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 has previously taught at Oberlin College and Stanford University.
He is a scholar of Russian literature, theater and film, focusing on the interaction of exile and performance. Luke’s peer-reviewed articles have appeared in Slavic Review, Russian Review, Slavic and East European Journal. His work has also been featured in the Times Literary Supplement.
Luke teaches courses on theater and performance, émigré fiction and Weimar cinema, nineteenth-century fiction and visual culture, as well as Soviet modernity. Trained in ATCFL Oral Proficiency Interview certification, he has devised a successful Intensive Russian course for Jan Plan (Winter term), as well as numerous courses at the Intermediate and Advanced levels. A speaker of Russian, French and German, he has been instrumental in organizing workshops across language departments on campus.
His book project Nabokov Noir: Cinematic Culture and the Art of Exile claims that Vladimir Nabokov’s multilingual and transnational literary career in European (Berlin and Paris) and American exile during the 1920s-1940s was shaped by a deliberate and extensive engagement with a new cinematic culture. It demonstrates that Nabokov’s interwar literary career comprises an art of exile – both a literary poetics and a publishing strategy. This revises our conception not only of Nabokov, but of the entire Russian émigré community, showing the depth and complexity of this contribution to the modernist era’s literary and intellectual appreciation of and antagonism to the cinema.
His recent research on a second project features the émigré actors and actresses Ivan Mosjoukine, Anna Sten, and Kissa Kouprine. With careers that spanned the Soviet Union, Berlin, Paris, and Hollywood, these performers negotiated the transition from silent to sound film. Luke’s forthcoming conference presentations address the question of identity and language in the increasingly integrated American and European culture industries of the 1920s and ‘30s.
Evgeniia (Zhenia) Eliseeva
Office: Lovejoy 452
Zhenia Eliseeva is a Russian language assistant for 2019/20. Hailing from St. Petersburg, Russia, Zhenia is a graduate of the Classical Gymnazium in St. Petersburg where all students learn two ancient languages (Greek and Latin) and one or two modern languages in addition to Russian. Pursuing her longtime interest in liberal arts Zhenia earned her BA in comparative history from the Higher School of Economics. She then decided to change her field of study and enrolled in a Master’s program in Language Theory, from which she successfully graduated in 2019 with a specialty in the verb system of Indo-European languages. One of Zhenia’s hobbies is archaeology. She likes going on archaeological expeditions as a volunteer during her summer holidays and has just returned from a trip to the Black Sea coast where she helped unearth an ancient Greek settlement. Theater and amateur theatrical productions is another passion that Zhenia acquired at the Classical Gymnazium with its tradition of annual theater festivals. She acted in every school play while at the Gymnazium as well as serving as an assistant director for school productions during her last two years in the school. At Colby Zhenia teaches two Russian courses and a conversation class, and takes courses in Classics and Women and Gender Studies.
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.
Associate 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, Franco-American music culture in Maine, and racial representation, gender, and marketing in the Classic Blues. Her work has been published in Ethnomusicology Forum, The Oxford Handbook of Music and World Christianities, Russia Abroad: Music and Orthodoxy, and Journal of the Society for American Music (November 2020). Her book, Performing Tsarist Russia in New York: Music, Emigres, and the American Imagination, examines the intersection of politics and performance in the aesthetic, commercial, and diasporic space of Russian music as it emerged in New York’s nightclubs, concert stages, radio waves, and sheet music (Indiana University Press, 2019). 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. In 2013, she won a fellowship with the National Endowment for the Humanities to participate in the Columbia University Harriman Institute’s “America’s Russian-Speaking Immigrants and Refugees: 20th-Century Migration and Memory.”