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News in the Russian Studies Program

Congratulations to Linda Zheng ('20)!

Zheng was selected for the Edward H. Prentice Award, which honors "a graduating senior who has demonstrated distinguished character, scholarship and contribution to the academic and extracurricular life of the University." Her many contributions include "Stone, Wood, Fire," a podcast that Zheng researched, hosted, and produced in connection to her work in Russian Studies and Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention.

Russian Studies student publications

The latest issue of the UC Undergraduate Journal of Slavic and East/Central European Studies features articles by Briana Comuniello ('18) and Jacob Sandman ('19). Briana's article, "Doctors, NGOs, and the HIV Epidemic in Russia," can be found here, while Jacob's "Mothers, War, and State in Twenty-First-Century Russia: The Issue of Reform and Accountability" can be found here. Congratulations, Briana and Jacob!

Join our Russian Program for "Stories from Russia's Near Abroad"! (10/23)

Marina Zalesski will tell us about her recent studies in Kiev and Tbilisi and how they have shaped her understanding of Russian Studies. October 23, 7 to 8pm, LN 1106 (IASH).

Film screening: Meeting Gorbachev (11/11)

Meeting GorbachevPlease join us for a screening of Werner Herzog's newest documentary, Meeting Gorbachev, a conversation with Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, which formally dissolved in 1991. There will be a short introduction before the film about Gorbachev and his complex legacy as a reformer. This event is free and open to the public and is jointly hosted by the REEP, Political Science, and History departments. The screening will take place on Monday, November 11 at 6:15PM in LH002. Any questions can be sent to Dr. Chelsea Gibson at

Sidney Dement, Pushkin's Monument and Allusion

Congratulations to Prof. Sidney Dement on his new book! Pushkin's Monument and Allusion: Poem, Statue, Performance, the first aesthetic analysis of Russia's most famous monument to her greatest Romantic poet, has been published by the University of Toronto Press.

Sidney Dement | Pushkin's Monument and AllusionIn August of 1836 Alexander Pushkin wrote a poem now popularly known simply as "Monument." He died a few months later in January of 1837. In the decades following his death, the poem "Monument" was transformed into a statue in central Moscow: the Pushkin Monument. At its dedication in 1880, the interaction between the verbal text and the visual monument established a creative dynamic that subsequent generations of artists and thinkers amplified through the use of allusion, the aesthetic device by which writers reference select elements of cultural history to enrich the meaning of their new creation and invite their reader into the shared experience of a tradition.

The history of the Pushkin Monument reveals how allusive practice becomes more complex over time. By the twentieth century, both writers and readers negotiated increasingly complex allusions not only to Pushkin's poem, but to its statuesque form in Moscow and the many performances that took place around it. As the population of newly literate Russians grew throughout the twentieth century, images of the future poet and the naive reader became crucial signifiers of the most meaningful allusions to the Pushkin Monument. Because of this, the story of Pushkin's Monument is also the story of cultural memory and the aesthetic problems that accompany a cultural history that grows ever longer as it moves into the future.

Congratulations to Lesia Hrycyna!

Lesia Hrycyna ('19) has accepted a position teaching English at Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv for the 2019-2020 academic year. Congratulations Lesia!

Jack Strosser at a conference in Budapest

Jack Strosser ('19) is presenting a paper on how the Putinist model and social media influence far-right populism in post-Communist Hungary and Poland at the "1989 - We Could Be Heroes - 30 years after" undergraduate conference at Central European University in Budapest, August 21–23.

Alexander Resnick and Fulbright Prism

Alexander Resnick ('19) recently contributed to the launch of Fulbright Prism (, a resource for LGBTQ+ students pursuing a fellowship or academic program abroad. Nice work, Alexander!

Ran Zhuo studying in Moscow

Russian major Ran Zhuo ('20) will spend fall '19 studying at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Congratulations, Ran, and enjoy!

Linda Zheng's summer research

Linda Zheng spent the summer of 2019 pursuing her research project on commemorating the Armenian Genocide both here in Binghamton and in Yerevan. Her work is supported by several programs, including a fellowship with the Summer Scholars and Artists Program.

Binghamtonians abroad

Jacob Sandman, Ran Zhuo, and others, in Moscow (Summer 2019)On their way to Barnaul in July, 2019, Jacob Sandman and Ran Zhuo (top left) stopped by Moscow to check out the White Nights. 





Congratulations to graduating Russian Studies majors!

Congratulations to all graduating students in Russian Studies! To Russian majors and double majors Maria Dubina, Lesia Hrycyna, Jacob Sandman and Jack Strosser, we thank you for your excellent work and wish you all the best for the future!

