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Graduate Students

I am delighted to welcome you to the website of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan. Let me take this opportunity to provide you with some information about our graduate program and about some innovations that we have implemented.

Our graduate program, like most in the U.S., in the past focused primarily on Russian literature in preparing students for the Ph.D. degree and a career in research and teaching, although we have always also required knowledge of a second Slavic language and literature as well. We anticipate this Russian "track" as still being a frequent choice for our students. Our faculty teaching courses in Russian literature includes Professors Michael Makin, Olga Maiorova, Sofya Khagi, Benjamin Paloff and myself. Together we cover all periods of Russian literature, from the oldest periods to the present, in a series of six survey courses. In addition, we offer courses and seminars on major authors (for example, Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov and Nabokov) as well as on a growing number of special topics (like national identity, modernism, social fiction, dystopian literature, post-modernism, literature of the provinces).

Our curricular innovations allow students to make an East or Central European literature and culture (for example, Polish, Czech, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Yiddish) a major focus, with a second language and literature (usually Russian) in a supporting cross-cultural role. Our faculty greatly enhance our ability to offer such a program, because they have major research interests in areas other than Russian literature: Prof. Jindrich Toman in Czech literature, art and visual culture; Prof. Olga Maiorova in Russian cultural history, nationalism, and empire studies; Prof. Herbert Eagle in Russian and East European cinema; Prof. Tatjana Aleksic in comparative Serbian, Greek and other Balkan literatures, film and media, myth, nationalism, as well as literary and critical theory; Prof. Sofya Khagi in the interaction between Russian and Baltic literatures; Prof. Benjamin Paloff in Polish literature and in comparative study of Russian, Polish and Czech literatures; Prof. Andrew Herscher in Central and East European architecture, urbanism and visual culture; and me in Yiddish and Russian literature of the modern period. Our faculty actively mentor graduate students and encourage work in cross-cultural and interdisciplinary areas.

The Slavic Department has long been known for its curricular breadth as well as for its strong ties with other units across the University, such as the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, the Department of Comparative Literature, and the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES). In CREES, our graduate students can interact in seminars, lectures and brown bags with professors from other disciplines (History, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, Art, Music) whose work centers on Russia, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Students are also able to pursue Graduate Certificates in areas such as Judaic Studies, Screen Arts and Cultures, Museum Studies, and German Studies, to name a few. The Slavic Department, the Center, and the other University of Michigan departments offer you prominent scholars who can help direct graduate students’ studies and research in a range of areas which few other universities can match. 

For more information about our department, see our newsletter The Slavic Scene, and take some time to explore our website. If you have any questions or would like more detailed information about our program, don’t hesitate to contact me or my assistant at or 734-764-5355.


Mikhail Krutikov, Chair