Slavic Languages and Literatures

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Discover the languages, literatures and cultures of Russia and Eastern Europe.

courtesy of Margarita Nafpaktitis

Andy Kaufman on Katie Couric Show

Slavic Department Lecturer Andy Kaufman appeared recently on "Katie" to discuss his work reading Russian literature with incarcerated youth at Beaumont Juvenile Correction Center, as well as his new book, Give "War and Peace" a Chance: Tolstoyan Wisdom for Troubled Times.  His innovative service-learning course, "Books Behind Bars" trains UVa undergrads to discuss classics of Russian literature with peers at the facility.  Meanwhile his book, out recently from Simon and Schuster, approaches Tolstoy's mammoth novel by focusing on a dozen key themes: plans, imagination, rupture, success, idealism, happiness, love, family, courage, death, perseverance, and truth.  Kaufman argues that the novel, and Tolstoy himself, can speak to us in transformative and surprisingly modern ways.  Click the links below for an excerpt from "Katie" and a UVa Today article on Kaufman.

UVa Today

"Katie" episode

Two Slavic Majors Win Major National Awards

Congratulations to two 2013 graduates who won major fellowships. Hillary Hurd, of Richmond, is the recipient of a Marshall Fellowship. Hillary, who was also the student representative to the University's Board of Visitors, will study International Relations at the University of Cambridge in 2013-14 and at St. Andrews the following year. Ben Bissell, from Fairfax Station, won a Luce Scholarship to study at the Population Research Institute of East China Normal University in Shanghai for a year, after which he intends to pursue a PhD in the political demography of the Slavic world. Both students were Slavic and Politics Honors double majors. Поздравляем!

Graduate Funding

The Slavic Department offers competitive financial aid packages for graduate study. Outstanding applicants are eligible for 5-year support packages at a minimum annual stipend of about $18,000, plus health insurance, for a total of about $20,000 yearly or $100,000 in total. For more information, contact our Director of Graduate Studies, Edith Clowes, at .

Russian Apartment (Русская квартира)

The Russian Apartment (new beginning in 2014-2015) is a Russian-language residential facility for undergraduates and graduate students. It is the hub of cultural and social life for students and faculty affiliated with the Department.

Tea and Conversation

Alternating Tuesdays during the Fall and Spring semesters, 7:00-8:30pm at various locations (email to receive updates)

More on the Russian Apartment:


2014 Slavic Film Series

Slavic Lecturer, Yuri Urbanovich, moderated and participated in a critical discussion of the film "Red Army" at this year's Virginia Film Festival. Red Army is a documentary focusing on the Soviet Union's Red Army hockey team as a form of propaganda during the height of Cold War tensions. Director Gabe Polsky framed the experience largely through the eyes of its team captain Slava Fetisov, one of the most celebrated Soviet players of all time, who became a political enemy when he decided to defect to America and play in the NHL. This screening was part of the larger Berlin Wall Symposium marking the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
More information on the film can be found at:

Slavic Lecturer, Yuri Urbanovich, discusses Russian politics on American Forum - The Mind of Vladimir Putin. American Forum is a one-hour public-affairs television program taped before a live audience at the University of Virginia's Miller Center. The program is broadcast on more than 90 PBS stations around the United States.

Slavic instructor, Andy Kaufman, discusses his course, "Books Behind Bars", on local radio podcast, With Good Reason (begins at 14:22)


Recent Graduate Student Publications

Michael Marsh-Soloway - "Unseen Beauty, Shadows of Liminal Space, and the Caustic Passions of Exile: The Life and Writings of M. Yu. Lermontov", Critical Insights: Russia's Golden Age, 2014.

Kathleen Thompson - "Stranger in a Familiar Land: Gary Shteyngart's Evolving Search for Self," Brown Slavic Contributions, Spring 2013.

Reed Johnson - "The Unread: The Mystery of the Voynich Manuscript," The New Yorker Online, July 2013.

Reed Johnson - "If Holden Caulfield Spoke Russian," The New Yorker Online, September, 2013.

Katya Jordan - "Dunia’s Progress, Samson’s Decline, and Pushkin’s Modernity: Decrypting the German Pictures in 'The Stationmaster," Ulbandus, 2013.




2014-2015 Events

LECTURE: Karen Evans-Romaine - Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature, Director of Russian Flagship Center - University of Wisconsin-Madison. "The Russian Flagship: Teaching Future 'Global Professionals' and Learning from Our Students." September 18, 2014, 5:00pm.

LECTURE: Kyrill Kunakhovich - Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History - College of William & Mary. "Beyond Socialist Realism: Rethinking Art and Politics in the Soviet Bloc." October 29, 2014, 1:15pm, Nau 342.

LECTURE: Tedo Japaridze - Chair of the Georgian Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs. "The Republic of Georgia: Trying to Become a Normal Democratic State." November 10, 2014, 2:00pm, Necomb Hall Commonwealth Room.

LECTURE: Russell Scott Valentino - Professor of Slavic & East European Languages and Cultures - Indiana University. On his new book The Woman in the Window: Commerce, Consensual Fantasy, and the Quest for Masculine Virtue in the Russian Novel. Date, Time, and Location TBA.

LECTURE: Alexander Prokhorov - Associate Professor of Russian Studies, Department of Modern Languages & Literatures- College of William & Mary. "The Commemoration of World War II in Russian and Soviet Prestige Film Productions." Date, Time, and Location TBA.

CONFERENCE: Centrifugal Forces: Reading Russia's Regional Identities and Initiatives, March 26-28, 2015


Recent Faculty Publications

PDF document icon Resources for Russian Archival Research and Bibliographic Materials (.pdf, 84KB)

UVa Slavic Languages and Literatures Newsletter, Fall 2013

Russian Play Video Recordings

Society of Slavic Graduate Students Newsletter Archive