I was born in Ukraine. A journalist by college education, I worked as an editor in the USSR. I received my Ph.D. in Russian Linguistics at the O. Potebnia Institute for Linguistics, National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine. My dissertation focused on The Gender Category in Modern Russian. I taught Russian language and literature at Temple University and at Swarthmore College.
Some of my professional interests are: semantic gender category in modern Russian and Ukrainian and the Russian grammatical gender as a source of metaphorical thinking; origin, development, and transformation of the Russian literary and historical anecdote; Russian philosophers and intellectuals in Imperial Russia.
I love grammar and try to convince my students that grammar is an appealing thing, sharing funny stories about punctuation marks and parts of sentences with them. I like tongue-twisters, proverbs, and sayings– we practice them in class with students who usually pronounce tongue-twisters better than I do. I like hard rock and classical music. When work overwhelms me, I go to the kitchen and cook. I enjoy food in restaurants as well.
I enjoy trips: hiking or traveling by car through Alaska or the Apennine Mountains or the Alps.
My Home Page
VOYAGES a students’ literary journal where I’m an editor
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
RUSS6515 - Adv Composition & Stylistics
Advanced Russian Writing and Stylistics
The course is designed to develop students’ understanding of the peculiarities of various functional styles in the modern Russian language. Students are taught to stylistically evaluate language variants and to distinguish stylistic features of various texts through analysis; they also acquire skills to produce written texts of different styles and genres. The course focuses on different types of texts—e.g., the personal diary, the essay, non-fiction forms, the short story, literary criticism, etc. Readings include diaries of contemporaries; short stories by Pelevin, Tolstaya, and Prilepin; and essays by Genis and Epshtein. During class meetings, students participate in improvisation and write their texts on a range of topics. They prepare written assignments and produce written works in different genre styles. Language & Stylistics
Summer 2014 Language Schools
RUSS6517 - Advanced Russian Composition
This course is designed to offer intensive practice in composition to develop students’ skills in writing. Students will acquire the proficiency necessary to produce texts of different styles and genres in Russian. We will explore the relationship between fact and writing and will focus on different types of texts, e.g. personal diary, essay, non-fiction forms, fictional short stories, literary criticism, etc. We will read diaries of contemporaries, short stories by Pelevin, Tolstaya, and Buida, and essays by Genis and Vail’. During class meetings, students will participate in improvisations and write texts on randomly chosen topics. They will prepare written assignments and produce written works in different genres. Language & Stylistics
Summer 2012, Summer 2016 Language Schools
RUSS6675 - History of Russian Cinema
The course will examine the history of Russian cinema from the silent era to the 21st century. The study of cinema in prerevolutionary Russia, the Soviet Union, and the post-Soviet epoch will include topics such as technological and cultural developments and exploration of significant directors and genres of these periods. Students will watch films that belong to popular culture, as well as films outside the mainstream. Special emphasis will be given to comedy, the genre that survived during the Stalin and Brezhnev eras. Films of world-renowned directors Eisenstein, Aleksandrov, Tarkovsky, Aleksei German, and others will be screened. The course incorporates readings of literary works—e.g., Zoshchenko, Chekhov, Yuri German—that reflect the content of the films, as well as detailed analyses of the cinematic works. The course includes two films screenings weekly, four essays, a journal, and a final paper. Civ Cul & Soc
RUSS6676 - Intelligentsia in Russ Cinema
Russian Intelligentsia in Soviet Cinema
This course is designed as a study of the concept of the Russian Intelligentsia in Soviet cinema. Films will be examined in the cultural context from a historical, ideological, and an aesthetic perspective to present the main images regarding this subject in the Soviet cinema. The films will show the ways and the transformations of the Russian intelligentsia from the Decembrists, nihilists, and Chekhov’s nobles in the 19th century to the Soviet intelligentsia after the Revolution up to the Khrushchev and Brezhnev eras. Students will investigate the role of cinema as a mechanism of the construction of the national collective consciousness.
By the end of the course, students will be able to use methods of textual and contextual film analysis. The course incorporates readings of the literary works and detailed analyses of the cinematic works—students will read excerpts from literary works by Turgenev, Goncharov, Chekhov, Bulgakov, Aksenov and critical essays by Gasparov, Firsov, and others. The course includes two film screenings weekly, five essays and a final paper.
RUSS6678 - Russian Auteur Cinema
Russian filmmaking includes a strong line of auteur cinema (avtorskoe kino). Directors of auteur films establish their technique and personal style as their main priority, and they develop their own cinematic language. This course examines films that were outside of the mainstream and explores advancements in film technology and techniques in the context of the continuous evolution of cinema and the cinematic industry. Films of the prominent directors Khutsiev, Muratova, Shepitko, Tarkovsky, German, Sakurov, and others, will be shown. This course includes readings of literary works and criticism, as well as detailed analyses and discussion of the cinematic works with two film screenings weekly. Students have to prepare written and oral assignments including four essays, a journal, and a final paper and project. Civ Cul & Soc
Summer 2014 Language Schools
RUSS6692 - Reading & New Media in the 21C
Text, Context, Intertext: Readings and New Media in the 21st Century
The goal of this course is to develop students’ skills in reading and interpreting contemporary texts in the post-Soviet era. They will learn to comprehend the background of the text, to grasp the meaning of the context, and to distinguish intertexts. Students will work with different kinds of new media texts including online news, social media excerpts, forums, YouTube videos, interviews, etc. They will read articles and essays of Shenderovich, Rubinshtein, political verses of Bykov, and short stories of Tolstaya, Pelevin, and Sorokin.
During class meetings, students will gain practice in examining and interpreting readings and participate in the discussion of texts—both those assigned and those found by the students themselves. They will prepare written assignments and produce various texts, ranging from essays to reports to short fiction. Literature
Summer 2013, Summer 2015 Language Schools
RUSS6707 - Women thru History Russ Cinema
Women through the History of Russian Cinema
This course will explore the history of Russian cinema through the role assigned to women in films of pre-revolutionary Russia, the Soviet Union, and the post-Soviet era. Study of the “woman question” in cinema will include cultural developments and exploration of significant directors and genres. Students will watch films that examine the cultural tendency to define the role of women in retrospective and contemporary society. Films by Yevgeni Bauer, a prominent director who was present at the beginning of world cinema, will be screened, as well as films by other world-renowned directors such as Romm, Mikhalkov, Tarkovsky, Muratova, and Shepitko.
This course includes readings of literary works and criticism, as well as detailed analyses and discussion of the cinematic works, with two film screenings weekly. Students will prepare written and oral assignments including four essays, a journal, and a final paper and project. Civ Cul & Soc
Summer 2015 Language Schools
RUSS6752 - Tarkovsky/Mainstrm/Sov Culture
Tarkovsky, the Mainstream, and Soviet Culture
This course will explore the cinematic art of Andrei Tarkovsky, a Soviet filmmaker who produced some of the most compelling and significant cinematic works of the 20th century. Tarkovsky established his technique and personal style as his main priority and developed his own cinematic language. Looking at his films alongside films that were made at the same time, students will examine cinematic art in the broader context of Soviet culture. Films by Konchalovsky, Todorovsky, Shukshin, Iosseliani, and others will be screened. The course incorporates readings of criticism and Tarkovsky’s own writing, as well as detailed analyses of the cinematic works. Civ Cul & Soc
Summer 2016 Language Schools