Russia has returned to the world stage in dramatic fashion in recent years, with its military interventions in Ukraine and Syria and interference in elections from Macedonia to Michigan.

What is driving this aggressive behavior?  Will the current political system survive its architect, Vladimir Putin’s, scheduled departure in 2024? How should the United States deal with Russia?

The Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns will convene on October 11-12, 2019 to tackle these difficult questions. Friday night’s keynote address, and four panels on Saturday, will cover provocative topics like:

  • The prickly relationships between art and power in Russia
  • Narratives Russians construct to explain the traumas of 20th century Russian history
  • The state of civil society in Russia (more lively than is often supposed)
  • How elite factions constrain Putin’s decision making
  • The trajectory of Russia’s economic development (including the range of careers available to graduates in Russian studies)

Endowed by James Shasha ’50, P’82, the Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns supports lifelong learning and encourages participants to expand their knowledge and perspectives on significant issues.


Find directions to Wesleyan and download a campus map.

Registration will take place at 3:00 p.m. in Beckham Hall (Fayerweather Building). Program Saturday will take place in Daniel Family Commons (Usdan University Center).

Parking should be in V lot on Vine Street on Friday and E Lots on Wyllys Ave. on Saturday. 

Shuttles will be available to take registrants to/from the Inn at Middletown at various times during the seminar. Please see schedule on the bottom of the campus map linked above.


Hotel rooms have been reserved at the following location. To receive the special event rate, please use the reference “Shasha” when booking your rooms until 9/10/19:

The Inn at Middletown
70 Main Street
Middletown, Connecticut 06457
(860) 854-6300 

Friday $199/night  

Guests can also book online and receive the discounted rate by following these steps:

  1. Go to innatmiddletown.com
  2. Enter the appropriate dates and number of guests
  3. Enter promo code: shasha


Please contact Lisa Sacks (lsacks@wesleyan.edu) with questions.