russian literature

Brian Tich

portrait: Brian Tich

Focal Group(s): 
Workshop in Poetics

Alice E.M. Underwood

portrait: Alice Underwood

Office Hours: 
by appointment


Alice entered the Ph.D. program in Comparative Literature in Fall 2012. She is interested in intersections of poetics, sexuality, and political resistance in twentieth-century narrative prose, particularly in Russia and Latin America. Queer theory, postmodernist thought and aesthetics, and the Frankfurt School have influenced her approach to the study of literature. 


"Masks of Opposition: Is Pussy Riot a Drag?" Panel presentation at “Pussy Riot: Performance, Protest, and the Russian State.” Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Stanford University, 2012. 


Fluent: Russian, Spanish

Reading: Portuguese, French, Czech






A.B. from Harvard University, 2011. Magna cum laude with highest honors from the Department of Slavic Literatures and Cultures; secondary field in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. 

Undergraduate Thesis: “Rights on Parade: The Russian LGBT Community’s March Toward Equality," 2011. Slavic Department Best Undergraduate Thesis Prize; Eugene Cummings Award for Thesis on LGBT Topics, Honorable Mention. 

Yevgenya (Jenny) Strakovsky

portrait: Yevgenya (Jenny) Strakovsky

Office Hours: 
Friday, 12-2pm
Focal Group(s): 
Humanities Education

Jenny Strakovsky is a Ph.D. student in German Studies, specializing in the literature, visual culture, music, and philosophy of the long 19th century in Germany. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in German Studies from Dartmouth College and was the 2009-2010 recipient of a Fulbright Research Grant to attend the Humboldt University in Berlin.

While her background spans from the Enlightenment to Cold War literature, her current work explores the rise of individualism in Realism and High Modernism. She is particularly interested in understanding how literature depicts individual autonomy, education, and ethical responsibility through character development and portrayals of moral judgment. 

Her research interests also include: questions of agency, portrayals of artistic genius, legacies of the German Bildungsideal, Jena Romanticism, portrayals of women and gender, ethics and literature, 19th century Visual Culture, Translation studies, Digital Humanities, Humanities Education and Public Policy in post-secondary education. 


Upcoming and Recent Presentations

"Revolution as Apocalypse, Poetry as Redemption: Osip Mandelstam’s Cultural Mythology." Modernism, Christianity, and Apocalypse. Conference, Department of Foreign Languages, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway. (18-20 July 2012)

"Interpreting Kafka's The Trial through Translation: Experimental Pedagogy." Stanford University, German Studies Forum. March 2012.

"Vocation as a Marker of Moral Agency in 19th Century Modernity." ZfL Sommerakademie, “Erste Kulturwissenschaft und ihre Potential für die Gegenwart”* Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin. July 2011


Teaching Experience

At Dartmouth:

Guest Lecturer, "Beyond Good and Evil," Undergraduate Seminar, Dartmouth German Studies Department. Taught By Professor Klaus Mladek. Topic: Christa Wolf's Was Bleibt and Self-censorship in East Germany. Spring 2009

At Stanford:

Instructor/Teaching Assistant. German Language First-Year Sequence* (3 Quarters). Stanford Language Center*
Taught in German. Meets MTWThF. Concentration on Oral Proficiency.
Responsibilities include bringing novice and intermediate speakers to the intermediate-mid level in German; designing pedagogic activities that enable authentic conversational exchange and cultural understanding.

Materials: Textbook Deutsch: Na Klar!, Multimedia (including films, online videos, poetry, journalism, native speaker interviews, web content). 
computerized oral and written exams. Oral Proficiency Interview (based on National Standards on Foreign Language Learning*).


Instructor. Beginner German Conversation. Taught in German. Meets once per week. Responsibilities include designing syllabus based on student interests, facilitating improvement for students of different levels and backgrounds. Haus Mitteleuropa, Stanford University. Spring 2011.

Tutor, Language and Orientation Tutoring Program (LOT)* Individual weekly meetings with international students to improve conversational abilities, writing and presentation skills, and cultural literacy in English. Spring 2011


Professional Activities

Co-Founder and Coordinator, DLCL Graduate Working Group on Translation Studies, Stanford University. Spring 2012

Steering Committee, DLCL Graduate Student Conference: Urban Jungles, Stanford University. Spring 2012

Graduate Assistant, Humanities Education Focal Group* Chaired by Russell Berman, Stanford University. 2011-2012.

Editorial Assistant, Professor Adrian Daub, Tristan's Shadow - Sexuality and the Total Work of Art. Fall 2011.

Seminar Assistant, Visiting Assistant Professor Falko Schmieder of the Berlin ZfL. Seminar: "Surviving and the Biopolitics of Bare Life." Spring 2011.


* indicates link to source.


