Fall 2017 Letter from the Chair
We have started the new academic year at full steam, with our classes filled with energetic students. We are happy to report that we continue to offer five Slavic languages, as well as a variety of classes on literatures, cultures, and film from Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Students’ interest in Slavic languages and cultures is not fading. As we witnessed at our Slavic languages student welcome party the first week of classes, our conference room could barely accommodate all our guests. An exciting addition to our offerings is the new interdisciplinary course on migrations and human trafficking in the Mediterranean by Professor Tatjana Aleksic. Our mini-courses on Jewish Prague, Czech literature and Slavic animation are filled to capacity.
Over the summer, our graduate students and faculty engaged in their research projects and visited Bosnia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Hungary, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, where they also presented their work at academic conferences, seminars, and colloquia. Our graduate students continue running their own groups on Russian language conversation and dissertation writing, and for undergraduate students we are offering a Russian table, a Russian conversation group, and Russian tea.
Our Slavic Colloquium series started with a highly interesting and engaging presentation by Dagmar Kročanová, professor of Slovak literature at Comenius University in Bratislava, who shared her research on the writings of Gejza Vámoš, a remarkably mysterious interwar Slovak author of Hungarian-Jewish origin whose work has generated a great deal of controversy during his lifetime and after. In October, our own Professor Jindrich Toman presented his research on the old Jewish town in Prague during the 1820s-1830s. And throughout October, in collaboration with the Language Resource Center and the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, we hosted our Slavic October Film Festival.
In addition, we are happy to congratulate our graduate student Grace Mahoney on the publication of her book of translations from the Ukrainian poet Iryna Starovoyt, A Field of Foundlings.
The highlight of the season is the Sneak Peek recruitment event, which we are organizing this semester for the first time. We received an overwhelming response from our colleagues at other institutions to our invitation to nominate their brightest juniors and seniors who may want to consider graduate study in Slavic languages and literatures. We are bringing a select group of eleven students to Ann Arbor for a weekend to give them a taste of what it is to be in a graduate school. The program includes presentations and discussions by our faculty and graduate students about their research, as well as a special viewing of Moscow’s Vakhtangov Theatre production of Alexander Pushkin’s perennial classic, Eugene Onegin. And, of course, there will be plenty of socializing.
Our future plans include expanding our collaboration networks in Europe and Eurasia. One of our future partners is the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration in Moscow, one of Russia’s leading centers of research and teaching in the Humanities (more on this endeavor in a future issue of The Slavic Scene).