Core Team | Graduate Fellows | Advisory Board

Principle Investigator

  • Valentina Izmirlieva | Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature (Columbia University)

    Valentina Izmirlieva is a historian of Balkan and Russian religious cultures. She holds an appointment as Professor in the Slavic Department of Columbia University, where she has taught since 1999 and currently serves as Department Chair. She is also the Faculty Director of the Columbia Summer Program in Balkan Transcultural Studies, hosted by Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and developed in partnership with the Columbia Global Centers—Turkey.

    Much of Professor Izmirlieva’s work addresses cultural exchanges among Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the context of multi-ethnic, multi-religious empires and their successor states. She explores religious coexistence through a wide range of quotidian forms, inviting a conversation about Muslim-Christian-Jewish interactions outside the dominant paradigms of “conflict studies” and “the clash of civilizations.” She is the author of All the Names of The Lord: Lists, Mysticism and Magic (University of Chicago, 2008), co-editor (with Boris Gasparov) of the volume Translation and Tradition in Slavia Orthodoxa (2012), and contributor to the recent Routledge Companion to Literature and Religion (2016) with a chapter on Dostoevsky. Her current project is a monograph about Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem who took as their model the Muslim Hajj to Mecca.

    Professor Izmirlieva is the recipient of major academic distinctions, including Fulbright Scholarship, Fellowship at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion in the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, Title VIII National Research Competition Grant by the National Council for East European and Eurasian Research, and Howard Foundation Fellowship. In 2012-2013, she was the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers of the New York Public Library.

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Core Team

  • Marijeta Bozovic | Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature (Yale University)

    Marijeta Bozovic is Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, affiliated with Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. A specialist in 20th- and 21st-century Russian and East European cultures with broad comparative interests, she is the author of Nabokov’s Canon: From Onegin to Ada (Northwestern University Press, 2016), and the co-editor (with Matthew Miller) of Watersheds: Poetics and Politics of the Danube River (Academic Studies Press, 2016) and (with Brian Boyd) of Nabokov Upside Down (Northwestern University Press, forthcoming in 2017). She is currently working on her second monograph, Avant-Garde Post– : Radical Poetics After the Soviet Union. All of Bozovic’s projects—including work on Vladimir Nabokov’s English-language texts, contemporary Russian protest poetry, Digital Humanities approaches to émigré archives, Danube and Black Sea studies—share a commitment to the study of transnational cultural flow, politics and aesthetics, cultural capital and its geographical distributions. Bozovic is the co-editor of the academic journal Russian Literature; the co-curator of the “Poetry after Language" colloquy for Stanford University’s ARCADE digital salon; and a contemporary film and literature reviewer for The Los Angeles Review of Books.

  • Rossen Djagalov | Assistant Professor of Slavic Literature (New York University)

    Rossen Djagalov is an Assistant Professor of Russian at NYU. His interests lie in socialist culture globally and, more specifically, in the linkages between cultural producers and audiences in the USSR and abroad. His manuscript, “Premature Postcolonialists: Soviet-Third-World Literary and Cinematic Encounters in the Age of Three Worlds,” reconstructs the history of the main organizations within which those encounters took place–the Afro-Asian Writers’ Association (founded in Tashkent in 1958) and the biannual Tashkent Festival of African, Asian and Latin American Film (1968-1990)–and their consequences for Soviet and Third-World literature and film. His second book project, “The People’s Republic of Letters: Towards a Media History of Twentieth-Century Socialist Internationalism,” examines the relationship between the political left and the different media that at different times played a major role in connecting its publics globally (the proletarian novel of the first half of the 20th century, the singer-songwriter performance of the 1960s, and contemporary documentary film). He is a member of the LeftEast editorial collective. Prior to coming to NYU, Rossen was a graduate student at Yale’s Comparative Literature program, a lecturer at Harvard’s History and Literature Program, a Penn Humanities Forum postdoctoral fellow, and an Assistant Professor in Comparative Literature at Koç University, Istanbul.

