Ala is a PhD Candidate (ABD) in Russian History at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her dissertation examines the nationalization of the Russian monarchy under Alexander III (1881-1894) and its far-reaching social, economic, and political implications. She holds an MA in Comparative History from Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary, awarded in 2013. Ala received her BA in Political Science and International Relations from the American University in Bulgaria in 2011. At the University of Maryland, she designed and taught during Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 her research methods course “Russian History in Art, Music, Literature, and Film.” During Spring 2017, Ala also underwent a curatorial internship at the Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens in Washington DC, which holds the largest collection of Russian art in the West. In January 2018, Ala was selected as a Cosmos Scholar by the Cosmos Club Foundation of Washington, DC.
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.
Christopher Campo-Bowen is an Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in the Department of Music at the NYU Faculty of Arts and Science. He completed his Ph.D. in musicology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He holds a B.A. in Music with honors in conducting from Stanford University and an M.M. in Orchestral Conducting from The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. He is also active as a viola player, singer, conductor, and translator. Christopher’s research focuses on music in the Habsburg Monarchy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially on the relationships between music, ethnicity, gender, and empire. He is particularly interested in the music of the composers Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, and Leoš Janáček and how conceptions of ruralness in Czech opera structured notions of subjectivity and identity. His current project investigates the institutional and imperial relationships between Prague and Vienna in the context of operatic performance and exhibition culture. He has published articles in the journals Nineteenth-Century Music and Cambridge Opera Journal and presented at various national and international conferences, including the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society, the Council for European Studies annual conference, the North American Conference on Nineteenth Century Music, and the Branding “Western Music” conference hosted at the Universität Bern. Christopher received a Fulbright grant for the Czech Republic to perform dissertation research; he has also held a Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship from the American Musicological Society and was the recipient of a Council for European Studies Mellon Dissertation Completion Grant.
Dr. Mark Konecny is the Scholarly Communications and Digital Publishing Strategist at the University of Cincinnati. He has been involved in the development of digital media in teaching Humanities for the past 15 years with many disciplines across the curriculum compiling digital curriculum and materials for distance learning in the Humanities: Art History, International Relations, Political Science, Literature, Theater, and Communications, and he has created digital platforms and content for dissemination of rare materials from archive and rare book repositories as well as promotion of digital scholarship in the Humanities. He manages and administers a special collection and research institute that deals with digital content: writing grants, fundraising, supervision, budgeting and procurement and works with issues of digital technology and its application in academic projects and implement technology in the classroom and the interface between the library and academic departments.
He is an editor of the journal Experiment, a scholarly art history journal. In addition to duties as a curator and art historian specializing in Modern Art and the Avant-Garde, he oversaw the transition of the journal from a university published journal to one published and distributed by a major European firm, Brill Publishers, soliciting manuscripts, editing prose, proofreading, revising, and placing illustrations. He has experience negotiating copyright and image right issues. He has worked on several multiyear projects involving faculty and museum professionals from many disciplines from many international universities.