Bakhtin Centre

Welcome to the University of Sheffield's Bakhtin Centre: A Centre for Research into the History of Cultural Theory.

Jessop West in the sun.


The Bakhtin Centre was founded in October 1994 with support from the University of Sheffield's New Academic Developments Fund, Humanities Research Institute and Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies. The Centre's Director was Professor David Shepherd of the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies, who was succeeded by Professor Craig Brandist in 2008.

The Centre's original purpose was to promote multi- and inter-disciplinary research on the work of the Russian philosopher and theorist Mikhail Bakhtin and the Bakhtin Circle and on related areas of cultural, critical, linguistic and literary theory.

Its scope thus already extended beyond the limits of traditional Russian and Slavic studies and as the Centre has developed and research has proceeded, it had moved beyond a limited focus on the Bakhtin Circle to embrace the study of the development of theories of culture in Russia and the USSR, and to related fields.

This approach is reflected in the projects pursued by the Centre:

  • A fully searchable Analytical Database of Work by and about the Bakhtin Circle.
  • An ongoing project exploring the intellectual affiliations of the Bakhtin Circle's work through a variety of publications.
  • 'The Rise of Sociological Linguistics in the Soviet Union, 1917–1938: Institutions, Ideas and Agendas', an AHRC-funded project under the direction of Dr Craig Brandist.
  • The Tzvetan Todorov project, which will lead to an intellectual biography of the French thinker written by Dr Karine Zbinden, Honorary Research Fellow in the Centre.

The Centre also runs e-mail news and discussion lists dealing with the work of Bakhtin and the Bakhtin Circle and of Tzvetan Todorov.

The Centre holds a special research collection of materials in several languages, but especially rich in Russian and English.

The Centre maintains informal links with researchers in many countries and has formal agreements on collaboration with the University of Lausanne, Switzerland and the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

From 1998 to 2001 the Centre published Dialogism: An International Journal of Bakhtin Studies.

Latest news

XVII International Bakhtin conference





National Research Ogarev Mordovia State University

under the aegis of Head of the Republic of Mordovia



  The main objectives of the conference: to highlight and discuss the scientific, social and cultural importance of Bakhtin’s creative heritage, the relevance of dialogue in today's multicultural world, the viability the thinker’s ideas for the development of philosophy, philology and other disciplines in the humanities in the context of globalization and the transformation of the educational environment; to foster cooperation between domestic and international research centres, universities and academic institutions through the study and application of M.M. Bakhtin’s ideas in search of answers to the challenges of the XXI century.

Click here for details

Further information is also available at the conference webpage here: 

Caryl Emerson

On Mikhail Bakhtin and Human Studies
(with continual reference to Moscow and Sheffield)

Professor Emerson’s lecture, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Russian and Slavonic Studies at the University of Sheffield, addressed some of the following questions:

• What human studies (and in particular the study of literary culture and value) can hope to do;
• How the thought of Mikhail Bakhtin can help us to do it;
• How scholars at Sheffield pursue a “philosophy of the human” through a Russian and Slavonic lens.

Every vital field that is perceived as failing to provide basic services or commercially viable goods is destined to be in a permanent “value crisis.” But repeating the mantra of a “crisis of the humanities” is a sorry way to approach the challenges of one’s job.

The task, rather, was to argue for the absolute necessity of certain threatened virtues: a serious study of world languages, human dignity as a cognitive value, organic as opposed to mechanical systems, and the empirical benefits of patience and real (deep) time.

About our speaker:

Caryl Emerson is A. Watson Armour III University Professor Emeritus of Slavic Languages and Literatures Emerita at Princeton University. She has written on the work of Mikhail Bakhtin in a number of prominent publications including her seminal book Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics (with Gary Saul Morson, 1990) and The First Hundred Years of Mikhail Bakhtin (1997) and translated texts such as Bakhtin’s Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (1984) and the collection The Dialogic Imagination (with Michael Holquist, 1981). She has also written widely on nineteenth-century Russian literature and opera, resulting in such works as The Cambridge Introduction to Russian Literature (2008) and All the Same the Words Don’t Go Away (Essays on Authors, Heroes, Aesthetics, and Stage Adaptations from the Russian Tradition) (2011).

The lecture took place at 4pm, Friday 28 October 2016
Followed by wine reception
Humanities Research Institute
Gell St. Sheffield.

An audio recording of the lecture is available here.



The purpose of this list is to distribute information about Bakhtin- and theory-related activity (conferences, seminars, calls for papers, publications, etc.).

The list is moderated by the Bakhtin Centre. The Bakhtin Centre reserves the right to refuse distribution of any message considered inappropriate to the list's purposes.

Individual research queries or discussions will NOT be distributed on this list; researchers are advised to subscribe to BAKHTIN-DIALOGISM (see below)

BAKHTIN-NEWS ( is on Google Groups.

To sign up, please follow these instructions


The purpose of this list is to encourage and facilitate discussion among individual researchers in the field of Bakhtin studies. 

The list is moderated by the Bakhtin Centre. The Bakhtin Centre reserves the right to refuse distribution of any message considered inappropriate to the list's purposes.

Please do not use the list to distribute information about Bakhtin- or theory-related activity (conferences, seminars, calls for papers, publications etc.): the BAKHTIN-NEWS (see above) list should be used for this purpose.

Please note: you must be subscribed to the list in order to send messages to list members.

BAKHTIN-DIALOGISM ( is on Google Groups.

To sign up, please follow these instructions

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