Ph.D. Comparative Literature with Emphasis in Film Studies, UC Berkeley (2000)
M.A. Slavic Languages and Literatures, Columbia University, NY (1994)
B.A. Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz (1992)
Professor of Slavic, Comparative Literature, and Media and Cinema Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2017-2022)
Associate Professor of Slavic, Comparative Literature, and Media and Cinema Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2008-2017)
Assistant Professor of Slavic, Comparative Literature, and Cinema Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2001-2008)
Assistant Professor of Russian, Department of Modern Languages & Literatures, The College of William & Mary, VA (2000-2001)
Associate Editor for film & media, The Russian Review (since 2020)
Editor, Bloomsbury book series, KINO (since 2020)
Editorial Board, Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema (since 2009)
Editorial Board, Academic Studies Press (since 2008)
My specialization is in Russian, Soviet, and post-Soviet literature and film (20th-21st century), comparative literature, critical gender studies, and film history and theory. My publications range from early Russian and Soviet cinema to contemporary Russian-language film and television. My research has addressed questions of gender, sexuality, and the body in Soviet and post-Soviet culture; the history of Russian/ Soviet cinema, socialist realism, and the intersection of ideology and technology. While my two single-authored books have centered on the Stalin period, my articles and edited volumes share a broader, comparative framework, engaging with contemporary critical theory in gender and queer studies; Holocaust, genocide, and memory studies; sound studies; and documentary film. My teaching ranges from the nineteenth century to the present day, and across all periods of Soviet culture, including courses on the Russian avant-garde, Stalinism, the Thaw and late socialism, Russian/ Soviet/ post-Soviet cinema, and recent Russian-language film and television.
I approach Soviet and post-Soviet studies from a broader position as a comparatist. My first book, How the Soviet Man Was Unmade (Pittsburgh, 2008) argued that – in contrast to Stalinist monumental art’s production of virile masculinity – in literature and film, the male socialist realist hero was consistently marked by the mutilation and disintegration of his body. My attention to questions of gender and masculinity, as well as sexuality and the body in socialist realist texts opened the way for rethinking our received narratives about Stalinist cultural production. Since then, I have continued to work on issues of gender and sexuality, but I have also turned to an examination of the ways technology shapes and is shaped by ideology (including state ideology and gendered ways of seeing).
My second book, The Voice of Technology: Soviet Cinema’s Transition to Sound, 1928-1935 (Indiana 2018), focused on Soviet cinema’s transition to sound during the period of the mass cultural, political, and ideological shift known as the Great Turning Point. The book argued that the introduction of sync-sound technology to Soviet cinema was more than simply an addition of sound to image, but rather, that it made audible, for the first time, the voice of State power, directly addressing the Soviet viewer. The Voice of Technology showed how the films of the transition all marked this ideological shift from silence to sound and from the avant-garde to Socialist Realism; moreover, how each film staged its relationship to the new technology of sound as the production and the imposition of the “voice.”
My current scholarship on Soviet women’s cinema continues my engagement with both questions of gender / sexuality and the history / technology of Soviet cinema. This study is part of the emergent reexamination of the history of women’s work in the film industries across the globe, and its aim is to broaden the canon, both of Slavic film studies and of women’s cinema writ large. By focusing on a wide range of women’s cinematic production in the USSR and looking closely at the work of directors, cinematographers, and film editors, this project resituates the work of women within the Soviet cinema industry, providing a new historical and theoretical lens through which to understand their contributions. The goal is to make visible women’s work in the Soviet film industry, and to elaborate a new understanding of women’s cinema that redefines film practice in both the East and the West. By bringing together the work of women who labored within an industry where their gender didn’t “matter,” we begin to see clearly all the ways in which it did.
- The Voice of Technology
- Soviet Cinema's Transition to Sound, 1928–1935
- Indiana University Press , 2018
- How the Soviet Man Was Unmade
- Cultural Fantasy and Male Subjectivity under Stalin
- University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008
Arctic Cinemas and the Documentary Ethos, eds. Lilya Kaganovsky, Scott MacKenzie, and Anna Stenport (Indiana University Press, 2019).
Sound, Speech, Music in Soviet and Post-Soviet Cinema, eds. Lilya Kaganovsky and Masha Salazkina (Indiana University Press, 2014).
Mad Men, Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style and the 1960s, eds. Lauren M. E. Goodlad, Lilya Kaganovsky and Robert A. Rushing (Duke University Press, 2013).
Recent Publications and Work in Progress
“The New Kino-Pravda: Sergei Loznitsa’s Historical Films,” in Contemporary Russian Documentary: Negotiating the Personal and the Political, eds. Anastasia Kostina and Masha Shpolberg (Edinburgh University Press).
