of Groys’ charges. The biggest implication for education is the relationship between the teacher and the student, specifically whether the teacher authors the student and the student’s education or not. The first commentary, written by Caryl Emerson provides a brilliant overview of all these diverse positions, in education and beyond. – DPJ Editors: Eugene Matusov and Ana Marjanovic-Shane


Bakhtin, carnival, totalitarianism, education

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Copyright (c) 2017 Boris Groys

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