Currently a Visiting Assistant Professor/Houston Writing Fellow in the English Department at the University of Houston.
My research interests are guided by a broad question of what inspires contemporary composers, in particular, the influence of spiritual or philosophical beliefs on their music and its reception. My current research focus is music during the last two decades of the USSR.
Denis Akhapkin currently teaches in the Liberal Arts and Humanities program at Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia, where also works as a head of Centre for Writing and Critical Thinking. His interests include modern Russian literature with an emphasis on poetry and poetics, literary linguistics and cognitive literature studies. He published a book of commentaries to poetry of Russian-American Nobel prize author Joseph Brodsky («Joseph Brodsky: After Russia», 2009, in Russian). His work has appeared in Toronto Slavic Quarterly, Russian Literature and other journals, he is also the author of several biographies of Russian writers in Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB). He was a visiting research fellow of Helsinki University Collegium (spring 2007) and The Princess Dashkova Russian Centre, University of Edinburgh (fall 2014). He holds both B.A. and PhD in Russian Language from Saint-Petersburg State University. Denis is an associate international member of the Institute for Writing and Thinking, Bard College (USA).
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.
I teach Russian language, literature, and culture at Williams College, and my research focuses on performance–construed in the broadest possible sense–in Russian culture. I’ve published on topics ranging from early Soviet show trials to the cult of personality surrounding Vladimir Putin.
I am a historian of the Soviet Union with a particular interest in the history of political ideas and their impact on marginalized members of society. My work has so far explored ideas of social rights and welfare, relief to political prisoners, bio-political approaches to behaviorally problematic children, the rehabilitation of blinded WWII veterans, and ideas of justice among deaf people during the Russian Revolution. Most recently, I have published a book entitled The Right to Be Helped: Deviance, Entitlement, and the Soviet Moral Order (Northern Illinois University Press, 2016). Through an analysis of the treatment reserved to men, women, and children who deviated from the physical and gender norms of Soviet subjectivity, this book explores the moral order of socialism and interrogates its legitimacy in the post-revolutionary and Stalinist periods.