Lauren RubensteinDecember 21, 20152min
A hundred years ago, Christmas in Russia looked a lot like Christmas in America, with trees, presents and twinkling lights. All that changed with the Russian revolution, Assistant Professor of History Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock told NPR in an interview about the history of the Yolka, or New Year's tree. "The tree comes to be seen as a symbol of both the bourgeois order, which is one kind of class enemy, and of religion in particular, which is another kind of class enemy," explains Smolkin-Rothrock. "There are very explicit statements that essentially unmask the Christmas tree for the class symbol that it is. It becomes clear that one does not…

Lauren RubensteinAugust 11, 20154min
Justine Quijada, assistant professor of religion, assistant professor of Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian studies, has co-authored a new article, together with Eric Stephen '13, MA '14 and a colleague at Indiana University, in the journal Problems of Post-Communism. Published July 30, it is titled, "Finding 'Their Own': Revitalizing Buryat Culture Through Shamanic Practices in Ulan-Ude." Research was conducted by Quijada and Kathryn E. Graber of Indiana University on a grant funded by the National Council of Eurasian and East European Research – Indigenous Peoples of Russia Grant, and included collecting survey data at a variety of shamanic ceremonies. Stephen conducted extensive statistical analysis…

Lauren RubensteinApril 28, 20151min
Peter Rutland, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, has won an $85,000 grant from the Leverhulme Trust to serve as a visiting professor at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom in 2016. There, he will be working on a research project titled, "Visualizing the Nation" with Manchester professors Vera Tolz and Stephen Hutchings. The Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Manchester is a leading institution in the study of Russian television and mass media. Rutland is also professor of government, professor of Russian and Eastern European studies, tutor in the College…

Olivia DrakeJanuary 20, 20152min
Professor Peter Rutland is the author of an article titled "Petronation? Oil, gas and national identity in Russia," published in Post-Soviet Affairs, Volume 31, Issue 1, January 2015. Rutland is professor of government, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of Russian and Eastern European studies and tutor in the College of Social Studies. The article was written as part of the research project “Nation-Building and Nationalism in Today’s Russia (NEORUSS),” financed by the Norwegian Research Council. Based on survey research, elite interviews, and an analysis of media treatment, Rutland's article explores the place of oil and…

Olivia DrakeJanuary 20, 20154min
An article by Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock received honorable mention for the Distinguished Article Prize from the Association for the Study of Eastern Christian History and Culture. Smolkin-Rothrock is assistant professor of history, assistant professor of Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian studies and tutor in the College of Social Studies. Her article, titled "The Ticket to the Soviet Soul: Science, Religion and the Spiritual Crisis of Late Soviet Atheism," appeared in Volume 73, Issue 2 of The Russian Review and was selected from among 22 entries. The honor comes with a $200 award. Smolkin-Rothrock's article examines the confrontation of Soviet scientific atheism with religion as it played out on the pages and…

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Olivia DrakeJanuary 6, 20152min
Priscilla Meyer, chair and professor of Russian, East European and Eurasian studies, is the recipient of a 2014 Excellence in Post-Secondary Teaching award, granted by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL). AATSEEL exists to advance the study and promote the teaching of Slavic and East European languages, literatures, and cultures on all educational levels. Meyer received her award during the the 2015 AATSEEL Conference Jan. 9 held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The event featured scholarly panels, supplemented by advanced seminars, roundtables, workshops, informal coffee conversations with leading scholars, and other special events, such as poetry…

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Olivia DrakeNovember 18, 20142min
Susanne Fusso, professor of Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies, is the translator of Sergey Gandlevsky's autobiographical novel, Trepanation of the Skull, published in November from Northern Illinois University Press. Sergey Gandlevsky is widely recognized as one of the leading living Russian poets and prose writers. His autobiographical novella Trepanation of the Skull is a portrait of the artist as a young late-Soviet man. At the center of the narrative are Gandlevsky’s brain tumor, surgery and recovery in the early 1990s. The story radiates out, relaying the poet’s personal history through 1994, including his unique perspective on the 1991 coup by Communist hardliners resisted by Boris Yeltsin.…

Olivia DrakeMarch 31, 20141min
Susanne Fusso, professor of Russian, East European and Eurasian studies, delivered a paper at a symposium on "Dostoevsky beyond Dostoevsky," held at Brown University, March 15-16. Merging Darwinian theory, Romantic poetry and the complexities of human morality, the Dostoevsky symposium offered multiple perspectives on novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky's work. Fusso's paper was titled "Prelude to a Collaboration: Dostoevsky's Aesthetic Polemic with Mikhail Katkov." The conference was attended by scholars from Yale, Columbia, Duke, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, St. Petersburg State University, Brandeis, University of California - San Diego, and other institutions.

Olivia DrakeAugust 28, 20132min
Chair of the Russian Language and Literature Department Priscilla Meyer and her daughter, Rachel Trousdale, an associate professor at Agnes Scott College, co-authored a paper. The paper, “Vladimir Nabokov and Virginia Woolf,” will appear in the coming issue of Comparative Literature Studies. A Penn State Press publication, Comparative Literature Studies “publishes comparative articles in literature and culture, critical theory, and cultural and literary relations within and beyond the Western tradition.” Vladimir Nabokov was a Russian-born novelist, most known for his book, Lolita (1955). He also founded Wellesley College's Russian Department and was a distinguished entomologist. In July, Meyer and Trousdale presented two sections of…

Olivia DrakeDecember 11, 20124min
(Story contributed by Jim H. Smith) Its official name was the Century 21 Exhibition, but it was better known as the Seattle World Fair, and it seemed to be an unambiguous statement about America’s aspirations for its future. Boasting a futuristic monorail and an iconic Space Needle whose elevators were piloted by female attendants wearing excessive blue eye shadow and costumes out of a Hollywood sci-fi feature, it came to hold totemic significance for a nation whose philosophical differences with the Soviet Union were being sorted out against the majestic backdrop of outer space. One of the first visitors to the…

Olivia DrakeNovember 15, 20122min
Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock, assistant professor of history, assistant professor of Russian and Eastern European studies, tutor in the College of Social Studies, delivered the Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture titled "A Sacred Space: The Spiritual Life of Soviet Atheism" Oct. 18 at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Paul Townsend, chairman of the History Department at N.C. Wilmington, said Smolkin-Rothrock was chosen because her work "explored the connections between art, culture and history." A native of Ukraine, Smolkin-Rothrock studied at Sarah Lawrence College and received her master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. She has published articles on “scientific atheism” and…