Vera Proskurina

Associate Director

 Sunderland Language Center

Emory University
Kandidatskaya, Moscow State University

I received my Ph.D. in Russian Literature from Moscow State University (1989.) In 1989-1995 I worked in the Institute of World Literature (IMLI) of the Russian Academy of Science. Since 1995 I taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Cornell University and Wesleyan University . I published about 60 articles in Russian, American, British, German, and French journals and collections. My book, "Mikhail Gershenzon: ego zhizn' i mif" (1998), covers my study of Russian Modernism and intellectual trends of the first decades of the 20th century. Last year, I was a Regional Fellow of Davis Center of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. Currently, I am completing a new book, "Eros of Power: Political Mythology and Russian Culture in the Age of Catherine the Great." I am investigating interactions of politics, poetry, royal ceremonies, and arts in eighteenth century Russia. I love parties, classical music, and travels.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

RUSS6627 - Nabokov's Russian Works      

The course centers around the first part of Nabokov’s work, the so-called “Russian Nabokov” (1920-1930). Students will read and analyze the early novels, such as Mashen’ka, Luzhin’s Defense, and Invitation to a Beheading, as well as a selection of the best of Nabokov’s short stories. We will examine Nabokov’s encrypted texts against the background of European literature, film, and art, as well as in the context of Russian and Soviet culture. Students will discuss the writer’s artistic and philosophical games, and his deceptive and intricate prose technique. Students will write weekly short papers and a final paper. Literature

Summer 2013, LS 6 Week Session

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RUSS6763 - Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina"      

Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and the Family Novel

The course is designed as a close reading of the most acclaimed of Tolstoy’s works—his novel Anna Karenina. The novel was written and published in separate chapters during 1875-1877, and readers remained in suspense, as they did not know what would happen next with the heroes. Students will be repeating the experience of Tolstoy’s first readers during their six weeks of study. Tolstoy’s work is an encyclopedia of the Russian culture of the second half of the 19th century, making our course completely interdisciplinary: we will discuss social, historical, philosophical, religious, cultural, and legal issues, relevant for Tolstoy as well as for his heroes. Such topics as family, marriage, women’s emancipation, and children’s education will be the themes of our class discussion. Students must be prepared to read about 30 pages for each class session, to actively participate in class discussion, and to write weekly short papers. Students will compose their final paper and present it during the mini-conference at the end of the course. Literature

Summer 2014 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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RUSS6767 - Contemporary Russia in Prose      

Contemporary Russia in the Mirror of Russian Prose

The course is designed to acquaint students with the development of Russian literature over the last two decades. We will examine modern patterns of literature (prose, poetry, and non-fiction) and the ways they reflect and interpret dynamic changes in Russian society, politics, and customs. We will analyze such topics as Russian Postmodernism, its concepts and paradigms; Rituals of the Totalitarian State in the Postmodernist Mode; and Metaphors and Symbols of Post-Soviet Culture. We will also discuss modern social and political issues, as well as the most recent cultural events in Russia. We will use heterogeneous materials: works of literature (both fiction and non-fiction), Russian popular culture, and Internet texts. Authors to be read include Tatyana Tolstaya, Victor Pelevin, Liudmila Petrushevskaia, Vladimir Sorokin, Dmitry Bykov, and Lev Rubinshtein. Other requirements will include 5 short written assignments (2 pages), and a final paper (10 pages). Literature

Summer 2015 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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RUSS6884 - Master and Margarita      

M. Bulgakov's Master and Margarita

This course will be designed as a close reading of the famous “demonic” novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. We will discuss the unique structure and philosophy of the novel, as well as its political background and the novel’s artistic genealogy (literary, musical, religious, and philosophical sources).Class lectures will be supplemented by frequent slide, video, and musical presentations.

Students have to write weekly short papers, and a final paper. Literature

Summer 2016 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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