hpscesee&CHORUS book talk: The Future of Immortality in Contemporary Russia

The virtual platform HPS.CESEE and CHORUS: Colloquium for the History Of Russian Science are proud to present the global book talk “The Future of Immortality: Remaking Life and Death in Contemporary Russia”. Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov (St. Petersburg) and Alexei Yurchak (Berkeley, CA) will join with Anya Bernstein (Cambridge, MA), to discuss her recently published book “The Future of Immortality: Remaking Life and Death in Contemporary Russia” (Princeton 2019) [1], in a discussion moderated by Slava Gerovitch (MIT). It is part of a series of open zoom events aiming to foster the discussion of new books and approaches within the history of science and scholarship (broadly understood) in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe.

The Future of Immortality profiles a diverse cast of characters, from the owners of a small cryonics outfit to scientists inaugurating the field of biogerontology, from grassroots neurotech enthusiasts to believers in the Cosmist ideas of the Russian Orthodox thinker Nikolai Fedorov. Bernstein puts their debates and polemics in the context of a long history of immortalist thought in Russia, with global implications that reach to Silicon Valley and beyond. If aging is a curable disease, do we have a moral obligation to end the suffering it causes? Could immortality be the foundation of a truly liberated utopian society extending beyond the confines of the earth—something that Russians, historically, have pondered more than most? If life without end requires radical genetic modification or separating consciousness from our biological selves, how does that affect what it means to be human?.”

Friday, February 5, 18:00-20:00 Central European Time (CET) / 20:00-22:00 MSK/ 12:00-14:00 EST

The meeting is free and open to the public. To receive the link, please register here: https://www.eventbrite.de/e/hpsceseechorus-book-talk-the-future-of-immortality-in-contempo… or write to hps.cesee@gmail.com.

[1] Anya Bernstein, The Future of Immortality: Remaking Life and Death in Contemporary Russia, Princeton, NJ, 2019.


Anya Bernstein is Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University and the author of Religious Bodies Politic: Rituals of Sovereignty in Buryat Buddhism. Her most recent book The Future of Immortality: Remaking Life and Death in Contemporary Russia received William A. Douglass Book Prize in Europeanist Anthropology, Society for the Anthropology of Europe.

Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov is Associate Professor in Anthropology at the Department of History, Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg and the editor of Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale. His publications include The Social Life of the State in Subarctic Siberia (2003) and Two Lenins: A Brief Anthropology of Time (Press 2017)

Slava Gerovitch is historian of science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the author of From Newspeak to Cyberspeak: A History of Soviet Cybernetics (2002) and Soviet Space Mythologies (2015).

Alexei Yurchak is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation. He is currently working on a book on the political, cultural and biochemical history of the preserved bodies of Lenin and other communist leaders.