Alumni and Friends

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Welcome to our Department! Those of you who have not visited our web site in some time will notice that our name has changed: the old Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures has become the Department of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Languages and Cultures. It reflects more accurately who we are and what we do. We had long since outgrown the “Slavic” moniker, offering Hungarian and Romanian in addition to Bosnian/Serbian/ Croatian, Czech, Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian, and so it was high time we chose a name that more accurately reflected our complex identity. The change also signals that we study not only the literatures of the lands east of the Oder, but other media and forms of expression, from food to film and even fashion. Eurasia is an area we are just beginning to target in our curriculum with course on Siberia and Central Asia. There is much room for exploration and expansion!

In 2015 our Department marks the end of an academic year and an era with the retirement of our most senior and most distinguished colleague, Vyacheslav Ivanov. A member of our faculty since 1992, he has contributed enormously to our academic mission and added greatly to our stature. Fortunately he has agreed to be recalled to teach for three more years, so we need not say “Goodbye” just yet. At the same time we are delighted to welcome a new Assistant Professor to our midst: Vadim Shneyder, a recent Ph.D. from Yale University. A specialist on the classic “great novels” of the nineteenth century, he is also interested in Soviet film and Russian and Soviet Jewish culture.

Our Department’s undergraduate program continues to thrive under the inspired direction of Olga Kagan. We offer three majors—in Russian Language and Literature, Russian Studies and Central and East European Languages and Cultures—as well as minors in these areas. We are particularly proud of our Russian Flagship Program, which is designed to give students — of any major! —professional-level proficiency in the language, preparing them to compete for the best positions in business, government service and NGOs. We are particularly proud that six of our students were recently awarded prestigious Boren Scholarships for year-long study abroad. Our graduate program also continues to thrive: we are one of the few departments in the country that can assure its students true breadth of coverage, from medieval Slavic to post-Soviet modernism. In a highly competitive market, our recent PhDs continue to find academic employment in institutions as varied as St. Andrew’s University in Scotland and the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Needless to say, we are more than grateful for the support we have received from our friends and alumni. It has permitted us to mount workshops, lectures, film showings and concerts, as well as to provide awards and other forms of assistance to our students. Please continue to support us, and stay in touch with us by linking to our Facebook account or putting yourself on our mailing list. We welcome your encouragement, your input and your involvement in our common mission: to educate our students in the “fierce and beautiful world” of Slavic, East European and Eurasian studies.

With best wishes,
Ronald Vroon

Professor and Chair