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MemberTatiana Klepikova

Tatiana Klepikova is a Faculty of Arts & Science Postdoctoral Fellow at the Women & Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, where she is working on her postdoctoral project about contemporary Russian queer theater and drama. She defended her Ph.D. in Slavic Literary Studies at the University of Passau, Germany, in 2019, after obtaining degrees in Teaching Foreign Languages (English and Spanish) in Yaroslavl (Russia), and Russian and East-Central European Studies in Passau. She is co-editor of several collections of interdisciplinary essays on privacy, including Outside the “Comfort Zone”: Private and Public Spheres in Late Socialist Europe (forthcoming in 2020 by De Gruyter). Tatiana’s work strives to capture and elucidate sites, experiences, and articulations of “marginality” in Russian cultural imagination, especially in literature, media, and the arts of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. A meeting point of hegemonic and alternative discourses, “marginality” as a social, political, and cultural construct fascinates her by the multiplicity of meanings and readings that may be (counter-)coded in it. It thereby has immense potential to reveal the structures of power, control, and difference that have to do not only with political oppression, but also with imaginativeness and agency, which are often overlooked in connection to (neo)authoritarian settings like Russia. Tatiana’s broader research interests include Soviet and contemporary Russian history and culture, political art, cultural privacy studies, queer studies, performance studies, and histories and cultures of LGBT communities in Eastern Europe.

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.

MemberElise Thorsen

I work as an open source/media analyst at Novetta, where my domain knowledge of Russian language and culture helps to make patterns in Russian and East European messaging meaningful and assess the contents and target audiences of adversarial messaging. In research not directly related to my job, I specialize in twentieth-century Russian poetry, especially the early Soviet avant-garde and their successive work and successors under Socialist Realism. This interest in poetry also drives a agenda of developing computational methods to facilitate the study of versification and quantitative poetics. I also enjoy the opportunity to examine other media, particularly film, as can be seen in my notes and reviews on contemporary film for the annual Pittsburgh Russian Film Symposium and Kinokultura.