Russian Language & Literature

Русский язык и русская литература в Рид–колледже

News from the Alumni

Fall 2012

Catherine Dalton'98 and Evgeny Evtushenko
Catherine Dalton '98, a Russian major, translator of Russian poetry, and medical doctor, with the poet Evgeny Evtushenko.

Fall 2009

Lisa Horner '08 ( )
Lisa, to the perplexity of her German-rooted family, graduated from Reed College with a B.A. in Russian Literature. After attending the School of Russian and Asian Studies' Language as a Career program (now part of the Russian Studies Semester program) and serving an internship with SRAS doing translations and writing articles, she went on to accept a position with the Moscow-based company Alinga Consulting Group as a Client Relations Manager. In addition to this, she is now working for SRAS to help coordinate student programs and activities and follow up with students to ensure that their feedback helps to improve our programs. She studied previously at Smolny Institute in St. Petersburg and is an avid fan of badminton.

Spring 2009

Adams Carroll ('09) published the article Blok's Apocalypse: A Poet's Elusive Revolution // The Birch, Columbia University journal for Eastern European and Eurasian studies, Fall 2008, pp. 23 - 26.

Mara Zapeda ('02), will be attending Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in fall 2009.

Alea Adigweme ('06), will be pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Nonfiction Writing at the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, Univ. of Iowa, in fall 2009.

Alina Orlova Brady ('93), PhD USC, has a brand new baby, Nicholas Chase Brady, born December 24, 2008.

Letter from Jacob Konick ('05)
I am what is termed by Peace Corps Niger (Peace Corps is a global organization, but each country seems to enjoy a certain autonomy and diversity of program) a Natural Resource Volunteer. I am charged primarily with promoting more ecologically sustainable agricultural methods, promoting fuel conservation, and reducing deforestation and desertification. Niger itself is largely Sahara, but the southern portion where I am is a part of the Sahel, which has a short, three month rainy and growing season. The soil is very sandy and nutrient poor, and so coupled with the slight rainfall (this past season approx. 35 cm) large scale agriculture of the kind practiced here is extremely risky. By encouraging farmers to allow some natural regrowth of local trees and shrubs in their fields, rather than simply cutting everything prior to planting, soil erosion is prevented, nutrients are stabilized, and more moisture can be preserved, leading to higher agricultural yields. Planting certain types of trees deliberately, in particular drought-resistant Australian varieties, is also encouraged to provide additional fuel wood, soil nitrogen fixation, and edible seeds as a dietary supplement. At the village level, I encourage the construction of improved, mud brick cookstoves to conserve fuelwood. Together with spreading knowledge of beekeeping theory and practice, these tasks constitute the technical portion of my work. As to more development style activities, I visit often with local government officials to confer on efforts to promote food security and health coverage in my village. This last has led to my writing a proposal soliciting donations for a clinic to be constructed in my village, which at the moment lacks the necessary funds to begin construction. But it is interesting to meet with the officials of a foreign government as a kind of freelance ambassador.

As a cultural ambassador and observer, I make the rounds of local villages and markets, representing the United States and its people, and making friends with and learning more of the culture of the ethnic groups that make up the country of Niger -- Tamashek, Hausa, Peul, Kanouri, and Zarma. I was trained to speak Hausa -- a Chadic/Semitic type language -- and am also endeavoring to learn a little Tamashek on my own, which is closely related to Berber. The people who speak Tamashek, or kel Tamajek, are more commonly known in the west as Touareg. People here are nearly uniformly Muslim, polygamous, and agricultural, and for the most part are quite friendly. A lot of tea and kola nuts are consumed. As for food, most food is either millet and sorghum pounded into a powder and cooked into a paste, called tuwo, served with sauce, or beans, the other main if more rarely eaten staple here. In the larger towns you can find oranges, carrots, bread, and pasta, together with rice. Meats are eaten only occasionally and in smaller quantity, most commonly goat meat, with sheep much more rarely and beef almost never -- oxen are for work. Organ meats such as lung are quite popular here, and I eat more liver than ever.

I live more in the bush, in a smaller village, maybe 20-50 adult males, large numbers of children and many wives. There is no real road, and no electrical power or plumbing. There are two cement wells as well as a rarely used foot-pump paid for by the Saudis (whose influence here is mainly through mosque construction and school funding, which are extensive), and a school paid for by the Germans. I also have access to the city of Maradi, one of the largest commercial towns in Niger, and close to the border of Nigeria. Peace Corps has a kind of hostel there, and when in town I can access the computer.