“Embodied Technologies: Lilya Brik’s Glass Eye (1929) and Esfir Shub’s Today (1930),” in Technologies of Mind and Body in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, eds. Claire Shaw and Anna Toropova (Bloomsbury Press, 2023).
“The Thaw as Carnival: Soviet Musical Comedy after Stalin,” in The Slavic Musical Film, ed. Helena Goscilo (Academic Studies Press, 2022).
“Soviet 1960s Cinema and the Nuclear Catastrophe: Mikhail Romm’s Ordinary Fascism and Nine Days of One Year,” in Critical Memory Studies: New Approaches, ed. Brett Kaplan (Bloomsbury Press, 2022).
“The Sound of Socialist Realism: Excess and Ideology in Stalinist Film,” in The Routledge Companion to Global Film Music in the Early Sound Era, ed. Jeremy Barham (Routledge, 2022).
“Between Pornography and Nostalgia: Valery Todorovsky’s The Thaw (Ottepel’),” Russian TV Series in the Era of Transition: Genres, Technologies, Identities, eds., Alexander Prokhorov, Elena Prokhorova, and Rimgaila Salys (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2021): 114-138.
“The Woman with a Movie Camera: Margarita Pilikhina and the Making of the Soviet New Wave,” in Нестандарт: Забытые эксперименты в русской культуре, 1934-64гг. [Nonstandard: Forgotten Experiments in Russian Culture, 1934-1964], eds. Julia Vaingurt and Bill Nichols (Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 2020): 272-304. In Russian.
“ ‘The Threshold of the Visible World’: Dziga Vertov’s A Sixth Part of the World (1926)” in Arctic Cinemas and the Documentary Ethos, eds. Lilya Kaganovsky, Scott MacKenzie, and Anna Stenport (Indiana UP, 2019): 46-67.
“Film Editing as Women’s Work: Esfir Shub, Elizaveta Svilova, and the Culture of Soviet Montage,”special issue of Apparatus, “Revealing the Invisible: Women and Editing in Central and Eastern European Film,” eds. Karen Pearlman and Adelheid Heftberger (Summer 2018).
Recent Book Reviews
Marko Dumančić, Men Out of Focus: The Soviet Masculinity Crisis in the Long Sixties. In The American Historical Review (2022).
Luka Arsenjuk, Movement, Action, Image, Montage: Sergei Eisenstein and the Cinema in Crisis. In The Russian Review 78: 3 (July 2019): 507-509.
Maria Belodubrovskaya, Not According to Plan: Filmmaking Under Stalin. In The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review 47: 2 (June 2020): 232–234. On-line publication date 19 Dec 2018.
Lea Jacobs, Film rhythm after sound: technology, music, and performance. In Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 10.3 (Fall 2016): 266-267.
Review Essay: “The Holocaust on Soviet Screens,” The Russian Review, vol. 74, no. 3 (July 2015): 484-490. 4000 words.
David Shneer, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust. In Images: A Journal of Jewish Art and Visual Culture vol. 9 (2015): 126-128.
Recent Film Reviews
Alina Gorlova, Tsey doshch nikoly ne skinchytsia (This Rain Will Never Stop, Ukraine 2020). In KinoKultura 76 (April 2022).
Kantemir Balagov, Dylda (Beanpole, Russia, 2019). In KinoKultura 68 (April 2020).
Sergei Dvortsevoi, Ayka (Kazakhstan, 2018). In KinoKultura 65 (July 2019).
Armando Iannucci, The Death of Stalin (UK / France / Belgium, 2017). In Slavic Review 78: 1 (Spring 2019): 210-213.
Sergei Loznitsa, Maidan (Ukraine / Netherlands, 2014). In Slavic Review 74, no. 4 (Winter 2015): 894-895.
Russian, Soviet, and post-Soviet Film; 20C-21C Russian, Soviet, and post-Soviet Literature and Culture; Film Theory and Historiography; Modern Critical Theory; Gender Studies; Jewish Studies; Comparative Literature
Nineteenth Century Russian Literature
Twentieth Century Russian / Soviet Literature
Russian Women’s Literature
Aesthetic Technologies of the Russian Avant-Garde
Soviet Literature and Culture after 1956
Contemporary Russian Literature
Introduction to Russian and Soviet Film
Advanced Topics in Russian and Soviet Film
Contemporary Russian Film
Eisenstein / Vertov / Dovzhenko
Documentary Aesthetics: History, Memory, Trauma