Dear Friends,

This spring we congratulated our class of 2018 on their achievements. We had a great cohort of 21 excellent students graduating with majors and minors in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian. Many of them graduated with dual majors and minors from across LSA. 

Over the course of the Winter semester, our language students took part in exciting activities such as our traditional annual Ukrainian Pysanki workshop, Czech and Polish Easter Monday event, Balkan food celebration, and two plays, Office Romance and the puppet show Teremok, performed enthusiastically and to great acclaim by students in second-third-and fourth-year Russian language courses. Our dedicated team of language instructors is currently developing a new “hybrid” pedagogical approach to language teaching that would integrate class instruction with web-based exercises. The pilot has demonstrated that using digital technologies greatly helps students master the intricacies of Slavic pronunciation. See article for details on this approach. 

This past winter, we hosted several distinguished international guest lecturers from Georgia, Germany, Russia, and the US, who presented their research on a broad variety of topics. At the beginning of January our faculty and students had an engaging conversation with the St. Petersburg-based Russian sculptor Sergei Alipov on his work and the state of the art of sculpture in Russia. Dr. Jennifer Wilson from the University of Pennsylvania gave a public lecture titled “Saint-Domingue by Way of Saint-Petersburg: Imagining the Haitian Revolution in Imperial Russia” and discussed her current research on film in our Slavic colloquium, in a presentation titled “Black Skin, White Snow: Sissako’s Soviet Films and the Queer Contours of the Friendship of Peoples.” Dr. Nancy Perloff (Getty Institute) presented her new study Explodity: Sound, Image, and Word in Russian Futurist Book Art, and at the very end of the semester Professor Steffen Höhne (Institute of Musicology, Weimar-Jena) gave a lecture “Kafka’s Babylonian Homeland: Intellectual Traditions in Bohemian History and the Problem of Recognition.” These events drew wide and diverse audiences of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from various departments and programs, as well as members of the general public.

We are happy to congratulate our doctoral student, Natasha McCauley, on two remarkable achievements: winning a Rackham Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award and obtaining a Visiting Assistant Professor position at the University of Richmond, Virginia. 

We are also delighted to welcome Michigan Society Fellow, Ania Aizman, to our Department in the fall. Her interests lie at the intersection of theater, literature, and politics. She will teach a first-year seminar on “Manifesto Culture: Radical Art and Thought from Russia” in the Fall 2018. Congratulations to our faculty members on their book publications: Jindrich Toman on his edition of Roman Jakobson’s anthology in Czech, and Benjamin Paloff on the translation of Bożena Keff’s novel On Mother and Fatherland.


Misha Krutikov