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MemberDenis Akhapkin

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).

MemberPietro Shakarian

A native of Cleveland, I am a PhD candidate in History at The Ohio State University. I earned my MA in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, my MLIS at Kent State University, and my BA in History at John Carroll University in Cleveland. My primary interest is the history of Russia and the former USSR, with a specific academic focus on the Caucasus, particularly Armenia and Georgia.

MemberSteven Seegel

Steven Seegel is Professor of Russian, East European, and Eurasian history at the University of Northern Colorado. He is the author of Map Men: Transnational Lives and Deaths of Geographers in the Making of East Central Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2018), Ukraine under Western Eyes (Harvard University Press, 2013), and Mapping Europe’s Borderlands: Russian Cartography in the Age of Empire (University of Chicago Press, 2012). He contributes to Chicago’s international history of cartography series and has translated over 300 entries from Russian and Polish for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945. He is a former director at Harvard of its Ukrainian Research Institute’s summer school and exchange program. Currently, he is a host on three channels at the New Books Network (NBN) for its podcasts, which now reach a million downloads monthly. 

MemberOlena Nikolayenko

I am an Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University based in New York City, USA. Originally from Ukraine, I received my Ph.D. in political science from the University of Toronto and held visiting appointments at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University, the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. In my recent book, Youth Movements and Elections in Eastern Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2017), I examine interactions between nonviolent youth movements and incumbent governments in five post-communist states: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Serbia, and Ukraine.

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.

MemberAla Creciun Graff

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.