Offering original research on Mikhail Bakhtin by leading scholars in the field, this special issue of SAQ
both celebrates the recent centennial of Bakhtin’s birth and elaborates significant new strains in Bakhtinian thinking. The distinction between Bakhtin and “Bakhtin” is a measure of the incommensurable space between the biographically verifiable figure and the one who emerges from contemporary critical applications of his work. While the inevitability of this space must be acknowledged, so too must its implications for a politics of culture where theory is concerned. Can there be a real Bakhtin, and can this one simply be the relevant Bakhtin? Is the deified Bakhtin just a reified Bakhtin?
Exploring both the dynamism of Bakhtin versus “Bakhtin” and the dynamics of “possible Bakhtins,” the contributors tackle this theorist’s range of shifting shapes, from the carnival-messianistic and the chronotopic, through the philosophic and the ideologic, to the “applied Bakhtin” of the social sciences. Bakhtin’s texts are examined in the context of work by such disparate figures as Ernst Cassirer and Rudolph Rocker, while various aspects of the academic “Bakhtin industry” are examined, including the “will to mythology by anthology” and the inequities of a world market in ideas exemplified by the resource gap between Russian and Western scholarship. The “state of the archive” is assessed by both UK Bakhtin Centre Director David Shepherd and Russian Bakhtin Archivist Nikolai Pan’kov. Throughout the issue, which is framed by Peter Hitchcock’s introductory polemics and Michael Holquist’s afterword, author and archive are continually deconstructed and reconstructed.
Contributors. Robert Barsky, Rachel Falconer, Maroussia Hadjukowski-Ahmed, Ken Hirschkop, Peter Hitchcock, Michael Holquist, Vitaly Makhlin, Nikolai Pan’kov, Brian Poole, David Shepherd, Galin Tihanov, Anthony Wall