2019 Olympiada

S. Dement, N. Tittler, Alexandra Reksin and M. ZalesskiOn April 6, Binghamton hosted the annual New York Undergraduate Spoken Russian Competition, in which students S. Dement, N. Tittler, and Julia DeMolafrom five colleges – BU, Hobart/William Smith, Union, Vassar, U.S. Military Academy – competed in poetry recitation, speaking, reading and grammar. Four first-year students represented Binghamton: Julia DeMola, Katie McCarthy, Alexandra Reksten and Christina Thompson. All placed well and Alexandra Reksten placed first at first-year level. Congratulations to all!

Congratulations to Ran Zhuo!

Ran Zhuo won Bronze Medal at the Annual ACTR National Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest. In this year's contest, there were 1366 essays submitted from 61 universities, colleges, and institutions across the country. Congratulations!


Explore the new Russian Studies major!

The new Russian major, inaugurated last year as the only one of its kind in the SUNY system, has quickly grown into a vibrant course of study for students at Binghamton. The program offers a range of superb interdisciplinary experiences for students who want to major in Russian and for all those curious about Russian culture and Russia's place in the world. Courses for spring 2019 include an examination of genocide and mass atrocity in the Soviet context (RUSS 480S with Professor DeHaan), to a look at the image of Russians in Soviet cinema (RUSS 281A with Professor Zalesski) and an introduction to the rich traditions of literature in Russia (RUSS 210 with Professor Tittler). In addition to these examples, other courses in spring 2019 allow students to delve into the complexities of Russian politics in an international context, to learn about Slavic folklore and to gain language and cultural competencies in Russian in a program that is unparalleled in New York State.

Russian Studies program featured in Bing U News

Marina Zalesski and Nancy TittlerThe Russian Studies program at Binghamton University, which offers the only Russian Studies major in the entire SUNY system, was recently featured in Bing U News:

ASEEES First Book Subvention award

The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies has selected Sidney Dement's book Pushkin's Monument and Allusion: Poem, Statue, Performance (University of Toronto Press) for the ASEEES first book subvention. Congratulations, Sidney!

New faculty publication

Mikhail BulgakovSidney Dement's entry on Mikhail Bulgakov has appeared in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism.






Summer in St. Petersburg

Lesia Hrycyna, Jacob Sandman, and Ran Zhuo on the Neva RiverThis summer five students (Lesia Hrycyna, Noah Odierna '18, Joseph Pirc, Jacob Sandman and Ran Zhuo) studied in St. Petersburg on the Stony Brook program. Here are three of them on a cruise on the Neva River.







Russian Studies Fulbright recipients

Graduating Russian major Alex Resnick and graduating Russian minor Benjamin Chen have received Fulbright Fellowships to teach English in Moldova and in Tomsk (Russia), respectively, in 2018-19. Graduating Russian major Briana Comuniello, winner of a 2018 American Council of Teachers of Russian Scholar Laureate Award, is a Fulbright alternate. Congratulations, Alex, Benjamin, and Briana!

Binghamton students and faculty at the NY Undergraduate Spoken Russian Competition (4/21)

Olimpiada 2018Nancy Tittler, Marina Zalesski, and students from the Russian Studies program traveled to West Point to participate in the New York Undergraduate Spoken Russian Competition. Three students participated: Jacob Sandman (second year), Ran Zhuo and Damien Kolnierowicz (first year). Jacob Sandman took second place at the second-year level, and Ran Zhuo took first place at the first-year level. All three greatly improved their Russian through long hours of preparation in poetry recitation, speaking and reading. Congratulations, Jacob, Ran, and Damien!

Russian Studies student interning at U Penn

This summer Jack Strosser ('19) will be interning at the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He will be researching various think tanks and how they affect public policy. Congratulations Jack!

Congratulations to Alex Resnick!

Alex Resnick is the 2018 recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence – congratulations, Alex!


Boris Dralyuk, Creative Destruction

Boris Dralyuk, Creative Destruction: Russian Revolution (11/17) 

On the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution (November 7), come experience the literature of the Russian Revolution with editor and translator Boris Dralyuk and find out why the heat of crisis provokes art with lasting significance. Dralyuk's talk will be held on November 7 in UUW 325 from 4:30 to 6 pm.



Teach-in on the Russian Revolution

Teach-in on the Russian Revolution (10/25)

On the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution (October 25), join us to learn about its continuing legacy (including an answer to the question of why we typically celebrate the October Revolution on November 7). Dr. Olga Shvetsova (BU, Political Science) will speak on the distributive effects of the Revolution. Dr. Heather DeHaan (BU, History) will discuss 1917 & the Southern Caucasus. Dr. Zenon Wasyliw (Ithaca College, History) will address 1917 in Poland & Ukraine. Dr. Mikhail Filippov (BU, Political Science) will explain the contemporary resonance of the Revolution. Questions and discussion to follow. The event will be held on October 25th in AM 189 from 7 to 8:30 pm.

