Home Up people program

Conference Participants and Guests

Conference Organizing Committee:


Grisha Freidin


Gabriella Safran


Steven Zipperstein


bulletRobert Alter, University of California at Berkeley. Ph.D. Harvard University, 1962. Professor Alter has taught at Berkeley since 1967. He has published widely on the modern European and American novel, on modern Hebrew Literature, and on literary aspects of the Bible. The 1995 recipient of the Scholarship Award for Social and Cultural Studies of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, Prof. Alter is the author of two prize winning volumes on literary aspects of the Bible, his works include Necessary Angels: Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin, and Scholem (1991), The World of Biblical Literature (1992) and Hebrew and Modernity (1994). His most recent work is Canon and Creativity: Modern Writing and the Authority of Scripture (2000).
Robert Alter
bulletCarol Avins, Rutgers University, specializes in twentieth-century Russian literature, particularly the 1920's and 1930's. Her research focuses principally on how writers made sense--and art--of the radical reshaping of society following the Bolshevik Revolution. In Border Crossings: The West and Russian Identity in Soviet Literature, 1917-1934 she explores how post-revolutionary writers probed the redefinition of national and individual identity. Her more recent work focuses on Isaac Babel, a major figure of this period, whose stories confront the means and ends of societal transformation and its consequences for the individual life. In her teaching, which ranges far beyond Soviet literature into such areas as the novels of Vladimir Nabokov and literary responses to the Holocaust, Prof. Avins is also interested in the collision of the political and personal spheres.
bulletPatricia Blake, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University. Patricia Blake's career has largely been as a journalist with an abiding interest in Russian literature of the Soviet period. She was a correspondent in the Soviet Union for Time-Life and the consultant on Soviet affairs for Time in New York. She has edited five collections in English translation of Soviet-era Russian literature --some with Max Hayward--including Dissonant Voices in Soviet Literature, Halfway to the Moon: New Writing from Russia, Writers in Russia, and two books of poetry, one of Mayakovsky and the other of Voznesensky. She is currently an Associate of Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, and is writing a biography of Babel.
bulletOleg Budnitsky, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Senior Fellow of the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Director, International Center for Russian & East European Jewish Studies.
He has authored or edited over 150 publications on 19th- and 20-century Russia, the revolutionary movement, Jewry during the Russian Revolution and Civil War and Russian emigration. These include, most recently: Terrorizm v rossiiskom osvoboditel’nom dvizhenii: Ideologiia, etika, psikhologiia (2000), Evrei i russkaia revolutsiia: Materialy i issledovaniia (editor, 1999), Sovershenno lichno i doveritel’no! V.A.Maklakov i B.A.Bakhmetev correspondence, 1919-1951, in 3 vols. (editor, 2001-2002), Russia and the Russian Emigration in Memoirs and Diaries: An Annotated Bibliography, 1917-1991 (co-editor, 2003)
bullet Oksana Bulgakowa, Stanford University, includes among her research interests Russian and European Avant-garde; Soviet Art and Literature of Stalinist Period; body images and body language through film and visual art; films of Russian Émigrés in Europe and the United States; the reciprocal impact and interdependency of German and Russian film in the 1920s
bulletMarietta Chudakova, Institute of Literature, Moscow
bulletGregory Freidin, Stanford University, conceived the idea of writing a book about Babel while reading Philip Roth's The Ghost Writer back in 1980 at Princeton, where he was doing research on Osip Mandelstam. The result was a series of articles and a long biographical essay, "Isaac Babel," published in European Writers (1990). Books, articles (some on Babel), one revolution, and one coup later, Freidin has returned to his old flame--only to discover that it, too, has changed. The Other Babel is a book-length biographical essay he hopes to complete this year.
bullet Monika Greenleaf, Stanford University, includes among her research interests The theory and practice of eighteenth-century autobiography, Catherine the Great, the poetics of Empire and subjectivity, Pushkin and Romanticism, Pushkin and the modernists, comic prose of Gogol, Tsvetaeva, and Nabokov, visual art, film and poetics, women's poetry, the novel. She is the author of Pushkin and romantic fashion : fragment, elegy, Orient, irony (1994) adn co-editor of Russian Subjects: empire, nation, and the culture of the Golden Age (1998)
bulletMichael Gorham, Associate Professor of Russian at the University of Florida at Gainsville, is the author of Speaking in Soviet Tongues : Language Culture and the Politics of Voice in Revolutionary Russia (2003).
bullet Zsuzsa Hetényi, Associate Professor at Russian Department, Eötvös Loránd University, ELTE, Budapest. Research interests: The Russian Prose in the 20th century, Russian?Jewish Culture and Literature, The Problems of Eschatology and Messianism in Russian Literature, Theory, history and practice of literary translation
bulletDr. Reinhard Krumm, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and Germany. Reinhard Krumm, born in Hamburg, Germany in 1962, received his M.A. in Russian History and Slavistics. After working two years for Newsweek as a photographer in New York in the late 1980's, he went in 1991 to the former Soviet Union, where he wrote for the Russian news agency Itar-Tass, the Berlin paper Der Tagesspiegel and, in Riga, for the German press agency dpa. In 1996 he became the Moscow correspondent for the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, where he got interested in the life and works of Isaac Babel. Upon his return to Hamburg for Der Spiegel in 1998, he continued researching and writing a biography of this extraordinary writer. He also finished his PhD. Since 2003 he has been the project coordinator for Central Asia for the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, a German political foundation, and living in Tashkent, Uzbekistan with his family.
bulletGabriella Safran, Stanford University, includes among her interests Nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Russian literature; Polish literature; Yiddish literature; Jewish Studies; folklore; Realism; the aesthetics of ethnicity; the relationship between sacred and secular writing