I will try and write more when I can but for now I have to go or I will miss my chance to make it back tonight. Please send this around to whomever is interested -- I hope that is no inconvenience. All my best to all in the meantime, and look forward to more in the future --

Truly Yours,

Fall 2008

Russian alumni at national conferences:

American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, 2008 National Convention in Philadelphia, AASS

Alison Annunziata, '04, PhD Candidate, Columbia University
"Passion Made Property, Property Made Pokrov: Tolstoy Responds to Rousseau in Building his Russian Estate"

Hillary Brevig, '06, PhD candidate, U of Pittsburg, Chair of panel "Popular Iconography and Youth Cultures in Eastern Europe and the USSR, 1960s to the Present"

Andy Bruno, '03, PhD candidate, University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana Illinois, "Aleksandr Fersman and the Place of the Natural World in Soviet Industrialization"

Anastasia Kayiatos, '02, PhD candidate, Univ. of California, Berkeley,
"From Dirty Minds to Docile Bodies: Shock Therapy and the Sexing of Late Soviet Dissent"

Michael Kunichika, '99, Assistant Professor of Russian, New York University, Chair: "Masculinity in the Russian Religious Renaissance: Its Context and Legacy"

Ben Sutcliffe, '96, Assistant Professor of Russian, Miami University
"Jew, Chrstian, Humanist: Ulitskaia, Ethics, and Spirituality"

Reed professors contributing papers were:
Evgenii Bershtein, "Kuzmin, Rozanov, and the Historical Poetics of Russian Gay Literature."

Alexandra Hrycak, "Gender Regimes and Women's Body Rights in Poland, Ukraine, and Russia"

American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages
2008 National Convention in San Francisco

Anna Yatsenko, Reed College
Title: “The Münchhausen of the North”: The Literary Masks of Stepan Pisakhov

Alison Annunziata, Columbia University
Title: Pushkin’s History in Portraits

Meredith Safer with President Bill Clinton image

Meredith Safer with President Bill Clinton. Safer is currently working for the Clinton Foundation's public health projects in Liberia.

Summer 2006

Margaret Anderson -
Since graduating from Reed in 2005, I have been living it up in St. Petersburg on a Fulbright fellowship where I am finishing an MA in Russian Studies at European University. In my spare time when I'm not analyzing the fine points of Putin administration foreign policy, I catch operas at the Mariinsky and make time for socializing with Russian student types, bohemian artists, and a few select members of the armed forces. Starting in late August I will be working with American Councils as the Resident Director of their exchange program in St. Petersburg. My future plans include high degrees of autonomy, international travel, and contact with educated, cosmopolitan individuals.

Anastasia Kayiatos -
Since graduation, I've moved back to San Francisco and, after sloppily rock-n-roll djing and working office jobs for a couple of years, went back to school. I've just gotten an MA with distinction from the Slavic Literature department at UC Berkeley, and will now be pursuing their program for a PhD with a designated emphasis on sex and gender studies. At Berkeley, I've recently had the pleasure of being the reader for Eric Naiman's Nabokov class; and will soon be teaching a course with a syllabus of my design called "High Art: The Fictions of Addiction." I've read a couple of papers at conferences local and national, and will be presenting another in November at the AAASS. I spent last summer in Moscow and this summer finds me studying at Columbia's Russian Practicum in New York. I'm also planning to spend a lot of time at the public library reading Nabokov criticism for Professor Naiman under the aegis of a Townsend Mellon summer fellowship. In addition, I will be researching a project on dissidence and sexuality, focusing on gay gulag memoirs. In the meantime, I eagerly anticipate that the future holds many more wonderful books and thrilling travels!

