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2016 News


Slavic Department Enjoys Babushkas of Chernobyl Film Outing

May 2, 2016

 In April 2016, a group of 15 grad students, undergrads and friends from Slavic Languages and Literatures met downtown at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago to view The Babushkas of Chernobyl.  This poignant, uplifting documentary features several older women who were evicted after the nuclear plant explosion in 1986, yet decided to ignore warnings by the government and return to their homes within the "exclusion zone" near the destroyed nuclear facility.  They live off the land and maintain a tiny community in this sparsely populated area of Ukraine, where radiation levels remain dangerously high.  Director/Producer Holly Morris answered questions afterwards, noting that her team spent about 16 days filming in the exclusion zone, being careful to avoid prolonged exposure.  April 26, 2016 was the 30-year anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.


Professor Saul Morson

April 25, 2016

Congratulations to Saul Morson, Lawrence B. Dumas Professor of Arts and Humanities, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, for receiving the 2015-2016 Faculty Honor Roll Award from Associated Student Government.  Morson was also featured in College Magazine's "Top Ten Professors at Northwestern" on March 29, 2016.

Professor Morson and Northwestern University President and Economics Professor Morton Schapiro are co-editors of The Fabulous Future? America and the World in 2040 (Northwestern University Press; May 29, 2015).  Morson and Schapiro co-teach Humanities 260/Slavic 396 in winter quarter, which explores the process of decision making.

The book was inspired by Fortune magazine’s 1955 publication of The Fabulous Future: America in 1980, in which influential Americans at the time made predictions about science, technology, health and the economy 25 years in the future—many of which missed the mark.  In their introduction, Morson and Schapiro discuss their interest in asking important questions and opening a dialogue on many key issues facing America and the rest of the world.  They invited specialists from diverse fields to share their expectations for the future on topics including economics, politics, religion, health, human rights, science, technology and the environment, as well as education and communication. 

Morson and Schapiro have appeared on several TV and radio programs discussing their book, including Book TV, a C-SPAN Book Discussion (6/8/15), Chicago Tonight (6/30/15), and WGN Radio (7/6/15)


Professor Martina Kerlova

March 28, 2016

Martina Kerlovva won a 2016 Arthur Vining Davis Digital Humanities Summer Faculty Workshop stipend for her course, Prague: City of Cultures, City of Conflict, co-listed in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Department of German.

Martina is developing an interactive platform reflecting the historical, geographical and geopolitical background to the central themes discussed in the course. Her course aims to understand the development of Prague over the past two centuries from a multicultural, democratic city to a homogeneous, communist one, and ultimately to its present open and capitalist incarnation. The students in the course will research the changes that transformed Prague and make them visually more present in the classroom to enhance a multi-dimensional understanding of the discussed material.

Blair Dunbar and Weronika Wasilewski Win Fulbrights!

March 2, 2016

Slavic Major Blair Dunbar received the 2015-2016 Fulbright U.S. Student Award to Russia!  The prestigious Fulbright program is a flagship international educational exchange program.  Blair is representing the United States as a cultural ambassador while she is overseas, helping to enhance mutual understanding between Americans and Russians.  Blair also had an article published in the 2015-2016 Northwestern Undergraduate Research Journal (Vol 11), titled Why Tolstoy was Wrong: Peasant Rebellion in Post Emancipation Russia.  Weronika Wasilewski also won a Fulbright in 2016, to teach in Poland at the Philological School of Higher Education in Wroclaw, in the Faculty of Modern Languages.  Congratulations, Blair and Weronika!!!


Professor Clare Cavanagh

January 11, 2016

On December 17, 2015, Cavanagh presented at the 92nd Street Y in New York with renowned American poet Charles Simic on the works of Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012), one of Poland's most-read and best-loved poets.

A “Nobel Prize for Translators”? 

In a New York Times Book Review, Richard Lourie proposes a “Nobel-like” award for translators. “If there were such a prize,” he concludes,  “Szymborska’s translators Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh would have been awarded it at once” for Wisława Szymborska, Map: Collected and Last Poems, ed. Clare Cavanagh, tr. Clare Cavanagh and Stanisław Barańczak (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015). “Cast your eye back up on any line quoted here,” Lourie continues. “Every one seems to have been born in English.” *

The posthumous collection of Nobel Laureate Szymborska’s work was named a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice, and has received rave write-ups in other major periodicals. Booklist calls it  ‘a brilliant and important collection, in a starred review.  And Publisher’s Weekly hails “Nobel laureate Szymborska’s gorgeous posthumous collection” in another starred review.

Cavanagh (Chair, Slavic Languages and Literatures), received a PEN Translation Prize for her work, with Baranczak, on Szymborska, and her most recent scholarly book, Lyric Poetry and Modern Politics: Russia, Poland and the West, published by Yale, was given the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism.

Publishers Weekly recently interviewed Cavanagh in “How to Translate a Map: Clare Cavanagh Poetry 2015.” “Listening to Clare Cavanagh speak of translation as an art,” Jacob Victorine writes,  is a reminder that translators must be as adept as poets at working with words...Map is not only impressive because of Szymborska’s precise, intimate, and observationally funny poems...but because of Cavanagh and Baranczak’s tireless dedication in bringing them to English without sacrificing their forms." See the Publishers Weekly article about "How to Translate a Map."

See the full review on

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