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MemberBrittany Roberts

Brittany Roberts is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at University of California, Riverside, where she studies 20th- and 21st-century Russian and Anglophone literature and cinema. She is currently writing her dissertation, which undertakes a comparative analysis of Russian and Anglophone horror literature and cinema focusing on depictions of humans, animals, the environment, and the ecological and metaphysical dynamics that link them. Brittany has published articles and chapters in The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies and the forthcoming collections Ecohorror, Plants in Science Fiction: Speculative Vegetation, and The Spaces and Places of Horror. She is especially interested in how horror disrupts the human-nonhuman binary and in how speculative fiction reconsiders, challenges, and reconceives of our relations with other species.

MemberJulia Verkholantsev

I am a scholar of cultural, religious and intellectual history, early modern and medieval literary and linguistic culture. My publications and research are concerned with the cultural space of eastern, central, and southern Europe, particularly, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Bohemia, Poland, Croatia, Hungary, and Rus. In research and teaching, I deal with topics that include the history of and approaches to language, writing, and literacy; pre-modern historical writing and historical methods; Slavic (Cyrillic, Glagolitic, and Latin) and Greek paleography and cryptography; projects and theories of universal language; and Russian medieval and modern literature and culture. As a medievalist, I am convinced that the mapping of pre-modern Europe into the modern East – West divide creates unnecessary gaps between fields of knowledge that are inherently interconnected and impedes a dialogue between scholars who find themselves working in artificially bounded sub-disciplines. In my research and professional service I try to remedy this situation. In my teaching, I examine medieval literary and historical topics in the context of modern society and help students see their importance in the development of contemporary culture, politics, and social norms. I focus on the study of reading strategies of imaginative texts that leads to the advanced understanding of literature as part of cultural history.

MemberSusan Smith-Peter

Susan Smith-Peter works on Russian history beyond the two capitals of Moscow and St. Petersburg.  Beginning with a study of identity in the provinces of European (or central) Russia, she has branched out to investigate the regional identity of the Russian North and Siberia as well.  Her book, Imagining Russian Regions: Subnational Identity and Civil Society in Nineteenth-Century Russia, was published with Brill in 2018.

MemberGabrielle Cornish

Gabrielle Cornish is a PhD candidate in Musicology at the Eastman School of Music. Her research broadly considers music and everyday life in the Soviet Union. In particular, her dissertation traces the intersections between music, technology, and the politics of “socialist modernity” after Stalinism. Her research in Russia has been supported by the Fulbright Program, the Glenn Watkins Traveling Fellowship, and the Cohen-Tucker Dissertation Research Fellowship from the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies. For the 2019-2020 academic year, Gabrielle will be supported by a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship as well as an honorary Alvin H. Johnson AMS-50 Fellowship from the American Musicological Society. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the Journal of Musicology, Sounding Out!Slate, and The Washington Post. She has appeared as a guest to discuss Russian history, culture, and politics on NBC Nightly News, BBC World Service Television, and BBC Radio Newsday. In her free time, she performs Russian-to-English translation, does freelance graphic design, and makes loud (and soft) noises on drums.

MemberRachel Stauffer

Currently I am an instructor of Russian and Spanish at James Madison University. I have taught Russian language, literature, culture, and/or cinema at the University of Virginia, the University of Richmond, Northern Virginia Community College, and Ferrum College. Since 2013, I have worked as the Conference Manager for the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL). In addition to teaching, I am also currently pursuing a M.Ed in Equity and Cultural Diversity in the JMU College of Education.

MemberFaith Hillis

I am an historian of modern Europe and Russia, with a special interest in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century politics, culture, and ideas. My work explores how Russia’s peculiar political institutions—and its status as a multiethnic empire—shaped public opinion and political cultures. It also interrogates Russia’s relationship with the outside world, asking where the Russian experience belongs in the broader context of European and global history. In addition, I am interested in the theory and practice of the digital humanities. My first book, Children of Rus’: Right-Bank Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation, was published by Cornell University Press in 2013. ( See http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100088630). Children of Rus’ argues that it was on the extreme periphery of the tsarist empire—a region that today is located at the very center of the independent nation of Ukraine—that Russian nationalism first took shape and assumed its most potent form. The book reconstructs how nineteenth-century provincial intellectuals came to see local folk customs as the purest manifestation of an ancient nation that unified all the Orthodox East Slavs, and how they successfully propagated their ideas across the empire through lobbying and mass political mobilization. Rather than documenting the advance of “national awakenings” on the imperial periphery, Children of Rus’ highlights the flexibility and contingency of national collectives; it reveals the surprising role that men whom we today would identify as ethnic Ukrainians played in the creation of Russian nationalism as well as the unwitting contributions that Russian nationalists made to other nation-building projects that would ultimately challenge the primacy of their movement. In addition, Children of Rus’ offers a bold reconceptualization of state-society relations under tsarism, showing how residents of a diverse and contested peripheral region managed to shape political ideas and identities across Russia—and even beyond its borders. In the book that I am currently researching, Europe’s Russian Colonies: Politics, Community, and Modernity across Borders, my abiding interest in politics, culture, and ideas takes a new direction. A study of the diverse yet close-knit settlements of tsarist émigrés that sprung up in western Europe’s large cities, university towns, and spa resorts over the long nineteenth century, this book provides the first synthetic history of pre-1917 traffic between Russia and Europe. Placing familiar themes in imperial history in an international context, it treats Europe’s “Russian colonies” as incubators of new ideas, cultures, and identities that ultimately traveled back to Russia via literature, correspondence, and return migration. Europe’s Russian Colonies also argues that these unique urban communities shaped the larger societies in which they were located in consequential ways. The “Russian colonies” and their residents played important roles in the articulation of liberal dreams of universalism and freedom. Yet by the late nineteenth century, as they became breeding grounds for radical ideas on both the left and the right, they began to present new challenges to western Europe’s liberal-parliamentary order. My current research is enriched by technology, and I am interested in thinking through how historians can use digital tools to open new avenues for exploration and to communicate their findings to other scholars and the general public. I am particularly interested in using geo-spatial analysis to analyze flows of people, ideas, and commodities over time and across space. For examples of my (ongoing) work in digital mapping, see my Europe’s Russian Colonies (http://worldmap.harvard.edu/maps/6120) and  Publishing the Russian Empire Abroad (https://public.tableau.com/profile/publish/PublishingtheRussianEmpireAbroad/Languagebycity#!/publish-confirm) maps. I have held research fellowships at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute and at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, and have been awarded grants from ACLS, IREX, Fulbright-Hays, and NCEEER, among others.