Russian and Eurasian Studies faculty update

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Members of the faculty in the Department of Russian and Eurasian Studies take their passion for their work well beyond the walls of the classroom. Over the past year they have traveled the globe, prepared and published significant academic works, and worked with Colgate students both on and off campus. Here is a sampling of what they have accomplished:

Dan Epstein spent Fall 2011 teaching political science at the Gosudarvstvennyi Universitet in Briansk.

Jessica Graybill spent the summer doing research in Kamchatka, and is shortly on her way to a conference on Arctic urbanization in Nuuk, Greenland.

Nancy Ries has been working simultaneously on an article about contract killing as a tool of political control in Russia over twenty years, and a theoretical study of animals and war, inspired by her recent time in South Africa. Although these two projects seem quite different, they both hinge on understanding the global proliferation of small arms and the worldwide militarization of politics and natural environments.

Economics and Russian and Eurasian studies student Togbor Wentum ’13 accompanied Ries on a project for the Open Societies Foundation in the summer of 2011. They traveled to Budapest, Odessa, St. Petersburg, and Batumi (Georgia) to meet with more than 100 scholars in six different interdisciplinary programs there. Ries noted that traveling with Colgate students is always eye-opening in a multitude of ways. “You see all kinds of things through different eyes. With his fluency in Russian, and his ability to connect with all sorts of people, Togbor was able to contribute enormous insight to this project, and I was grateful for his intellectual contributions and constant good spirits while we were traveling.”

On a recent research trip to Moscow, Kira Stevens discovered the proceedings of a trial for attempted rape — from 1725!  Now back on campus after a term abroad in Geneva with a Colgate study group, she’s hard at work on a book that tells the tale of this (marvelously scandalous) case and puts it in its historical and legal context.

Alice Nakhimovsky and Dan Epstein represented Russia and Eurasian Studies on the Colgate Core trip to India (see the blog for various postings and photos). Marijeta Bozovic deserted them to speak at a Nabokov conference in Australia. She is just back from an intense month in Moscow.

Nakhimovsky is also returning from sabbatical, having completed her manuscript “How To Live a Paper Life: Jewish Letter-Writing Manuals in Russia and America, 1825-1914” together with coauthor Roberta Newman; the book should be out next year. She also translated the memoirs of Doba-Mera Medvedeva, written in 1939, about a Russian-Jewish childhood in the shadow of poverty and pogroms.

Bozovic’s time in Moscow was funded by a Colgate major grant. While there she worked on preliminary research for her second book project and to set up collaborations with inspiring Russian academics, artists, and activists. Her current research is on neo-avant-gardes emerging from post-Soviet and post-Yugoslav cultural spaces, and examines attempts to reconnect radical art and politics in the search for an alternative left to institutional legacies of the Party. In the 2012-2013 academic year, she is most looking forward to the interdisciplinary conference, “The Black and Blue Danube,” to be held at Colgate on March 2, 2013 — and to the ongoing Central New York Mellon Humanities Corridor working group, “Legacies of the Second World.” Her first manuscript, based on dissertation research on Vladimir Nabokov and transnational literary canon formation, is edging slowly toward publication.