  • Catherine Evtuhov | Professor of History (Columbia University)

    Catherine Evtuhov is a Professor of History at Columbia University. A specialist in the history of Russia, she first taught the course, "The Black Sea in History," at Georgetown University in 1998. Since then, she and Ottomanist Gábor Ágoston have co-taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses on the Black Sea and on Russian-Ottoman encounters. They received a grant to create a "virtual textbook" on Black Sea history, and organized an international workshop, "The Black Sea in History and Politics," at Georgetown in 2001. Evtuhov and Ágoston have advised a new generation of PhD students working on the Black Sea region, including dissertations by Kahraman Şakul ("An Ottoman Global Moment: The War of the Second Coalition in the Levant," 2009), Andrew Robarts ("'A Plague on Both Houses'? Population Movements and the Spread of Disease Across the Ottoman-Russian Black Sea frontier, 1768-1830s," 2010), and Mariya Amelicheva ("The Russian Residency in Constantinople, 1700-1774: Russo-Ottoman Diplomatic Encounters," 2016). Evtuhov was a Fulbright Scholar at Boğaziçi University in İstanbul, where she taught Russian history and history of ideas, in 2012-13. specializing

  • Rory Finnin | Senior Lecturer of Slavic Literature (Cambridge University, UK)

    Rory Finnin is Head of the Department of Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge. He also directs the Ukrainian Studies programme at Cambridge and chairs the Cambridge Committee for Russian and East European Studies (CamCREES). His primary research interest is the interplay of literature and national identity in Ukraine. He also studies modern Crimean Tatar literature, Soviet Russian dissident literature, and Turkish nationalist literature. His broader interests include nationalism theory, human rights discourse, and problems of cultural memory. One of Finnin's current projects is a comparative study of the circulation of solidarity in Black Sea literatures.

  • Gelina Harlaftis | Professor of Maritime History (Ionian University, Greece)

    Gelina Harlaftis is Professor of Maritime History in the Department of History of Ionian University. She graduated from the University of Athens and completed her graduate studies at the Universities of Cambridge (M.Phil.) and Oxford (D.Phil.). She was President of the International Maritime Economic History Association (2004–2008) and visiting Fellow in universities of Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. She has led numerous research projects, the most recent being “The Black Sea and its port cities, 1774-1914. Development, convergence and linkages with the global economy” within the operational programme “Thalis,” co-financed by the European Union and the Greek Ministry of Education from 2012–2015 ( Her most recent books are Merchant ‘Colonies’ in the Early Modern Period (15th–18th Centuries) with Viktor Zakharov and Olga Katsiardi-Hering (Chatto & Pickering 2012), World’s Key Industry with Jesus Valdaliso and Stig Tenold (Palgrave/Macmillan 2012), Greek Shipping History, 1700–1821 with Katerina Papakonstantinou (Kedros, Athens, 2013, in Greek) and Greeks in the Azov, from the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century. New approaches in the history of the Greeks in South Russia with Evrydiki Sifneos (National Research Foundation, Athens 2015).

  • Yonca Köksal | Associate Professor of History (Koç University, Turkey)

    Yonca Köksal is an associate professor in the Department of History at Koç University. She holds a PhD from the Department of Sociology, Columbia University. Her research interests include state-society relations in the nineteenth century Ottoman Empire, Tanzimat reforms in Ottoman Bulgaria, nationalism and minority politics in Bulgaria and Turkey. She has published two books in Turkish and several articles in English and Turkish. Her most recent publications are in Turkish Studies, Nationalities Papers, American Behavioral Scientist, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, New Perspectives on Turkey and Middle Eastern Studies.

  • Cleo Protokhristova | Professor of Comparative Literature (Plovdiv University, Bulgaria)

    Cleo Protokhristova is Professor of Ancient and West European Literature and Comparative Literature at Paisii Hilendarski University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. She has published eight single-authored books, six coedited volumes, and over a hundred articles and reviews. Her publications include Themes and Variations. Studies in Literary Thematics (2016), Notes from the Antechamber. Theory and Practices of Titling (2014), The Mirror: Literary, Metadiscursive and Cultural Comparative Trajectories (2004), West European Literature: Comparative Observations, Theses, Ideas (2000, 2003, 2008). Her current research is on cultural studies and classical reception (edited: Who Is Medea to Us? [2009], The Fate of Oedipus: The Bulgarian Reception [2011], Attica In Bulgaria [2013]. Forthcoming is her book The Literary Twentieth Century: Synchronic Cuts and Diachronic Projections.

  • Tamta Khalvashi | Assistant Professor of Anthropology (Free University of Tbilisi, Georgia)

    Tamta Khalvashi is an Assistant Professor at Free University of Tbilisi and former Fulbright Scholar at New York University. She holds her doctorate from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen. Khalvashi’s research has covered a wide spectrum of anthropological themes, ranging from nationalist cosmologies, Muslim and Christian religious conversions, forms of marginality in transitional economies, and global ramifications of Georgia’s recent neoliberal urban transformation. Drawing on richly detailed ethnographic research in the Georgian Black Sea city of Batumi, she is currently writing a book onoptimism, debt and speculations about the future in the context of dramatic urban restructuring wrought by postsocialist revolutions and political change.

