Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian
A recent Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, Anna Karpusheva defended her dissertation (with honors) on the works of Nobel Prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich, with support from an ACLS/Mellon Dissertation Fellowship. Anna’s research focuses on late Soviet and post-Soviet literature and how it deals with the Soviet ideological heritage in post-Soviet space. Her approach is multidisciplinary and includes trauma theory, folklore, performance and ritual studies, and historical studies.
In 2017 she published an article on Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl in the special issue of Canadian Slavonic Papers—the first professional journal to dedicate an entire issue to Alexievich’s literary oeuvre. In 2018, Anna organized and participated in an international conference panel on Svetlana Alexievich at ASEEES, the field’s premier scholarly society.
Anna’s current projects include a monograph that analyzes Alexievich’s book cycle, Voices of Utopia. She is also collaborating with Dr. Stephen Dickey on Russian Aspect in Discourse and developing the book’s Russian content and exemplifying base. With Dr. Irina Six, she is working on a reader for advanced students of Russian.
Anna has successfully taught Russian language at all levels. Her teaching style is communicative and student-centered. In addition to language courses, she enjoys teaching Slavic folklore, 19th century Romantic prose, and post-Soviet literature and film with a focus on women writers and directors.
Assistant Professor of Russian
Elena Monastireva-Ansdell hails from an ethnically and culturally diverse region of southern Russia, the beautiful Adyghei Republic in the Caucasus Mountains. Her scholarly interests are closely connected to the Caucasus, past and present, including Tsarist-era imperial ambitions, Soviet colonialism, and post-Soviet interethnic relations and conflict. The site of Russian imperial conquest (1817-64), the region figures famously in literary works by Pushkin, Lermontov and Tolstoy who created an enduring mythology of the “Good Russian Prisoner” peacefully interacting with the “savage” mountain tribes who hold him captive. Elena investigates how this canonical narrative that both naturalizes the Russian presence in the Caucasus and explains the empire’s relations with its non-Russian subjects, has since been used to justify or question post-Soviet Russia’s political and cultural ambitions vis-à-vis her ethnic Others.
Beyond Russia, Elena explores the ways in which post-Soviet Central Asian states restructure their relations with the former metropole and negotiate their hybrid post-socialist and postcolonial identities that span Soviet modernity, traditional ethnic customs, pre-Islamic spiritual beliefs, customary and fundamentalist Islam, Soviet-instilled secularism, nomadic pastoralism, and urbanization. Elena’s work on these and other topics has appeared in leading American and international peer-reviewed journals; she is a regular contributor to KinoKultura: Journal of New Russian Cinema.
Elena teaches all levels of Russian, as well as Russian literature, cinema, and culture courses. In her classes, students hone their critical literary and visual analysis skills as they explore Soviet and Russian national mythology and mythmaking, imperialism and postcolonial identities, constructions of gender and ethnicity, personal identity in a totalitarian state, and interconnections of culture and politics under Putin’s soft authoritarianism. Outside of the classroom, Elena enjoys sharing with students her love of Ukrainian, Russian, Georgian, and Central Asian cuisines at the traditional “Friendship of the Peoples” feasts at her home.
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.”