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 ethnicity and 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 the Cinema and Global Studies Programs as well as to 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.
Assistant Professor of Russian
Luke Parker joins Colby this fall from Oberlin College. Originally from London, he received his education at the University of Oxford (B.A., Modern Languages) and Stanford University (Ph.D., Slavic). His published work includes an article in The Russian Review on Vladimir Nabokov’s novel The Luzhin Defense and professional chess of the 1920s and ’30s, and a translation in The Times Literary Supplement of a Russian talk Nabokov gave on history while in exile in 1920s Berlin. He is currently at work on a book about the relation of Russian émigré writers in Berlin and Paris and the international cinema industry. Having trained in St. Petersburg as an actor, he also researches the contemporary Russian theater. During 2017-2018, he will be teaching Russian language (including Intensive Russian during Jan Plan) and a course on visual culture in nineteenth century Russian literature (RU 231).
Ekaterina (Katya) Nikiforova
Office: Lovejoy 452
Katya Nikiforova is a Russian language assistant for 2017/18 academic year. Born in St. Petersburg, she spent some of her childhood in Moscow before returning to her native city. In 2012 Katya graduated from the Classical Gymnazium in St. Petersburg where Colby houses its Colby-in-St. Petersburg program. She has participated in the program since 2014, serving as a cultural guide for Colby students during their study trips to Russia. Katya has just completed her BA in Asian and African Studies in St. Petersburg State University, majoring in the languages and culture of West Africa (the language of Bamana). Since 2016 Katya has worked as a visual designer at a Russian expert firm specializing in the analysis of the processes in the countries of Asia and Africa. Her interests and skills lie in the fields of both academics and visual art. Katya also has vast experience organizing collective projects with high-school students and young adults. Since 2012 she has participated in the Classical Gymnazium’s theatrical society where she wrote and directed several short amateur plays. In the summer of 2014 she volunteered as a curator and theater director at the Russian Summer School of Antiquity Studies for children. In the winter of 2016 she undertook an independent philological expedition to Guinea, where she gathered some new texts of Guinean folklore. In a word, Katya can confidently say that she enjoys meeting and working with people of different ages and cultures. At Colby Katya teaches two Russian courses and a conversation class, and takes courses in painting and acting.
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.