Professor of Russian
Julie W. de Sherbinin received degrees in Russian from Amherst College (B.A.), Yale University (M.A.), and Cornell University (Ph.D.). She teaches Russian language and literature, as well as English language courses on Chekhov and the anglophone short story, and human rights in world literature. She has written on Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Blok and female madness in Russian letters. She is the co-founder of the North American Chekhov Society. Her book Chekhov and Russian Religious Culture (Northwestern UP) came out in 1997; she is co-editor with Michael C. Finke of Chekhov the Immigrant: Translating a Cultural Icon (Slavica, 2007), a volume of proceedings that issues from a National Endowment for the Humanities symposium on Chekhov held at Colby College.
Assistant Professor of Russian
Elena Monastireva-Ansdell hails from an ethnically and religiously diverse region in southern Russia, the beautiful Adyghei Republic in the Caucasus Mountains. She holds a B.A. in English from Piatigorsk State Institute of Foreign Languages, an M.A. in Russian from University of Iowa, and a Ph. D. from Indiana University in Slavic Languages and Literatures. She has published on both Thaw and contemporary Russian cinema with a focus on national mythology and media constructions of interethnic relations. Her investigations into Russia’s imperial identity and the image of the Caucasian/ Chechen Other have appeared in The Russian Review, Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema, and Kinokultura. Her work on Soviet cinema is published in Directory of World Cinema: Russia (Bristol, UK 2015), The Russian Cinema Reader (Boston 2013), and Modern Jewish Experiences in World Cinema (Brandeis 2011). Most currently, she has been researching ethnic migration and identity in Soviet and contemporary Eurasian cinema. Elena has previously taught at Oberlin and Bowdoin colleges. At Colby, she teaches Russian language as well as courses on twentieth- and twenty-first-century Russian literature, cinema and culture. She contributes courses to both the Cinema Studies Program and the Colby Writing Program and supervises Colby’s JanPlan in St. Petersburg. Her additional areas of expertise include Eastern European (especially Polish) cinema and Central Asian cinema and culture.
Office: Lovejoy 454
Faculty Fellow in Russian
Amanda Murphy was born in Burlington, Vermont and grew up in New Jersey. She graduated Hamilton College (summa cum laude) with a double major in Russian Studies and Mathematics. After graduation, she received a governmental grant to complete mainstream studies at Moscow University in the Department of Public Administration. She received her PhD in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a dissertation entitled “Beyond Tatiana: Pushkin’s Heroines at the Intersection of Life and Art.” Her research interests include 19th Century Russian literature, semiotics, dress and material culture, religious imagery, and historical prose. She has taught Russian language and literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Middlebury College’s Russian School, Colby College, and the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her current project focuses on sartorial imagery in Pushkin’s prose, as reflecting an encoded commentary on the negative influence of Catherine the Great’s reign on Russian society.
Office: Lovejoy 452
Polina (Polya) Shilova is a Russian language assistant for 2016/17 academic year. She was born and has lived all her life in St. Petersburg, graduating from the Classical Gymnazium in St. Petersburg where Colby houses its Colby-in-St. Petersburg program. She has just completed her MA in German Linguistics at St. Petersburg State University. Polina has worked as an interpreter at many cultural and economic events and as a private teacher of German to children, teenagers and adults. She particularly enjoyed interpreting for guests, stage services and the media at the Mariinsky Theater. Being keen on interpreting, she participated in international summer program in Germany, where she took an intense course in simultaneous and consecutive interpreting. Polina’s academic interests include politics and the language and culture of advertising. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis, fitness, and swimming; in winter, she loves snowboarding and ice-skating. Apart from sports, Polina is also passionate about baking. Some of her other interest include dancing, learning languages, and travelling. At Colby she teaches two Russian courses and a conversation class, and takes courses in French and International relations.
Professor of Russian History
Paul Josephson, Colby’s Russian and Soviet history professor, is a specialist in the history of twentieth century science and technology. He has written 11 books and a large number of articles and chapters on science and technology in Russia and the former Soviet Union; on science cities; nuclear power; recreational machines; Arctic conquest; and other subjects. The study of large scale technological systems and their potential extensive human and environmental costs have led Josephson into environmental history. With students at Colby, he studies Soviet and Russian history, Science, Race and Gender, Luddism, and Environmental History. His research takes him to Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Norway, Jamaica, and elsewhere.
Assistant Professor of Music
Natalie Zelensky graduated with honors from Northwestern University with a Ph.D. in Music Studies. Fusing ethnomusicology, historical musicology, and critical studies, Natalie’s research focuses on Russian music, diasporas, nostalgia, American popular music and culture, and Cold War politics. She has published articles and presented conference papers on Russian popular and sacred music in New York City, Russian-American summer camps, underground sacred music in the Soviet Union, and racial representation, gender, and marketing in the Classic Blues. Her work on Russian sacred music in New York is published in The Oxford Handbook of Music and World Christianities (Oxford 2012) and in conference proceedings (Russkii Put’ 2011). She co-authored the instructor’s manual for Rock and Roll: Its History and Stylistic Development (Prentice-Hall 2008, 2012) and helped translate and write the footnotes for W.W. Norton’s 2011 edition of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Currently, she is working on a monograph that looks at the intersection of politics and performance in the aesthetic, commercial, and diasporic space of Russian music as it emerged in New York’s nightclubs, ethnic concerts, radio waves, and sheet music. Natalie teaches courses in ethnomusicology, American popular music, and offers a specialized course on Eastern European music that combines a sociocultural study of music with its performance.