    Her research interests also include interrelations between social theory and visual anthropology. Khalvashi has recently started working on a documentary film project on the future port city of Anaklia currently under construction on the Georgian Black Sea coast that is sought to serve as a cargo gateway between China and Europe.

  • Aleksander Boskovic | Lecturer in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Columbia University

    Aleksandar Bošković is a Lecturer in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Columbia University, where he teaches courses on Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav cinema and literature, as well as on the intersection of literature and visual culture in Slavic avant-gardes. He has published essays on issues of digital mnemonics, Yugonostalgia and cultural memory, avant-garde photobooks, Serbian poetry and post-Yugoslav fiction, history of European Küntstlerroman, and the theory of possible worlds. He is the author of The Poetic Humor in Vasko Popa’s Oeuvre (Institute for Literature and Art in Belgrade, 2008) and a co-editor (with Tatjana Aleksić) of Mediated Resistance: The Struggle of Independent Mediascapes During the Yugoslav Dissolution (Brill, 2017). He is currently working on several projects, including the anthology of Yugoslav modernism and the book manuscript, Slavic Avant-Garde Cinepoetry, a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary exploration of photopoetry and bioscopic books within Slavic avant-gardes.

  • Mona Momescu | Lecturer in Romanian, Columbia University

    Mona Momescu specializes in Romanian Studies and Romanian Language. Her research focus mainly on Romanian modern identity and the transition periods in history and culture, (see her book Identitate și complexe [Identity and Identity Complexes], Univ of Bucharest Press, 2008) and the nature and mechanisms of cultural elites in post-1989 Romanian collective identity (see the book she co-edited with Sorin Adam Matei and contributed to: Idolii forului [The Idols of the Public Space] Corint, 2010. She has published articles on Romanian Studies in relation to the Balkan complex; her conference papers have focused mostly on identity integration in language and culture teaching, Romanian national cultural complexes in relation to the homogenization of the global age, etc. At Columbia, she teaches Romanian language and Culture in a program run by the Romanian Language Institute in Bucharest, the Slavic Dept, the Eastern and Central European Center and the Language Resource Center.

  • Lauren Ninoshvili | Lecturer in Georgian, Columbia University

    Lauren Ninoshvili is Adjunct Professor of Music at Barnard College and Lecturer in Georgian at Columbia University. She holds the Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Columbia and has published in the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Yearbook for Traditional Music, Popular Music and Society, and Music and Politics, among other venues. From 2012–2014 she was ACLS New Faculty Fellow in the Department of Music at New York University. She is currently writing a book on language, traditional polyphonic song, and cultural tourism in postsocialist Georgia.

  • Bradley Gorski | Digital Humanities Project Manager and Term Assistant Professor, Barnard College

    Bradley Gorski is Term Assistant Professor in Slavic at Barnard College where he teaches a range of Russian and comparative literature and culture courses. His dissertation, “Authors of Success: Cultural Capitalism and Literary Evolution in Contemporary Russia,” examines various technologies of literary prominence in post-Soviet Russia—from mass literature to social media—and their attendant effects on the development of contemporary literature. His secondary interests include postwar Soviet literature and culture, the Soviet and post-Soviet peripheries, and digital approaches to the humanities.

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Graduate Student Research Fellows

  • Marlow Davis | Graduate Research Fellow, Russian Istanbul Archive Project
  • Ararat Sekeryan | Graduate Research Fellow, Russian Istanbul Archive Project
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Advisory Board

  • Alexander Cooley | Director, Harriman Institute | Claire Tow Professor of Political Science, Barnard College
  • Dan E. Davidson | President, American Councils | Professor of Russian and Second Language Acquisition, Bryn Mawr College
  • Peter B. Kaufman | President and Executive Producer, Intelligent Television | President and Executive Director, Read.Russia
  • Rashid Khalidi | Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, Columbia University
  • Charles King | Professor of International Affairs and Government, Georgetown University
  • Ivan Krastev | Chairman of the Center for Liberal Studies, Sofia, Bulgaria | Permanent Fellow, Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna, Austria
  • Mark Mazower | Director, Heyman Center for the Humanities | Ira D. Wallach Professor of History, Columbia University
  • Serguei Oushakine | Associate Professor of Anthropology and Slavic Literatures, Princeton University