New Russian Major announced!

German and Russian Studies is delighted to announce the approval by the New York State Department of Education of a departmental Russian Studies major, the only Russian major in the SUNY system. See here for information on the Russian major, minor and Honors program.

Nancy Tittler receives Chancellor's Award

We are delighted to announce that Nancy Tittler has been awarded the 2016-2017 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Congratulations, Prof. Tittler!

Congratulations to Nina DePalma!

This May Nina DePalma ('13) completed a graduate certificate in Russian Translation at American University.  Congratulations and best wishes in your career!

Congratulations to Kirsten Chernick!

Russian Major Kirsten Chernick ('17) has accepted a graduate assistantship to pursue an MA in Russian at Boston College beginning in Fall 2017. Congratulations! And best wishes to Kirsten as she continues to pursue academic excellence in Russian Studies!

Forthcoming publication

Sidney Dement's article, "The Lifelike Statues of Ovid and Pushkin's Orthodoxy," will soon appear in volume 18/19 of Pushkin Review.

Congratulations to Alexander Resnick!

Alexander Resnick was selected for the President's Award for Undergraduate Student Excellence at Binghamton University! This highly competitive award recognizes three excellent third-year BU students for their achievements in scholarship, leadership, service, and international experience.

Alex has also been selected as a USAP Student Ambassador to Expo 2017, an international sustainability fair, held this summer in Kazakhstan. For two months, he will work at the American pavilion, using his Russian language and probably soaking up some Kazakh as well. Congratulations, Alex!

Congratulations to Andrei Shubin!

Andrei Shubin, IMP Russian major ('15), currently an M.A. student in history, has received a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship to teach English in Russia. Congratulations, Andrei!

Russian Students in St. Petersburg (summer 2017)

Congratulations to Briana Comuniello, Jack Strosser, Bennett Susman, Klara Rusinko, Adrian Antonio, and Stephanie Wright, who have been accepted into Stony Brook study abroad programs in St. Petersburg this summer. Enjoy those white nights!

Russian Studies Faculty at ASEEES

Sidney Dement, Nancy Tittler, and Heather DeHaan will be participating in the annual convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies in Washington, DC (11/17–11/20).

"Darwinism Meets Russian Modernism: The Case of Vladimir Nabokov" (10/6/2016)

On October 6, David Bethea (University of Wisconsin-Madison) gave a talk on Vladimir Nabokov's lifelong engagement with the legacy of Darwinian theory. 

UW-Madison Pushkin Project—an informal breakfast conversation with David Bethea (10/6/2016)

On October 6, world-renowned Pushkin Scholar David Bethea (University of Wisconsin-Madison) participated in an informal breakfast conversation about the Pushkin Summer Institute. The Institute, which Bethea founded, helps high school students from traditionally underrepresented groups expand their linguistic and cultural horizons. 

Recently published

Sidney Dement's article, "Architectural Details from Moscow's Sandunov Banyas in M. A. Bulgakov's Master and Margarita," has appeared in Slavic and East European Journal 60.1 (Spring 2016): 87-105. Congratulations, Sidney!

Congratulations to Sean Flaherty ('14)!

Russian Major Sean Flaherty ('14) has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship! In August '16 Sean will leave for a ten-month stay in Kyrgyzstan. He will be working in Jalal-Abad at the university teaching English to college students and volunteering at an agricultural organization called ACDI/VOCA in Osh. Go find that on a map! Congratulations Sean!

Binghamton Russian Students at the New York Undergraduate Spoken Russian Competition (4/16)

Sarah Grosso, Alex Resnick, Hannah Sheridan, Bennett Susman, Briana ComunielloOn April 16, five of our students participated in the New York Undergraduate Spoken Russian Competition (our "little Olympiada") at Vassar College, with great success:

  • First-years: Alexander Resnick (1st place), Sarah Grosso (2nd place), Hannah Sheridan (3rd place)
  • Second-years: Briana Comuniello, Bennett Susman

Students competed in poetry recitation, speaking, reading and grammar (first-years only). Since February, they have devoted at least an hour a week with Profs. Zalesski and Tittler, and numerous hours on their own, to prepare for this annual competition. Other competing schools: US Military Academy, Hobart-William Smith Colleges and Vassar College. Congratulations!

Congratulations to Michael Kosowski!