James Robinson -
I graduated from Reed in 1996 with a degree in General Literature. I worked with Lena on my thesis for the chapters on Gogol (though I imagine you already know this). Since then I lived in Guatemala where I opened a bar and taught literature and philosophy at one of the universities. After learning German in Vienna I moved to New York to finish a masters degree (2000) in comparative literature at New York University. Then I opened a Spanish tapas restaurant called "La Inquisicion" in Morelia, Mexico, which I sold in 2002. After that I moved to Madrid, Spain and enrolled in a doctoral program in comparative literature and literary theory. I just moved to Toulouse, France where I am finishing my dissertation on Luis de Gongora and Hugo von Hofmannsthal. An article of mine (in Spanish) on sacrifice in the work of Theodor Adorno is due to appear this fall in /Cuaderno Gris/ (a journal of philosophy published by the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid). I guess that's about it. When I finish the degree I'll start looking for a job in academia, though probably not in the United States.

Jacob Ross -
Living in Brooklyn, working at Bloomberg LP doing Trading Systems. Studying for my GMAT, will apply to business school for 2007 or 2008. Playing the piano and squash, consorting with too many Reed Alumni, gardening in Brooklyn's great outdoors.

Meredith Safer -
After Reed, I moved to New Orleans, Louisiana where I worked with Mentally Retarded adults as a caregiver and instructor. I moved to Brooklyn, New York in 2001 where I have worked to date in a variety of roles- most recently as a project manager in Global Finance Operations. In the Fall, I will begin a Master of Public Health in Health Management at Yale University.

Jacob Konick -
Mr. Konick has retired to his ancestral home in Virginia, where he is engaged in horticulture and beekeeping.

Erin Pappas -
I moved back to Kentucky following graduation, where I spent some time working for local businesses, including the farmer's market. I was also involved in projects for farmland conservation, such as the Bluegrass Conservancy. I then decided to get my Master's in Library Science here locally at the University of Kentucky, where I graduated with honors (Beta Phi Mu) in December 2005. Currently, I am the manager of a small faculty library on UK's central campus, and am working on an article about this facility for publication in a library science journal. My future plans involve a move to Chicago at the end of the summer, where I will be entering the doctoral program in linguistic anthropology at the University of Chicago. I plan to keep Eastern Europe as my area of focus (Russia, though possibly Ukraine?), and study the intersection of language use, ideology, and representation in life and literature. I was also recently married to my partner of 8 years, who will be making the move with me.

Victoria Pustynsky - or
After graduation in 2001 I was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study linguistics at the National Academy of Sciences in Kiev, Ukraine. After that I worked writing grants for a few non-profits (nothing exciting). Most recently (summer 2005) I worked in Moscow on a financial consulting assignment with the Russian Central Bank and organized a seminar in St. Petersurg on Internal Controls with bankers from all over Russia and representatives from the US Federal Reserve Bank. In 2005, I was awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Fellowship to pursue a 2-year MBA program at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management. I just finished my first year and I am off to spend the summer in NY and Paris working on a strategic marketing initiative for LVMH (louis vuitton moet hennessy). I live in Ithaca, NY (at least until graduation in 2007).

Monica Wesolwska -
I was an English major who went outside my department to work with Lena on a creative writing thesis. I am still writing and publishing fiction including a story in Lena's anthology Beach: Stories by the Sand and Sea. I live in Berkeley, California where I am writing, teaching writing, and raising a young family.

Christopher Wood -
Since graduating, I've worked as an English teacher in Nizhnevartovsk, an oil drilling city in western Siberia, and more recently spent the winter as a ski bum in New Mexico and California. This summer I'm starting my master's in Russian through Middlebury College. I expect to spend the next school year in Moscow.

Mara Zepeda -
The fall after graduation I spent six months traveling abroad in Russia interviewing and recruiting high school students for the Freedom Support Act, a State Department Program that sends students from the former Soviet Union to live and study in the States (a job I heartily recommend to recent graduates). After two years managing fellowships and visiting scholars at Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies I moved to Philadelphia where I coordinate Arts and Humanities Programs at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, working to encourage a humanistic understanding of medicine through the visual, creative and performing arts. I've also pursued my interest in journalism and am a frequent contributor to the food sections of the /Boston Globe /and /Philadelphia Inquirer/. I have a bi-weekly column in the /Philadelphia Weekly/: one column I focus on an unusual ingredient, the next, "Supper Club," allows me to invite myself over for dinner at private homes and write about the joys of dining with friends and family over a home-cooked meal. A recent story had me feasting on /blini/ during Maslenitsa at a Russian Orthodox family's house and being told, at the end of the evening, that they were to remain anonymous. The debacle was documented here: