In addition to my work as a scholar and teacher, I enjoy collaborating with others to advance and support Slavic Studies and the Humanities. In Fall 2017, for example, I organized a teach-in at Swarthmore College held on the centennial of the October Revolution, and in Spring 2018, I invited Mikhail Shishkin and Polina Barskova to speak and read from their work. I have also served as the chair for the Wisconsin Slavic Conference and Member News Column Editor of the AATSEEL Newsletter.

Mikhail Shishkin: Migration Stories & the Refugee Crisis (April 25, 2018)
After working as an interpreter for refugees seeking asylum at the Swiss border, emigre-dissident Mikhail Shishkin incorporated this experience into his novel Maidenhair. The stories he presents offer a more human(e) perspective that encourages empathy, that transcends statistics by delving deep into the stories of the displaced, and that emphasizes the power of storytelling as a means to transform our perceptions and sympathies. In addition to his reading at Swarthmore, Shishkin visited Russian 053 to discuss his more recent novel, The Light and the Dark.

Besieged Cities & the Poetics of Trauma
A Lecture and Reading with Polina Barskova (April 12, 2018)
In her work both as a cultural historian of the Leningrad siege and as one of Russia’s leading poets, Polina Barskova explores the connections between art, trauma, and history. Through her lecture, we learned about how poetry both shapes and is shaped by urban catastrophes. Through her poetry reading, we witnessed this artistry in action. Barskova also visited Russian 053 to speak with students about her work.

Afterlives of Revolution: Russia Today in Context

There has never been a more crucial time to understand Russia. On the occasion of the October Revolution’s centennial, we invite the Swarthmore community to a teach-in devoted to Russia, “a riddle wrapped in an enigma.” Why do 1917 and its lasting effects matter, and what role does Russia play in today’s world? Join us for a wide-ranging discussion on these questions and more. This special panel will address a range of topics: history, music, gender studies, women’s rights, contemporary literature, politics, and art. 

Featuring Emily Frey (Russian, Swarthmore), Kristen Ghodsee (Russian, UPenn), Kevin Platt (Russian, UPenn), José Vergara (Russian, Swarthmore), and Robert Weinberg (History, Swarthmore).