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Slavic Languages and Literatures

Undergraduate Highlight


Slavic Undergrad Study in Russia

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We are happy to announce Alisher Juzgenbayev is the winner of the 2021 Slavic Radulovacki Grant to support his study of Ukrainian at the 2021 Harvard Ukrainian Summer Institute! Alisher is a first-year JD/Ph.D. student at Northwestern's Pritzker School of Law and Political Science Department. He studies comparative law and politics in countries of the Former Soviet Union. He is interested in the relationships between politicians, judges, and the legal profession in Ukraine, where he also plans to conduct field research. Congratulations, Alisher!

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Graduate Highlight


In Fall 2021 Dr. Polina Maksimovich (left) will assume the position of Teaching Assistant Professor of Russian at Denver University, where she will work closely with colleagues within the Center for World Languages and Cultures to further develop and promote the Russian program. Dr. Maksimovich will teach primarily first-year Russian language sequences, as well as contribute at the intermediate and advanced Russian courses toward the undergraduate common curriculum. She looks forward to partaking in Colorado's natural beauty. Dr. Maksimovich completed her PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures in August.  Her dissertation, “Performing Suicide: Transformation of the Superfluous Man in Soviet Drama,” analyzes the use of fake suicide as a dramatic and theatrical device for character development, in which the character’s self-identity is rerouted through the author’s perception of the self.  Her research focuses on three distinctive 20th-century plays by Iurii Olesha, Nikolai Erdman and Aleksandr Vampilov to develop a more comprehensive concept of the dramatic protagonist in Soviet drama based on Olesha’s metaphor of the beggar. 

Dr. Katherine Bowers (right) received her PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Northwestern in 2011.  She is Associate Professor of Slavic Studies, The University of British Columbia, where she has tenure.  Her monograph, Writing Fear: Russian Realism and the Gothic (University of Toronto Press, under contract), examines the way Russian realist writers used narrative models from European gothic fiction in their work. She is working on two collaborative projects with Kate Holland (Toronto): Dostoevsky at 200: The Novel in Modernity (University of Toronto Press, forthcoming), an edited volume to mark Dostoevsky’s bicentenary in 2021, and Digital Dostoevsky, a SSHRC-funded digital humanities project investigating Dostoevsky’s corpus. She is the Vice-President of the North American Dostoevsky Society and serves as a Member-at-Large on the Executive Board of the Canadian Association of Slavists.

Our Programs



Welcome to Slavic Languages and Literatures!  We offer beginning, intermediate and advanced Russian and Polish (and, less often, beginning and intermediate Czech), in addition to Russian and East European literature and film courses.  Many of our students are double majors, or are pursuing a minor in Russian and East European Studies to complement their studies.  Many of our majors and minors have studied abroad in Russia, Poland or the Czech Republic.

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Our PhD program ranks among the best in the country!  We offer individual attention and the opportunity to pursue a personalized program by way of coursework taken outside the department.  Students specialize in Russian literature, but our faculty also includes specialists in Polish, Czech and South Slavic literatures and cultures.  Our greatest strengths are in Russian prose and poetry, literary theory, and in the social and intellectual context of literary works.

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News and Events



Faculty Hiring

Northwestern University’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures invites applications for a renewable, three-year appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor of Instruction in Polish, to begin September 1, 2022. Learn more.

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Recent Publication

Economists Should Read Great Literature, according to Morson and Schapiro

Professor Saul Morson's new book, co-authored by Northwestern president Morton Schapiro, has received rave reviews, including from The Washington Post. Cents and Sensibility explains that economists should read great literature and learn from the humanities, not just mathematics.

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