bulletEfraim Sicher, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. Sicher hangs around the Foreign Literatures Department of Ben-Gurion University.  He is well-known for his Babelomania, symptoms of which appear in his two Russian editions of the prose works of the master, and a book Style and Structure in the Prose of Isaac Babel (1986 and still in print). He will talk about Babel in the context of Bialik and other writers beginning with B, as well as some who do not.


bullet Alexander Zholkovsky, University of  Southern California. Professor Zholkovsky researches Russian literary studies, with a focus on Soviet Aesopian "art of adaptation", the poetics of bad writing and intertextuality. He studies the power of grammar in Russian literature, authoring numerous publications that examine how modern Russian writers are engaged in reinterpretive dialogue with previous generations of Russian literary masters. He also studies Russian writers whose works span generations, including Karamzin, Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Babel and Akhmatova, among others.
bulletSteven Zipperstein, is the he Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University. He is the author of several monographs, including Imagining Russian Jewry: Memory, History, Identity (1999) and The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History, 1794-1881 (1985).
bulletTianbing Wang was born in Xi'an, P.R. China. He studies Computer Engineering and Art at Stanford, learning about Isaac Babel in a creative writing class. He has published six books in China, including  the screenplay "Red Cavalry" (Writers Publishing House, Beijing, 1999), and A Critique of Western Modern Art (1998), a translation of Frank Auerbach by Robert Hughes  (2003). He is now collaborating with Delin Ma on a screen version of Babel's Red Cavalry.
bulletDelin Ma was born in Xi'an China too.
He has been the cinematographer in more than twenty films, including the "Knight of the double flag town," 1992, which is considered the first
Chinese Western and is still studied in film schools as a classic in China. He won the Chinese Cinematographers Society Best Cinematography Award for this film in 1992. The film adaptation of Babel's Red Cavalry, called "Qi Bing Jun", will be his director debut.

Delin Ma is also a horse lover and a fine horse rider. He fell in love with Babel's vision immediately after he read Tianbing Wang's script in 1999 and he is determined to make
a compelling Chinese version of it now.

Conference Guests


bulletNathalie Babel, Washington, D.C.
bulletLydia Maleva-Babel, Silver Spring, Maryland
bulletPeter Constantine, NYC
bulletAntonina Pirozhkova, Silver Spring, Maryland
bulletDelin Ma, Beijing
bulletTianbing Wang, Beijing and San Francisco Bay Area

last updated: 02/16/2004