On Friday, April 1, 2016, senior IMP Russian Studies major Michael Kosowski presented his research on "Reconciling the Theories: the Origins of Yiddish and the Ashkenazim" at the University of Pittsburgh Undergraduate Research Symposium, "Europe: East and West." Michael's participation in this conference was facilitated by a Binghamton University Undergraduate Conference Travel Fund grant.

Congratulations to Erika Harper!

Erika Harper has accepted a BU Summer Scholars and Artists Program fellowship for Summer 2016. Her project, “Researching and Creating a Kunstmärchen,” proposes to research and develop a webcomic based on Norwegian folklore that explores the relationship between visual art, narrative, and the national folk traditions of Northern Europe. Her work represents the fertile intersection of folkloristics and art, analysis and inspiration.  Congratulations Erika!

Congratulations to Ilana Lipowicz!

Ilana Lipowicz's essay, "Displacing Death: Childbirth in East Slavic Cultures," has been accepted for publication (Spring 2016) in The Birch Journal, the first national undergraduate publication devoted exclusively to Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies. In the essay, Ilana explores how the nearness of unwanted death during childbirth reveals the deeply human dilemma of facing our worst fears in the very moment of realizing our greatest joys. She analyzes the beliefs and rituals of the East Slavs and the Mansi, an indigenous people living in Western Siberia, to reveal strategies for mitigating the risks of death in childbirth.  Stay posted for a link when the essay is published!

Russian Studies faculty at ASEEES

Sidney Dement, Heather DeHaan, and Don Loewen participated in this year's ASEEES convention in Philadelphia. Sidney Dement presented his paper "Pushkin's Monuments: Ekphrasis, Iconism, Incarnation." Heather DeHaan (History) presented a paper titled "Gangs of Baku: Masculinity, Territoriality, and the Soviet City," in which she discusses how Baku's neighborhood identities, which might otherwise have been defined in terms of race and class, were voiced through youth gang activities—through their battles over turf as well as through the dress and gender codes imposed within their respective neighborhoods. For more information, see the convention's online program.

Notes from the Leningrad Underground (10/1/15)

On Thursday, Oct. 1, John Bailyn gave a talk on the Leningrad rock scene of the 1980s. 4:30 pm in room 189 of the new Admissions Building.

John Frederick Bailyn spent most of the 1980s in Soviet Leningrad. Officially, he was studying and teaching; unofficially, he was hanging out with local musicians and artists, often as the only foreign participant in a cultural moment that powerfully influenced Russia today. In this talk, Bailyn describes this moment and its significance for our understanding of Putin's Russia.

John Frederick Bailyn is Professor of Linguistics at Stony Brook University, Director of the SUNY Russia Programs Network and co-Director of the NY-St. Petersburg Institute of Linguistics and Cognition and Culture (NYI), an international summer school that is held in St. Petersburg, former Leningrad, every summer. His 2012 book The Syntax of Russian won the 2013 AATSEEL prize for best book in Slavic Linguistics.

Congratulations to Russian Studies majors!

Many congratulations to graduating Russian Studies majors Amanda Reid and Kenneth Law! Molodtsy and all the best in life after college!

Congratulations to Elizabeth Austin and Adina Blaszkowsky ('14)!

Elizabeth Austin ('14) will begin an MA in Russian Studies at the University of Virginia in fall 2015. Adina Blaszkowsky, BA in Russian Studies ('14), has been accepted to the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia for an MA in Elementary Education, and will also begin in the fall. She is a former TA for Russ 101-102 and participated in the First Annual BU Conference on Foreign Language Teaching in fall 2013.

Congratulations to Sara Hobler ('18)!

The BU Summer Scholars and Artists Program has funded Sara's proposal to research gender construction in late Imperial and early Soviet Russia during summer 2015.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Drooby!

Elizabeth Drooby ('15) will begin study towards a master's degree in English at SUNY Albany next fall! Also, one of her essays, "The Petersburg Prostitute: Depictions of Illusive Women in Gogol and Dostoevsky," has been published in the Spring 2015 edition of The Birch: A Journal for Eastern European and Eurasian Studies. Congratulations Elizabeth!

2015 NYS Undergraduate Spoken Russian Competition

2015 OlympiadaOn Saturday, April 18, the 2015 New York State Undergraduate Spoken Russian Competition was held at Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. Four upstate colleges and universities attended: BU, Vassar College, US Military Academy and Hobart & William Smith. Don Loewen, Marina Zalesski, and Nancy Tittler joined their colleagues as judges, and the following BU students competed: first year – Tatyana Carrillo and Ilana Lipowicz; second year – Hannah Lundeen and Emma Micare. Students competed in poetry recitation, spoken monologue, reading and grammar. First place at the second-year level was awarded to Hannah Lundeen.

Last Updated: 7/27/20