Slavic Languages and Literatures

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

courtesy of Margarita Nafpaktitis

Centrifugal Forces: Reading Russia's Regional Identities and Initiatives

March 26-28, 2015 8:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
South Meeting Room, Newcomb Hall
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Understanding identity in Russia’s regions advances our understanding of Russia as a whole. While the 2012 trial of the feminist punk group “Pussy Riot” and recurrent election protests thrust Moscow into the headlines, and the Sochi Olympics and the Ukrainian conflict conveyed Putin's bid for international influence, the rest of Russia often seems mute, until suddenly unrest breaks out. The presentations at “Centrifugal Forces” resist traditional “center-oriented” perceptions of Russia. The goals of the conference are to probe action and self-articulation beyond the capital and to help the academic community, the American public, and US policymakers form a three-dimensional view of contemporary Russia and its human wealth. An international array of speakers from many disciplines will give voice to viewpoints from the regions, bringing to light exciting cultural, economic, and political initiatives. This conference is free and open to the UVA community and the public.

For registration information and directions to Newcomb Hall, please visit the conference website:

Congratulations to Professor Katia Dianina!

Professor Dianina’s new book, When Art Makes News: Writing Culture and Identity in Imperial Russia, won the 2014 prize for best book in literature and culture, awarded by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL). This is a major award given annually to a single outstanding publication in the field of literary and cultural studies.

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

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:








2014-2015 Events

LECTURE: Karen Evans-Romaine - University of Wisconsin-Madison. "The Russian Flagship: Teaching Future 'Global Professionals' and Learning from Our Students." September 18, 2014.

LECTURE: Kyrill Kunakhovich - College of William & Mary. "Beyond Socialist Realism: Rethinking Art and Politics in the Soviet Bloc." October 29, 2014.

LECTURE: Tedo Japaridze - Georgian Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs. "The Republic of Georgia: Trying to Become a Normal Democratic State." November 10, 2014.

LECTURE: Alexander Prokhorov - College of William & Mary. "The Commemoration of World War II in Russian and Soviet Prestige Film Productions." February 6, 2015, 2:00PM, Monroe 114.

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: Tatyana Tolstaya - writer, television co-host. March 3, 2015. Time and location TBA.

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


UVa Slavic Languages and Literatures Newsletter, Fall 2014