2009: B.A. in German Studies, Dartmouth College
Honors Thesis: Beyond the Literaturstreit: Understanding East German Literary History in Transition. Advisor: Irene Kacandes

  • This project traced the assimilation of East German artists into a post-Soviet cultural landscape in order to explore the ethical responsibilities of an artist/public figure in totalitarian and free-market societies

2009-2010: Fulbright Research Grant, Humboldt University, Berlin

  • Continuing work on autobiography and self-fashioning, research at the HU explored Goethe's Italienische Reise as a textual medium for performing Morphology.

Gregory (Grisha) Freidin

portrait: Gregory (Grisha) Freidin
Office Hours: 
Fri 1:15-3:30, or by appointment
Focal Group(s): 
Humanities Education
Curriculum Vitae: 

I am interested, among other things, in contemporary Russian culture, literature, politics and society. I am now completing my long-standing project on the Russian Jewish writer Isaac Babel. Much has been done, including a series of essays, a definitive annotated edition of Babel's writings, letters, reminiscences and critical reception (Isaac Babel's Selected Writings.  Norton Critical Edition. W.W. Norton, 2009); a collection of essays on Babel's works and days (The Enigma of Isaac Babel, Stanford UP, 2009); what remains is a critical biography of the writer (A Jew on Horseback: The Worlds of Isaac Babel, Stanford UP) which I hope to bring to a close in 2012. An essay, based on a chapter, "Odessa - Mother of Isaac Babel," has just appeared in Russian in Neprikosnovennyi zapas 4 (2011). This will be my second critical biography of a major Russian author; the first, Coat of Many Colors , a study of the life and art of Osip Mandelstam, came out in 1987 (paperback, 2010) and, selectively, in Russian in the 1990s.  In 2004, as part of his Isaac Babel project, I organized an International Isaac Babel Conference and Workshop at Stanford, producing the U.S. premiere of Isaac Babel's play "Maria" (dir. By Carl Weber) and curating an exhibition on Babel at the Hoover Libraries and Archives. These Babel-related events have received a permanent lease on life in “Babel in California,” by Elif Batuman, the events’ participant observer, who opens with it her critically acclaimed collection Possessed (FSG, 2010).

Beginning in 1988, when I first returned to the USSR since coming to the US in 1971, and into the twenty first century, the main focus of my scholarly activity (research, conferences, publications, as well as participant observation) revolved around the changes taking place in my native Russia. In 1990, I produced the first translation into Russian of The American Federalist  (Американские федералисты, Chalidze Publications, 1990) that became an indispensable text in the drafting of the Russian Constitution (1993). One wide-ranging snapshot of the changes afoot in Russia was Russian Culture in Transition (Stanford, 1993) a collection of articles, including two of my own, by leading American and Russian students of contemporary Russian culture and cultural scene. Another was a collection of eyewitness accounts (including my own) of the failed putsch in Moscow in August 1991 that marked the end of communism in Russia and the dissoluition of the USSR: Russia at the Barricades (M.E. Sharpe, 1994). Yet another volume, much broader in scope, was Russia at the End of the Twentieth Century: Culture and Its Horizons in Politics and Society, based on the papers prepared and delivered at the international conference by the same name, I organized at Stanford in 1998. During this time, I also founded, together with Robert F. Ball, a publishing venture to produce a Russian version of Encyclopaedia Britannica that has subsequently evolved, with the help of the Open Society Institute, into the on-line Russian encyclopaedia KrugosvetSince the late 1980s, along with my research, scholarly writing and teaching, I have continued to observe and comment on cultural and political developments in Russia through large-circulation publications in Russia and the US, including The New Criterion, The New Republic, Los Angeles Times, Times Literary Supplement, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Rossiiskaya gazeta, and Neprikosnovennyi zapas. As an expert on Russian culture and politicsI have appeared on the BBC 4, PBS, NPR, KQED, and VOA. More recently, I have inaugurated my own blog with the name borrowed from Osip Mandelstam's book or reminiscences, The Noise of Time.

My courses at Stanford represent the scope of my interests, cultural, literary, historical, philosophical, and sociological, but they do not exhaust them. Over the years, I have developed an interest in film criticism and photography, and I intend to pursue them in the future in teaching and research as well as practice. After completing my Isaac Babel project, I intend to turn to a volume on the subject that has been central to my research and thinking, Authorship and Citizenship: Russian Literature, Society and State in the Twentieth Century, a collection of my essays, some new, some already published. I have also continued to collaborate with Victoria E. Bonnell on a projected volume about the emergence of Russia as a nation state after the collapse of communism, Conjuring Up Russia: Symbols, Rituals, and Mythologies of National Identity, 1991-2004.

Since 2010, I have been keeping a blog, The Noise of Time/TNT, where I publish occasional pieces on Russian film, photography, and other odd subjects, like Leo Tostoy and the ife of bees.

On 1/1/2013, I became professor emeritus, recalled to duty in 2013-2015, that is to say, I will continue to be fully involved in the academic life of the department, DLCL, and the university, including teaching and advising, at least, for the next two years (through the fall quarter of AY 2014-2015).


Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of California at Berkeley, 1978.
Brandeis University, 1972.
The First State Institute of Foreign Languages, Moscow, USSR, 1969-71.


Luke Parker

Jason Cieply

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