Faculty News

David Cooper (Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures) has been selected as an NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Application) Fellow for 2020-21 for his project “Successful forgeries: Analyzing fakelore for oral-formulaic epic poetry characteristics.”




George Gasyna (Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Comparative and World Literature, Jewish Culture and Society, and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory) has received a Conrad Humanities Professorial Scholar Award. This award recognizes exceptionally promising associate professors in humanities units within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois.




Jack Hutchens (Ph.D. alum in Slavic Languages and Literatures and 2019-20 Polish language Lecturer) has received the Canadian Association of Slavists’ “Article of the Year” award for 2019, for his article “Julian Stryjkowski: Polish, Jewish, queer ” published in Canadian Slavonic Papers.




Roman Ivashkiv (Slavic Languages and Literatures) has been promoted to the rank of Senior Lecturer, effective August 16, 2020. This is an important and well-deserved recognition of his invaluable contributions to both the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Program in Translation & Interpreting Studies.







Harriet Murav (Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Comparative and World Literature) has been appointed as a Professor in the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois. This appointment is one of the highest forms of campus recognition for faculty, and it reflects her outstanding scholarship and extremely high standing in her field.




Stefan Peychev (PhD in History, 2019), who has taught as a Lecturer in REEES, the Department of History, and the Department of Religion, has accepted a position as Visiting Assistant Professor at Boston College.




Judith Pintar (Teaching Associate Professor and Acting BS/IS Program Director) has been selected by the Office of the Provost and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs as the University of Illinois Distinguished Teacher-Scholar for the 2020-2021 academic year. Pintar’s award will support her project, “Gameful Pedagogy: Instructional Design for Student Well-Being.” More information on the award and project can be found here.




Valeria Sobol (Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures) has won the prize for the Best Article in the field of Ukrainian history, politics, language, literature and culture (2018-19) from the American Association for Ukrainian Studies, for her article “‘Tis Eighty Years Since: Panteleimon Kulish’s Gothic Ukraine,” published in Slavic Review.

Faculty Profile: Eugene Avrutin

eavrutinDuring his research leave at the Woodrow Wilson Institute in the spring of 2008, Eugene Avrutin by chance stumbled across a case from 1823 in the Library of Congress catalog about a ritual murder of a 3-year-old boy in a small Russian town. The case piqued his interest, and when he visited the Russian State Historical Archive in St. Petersburg several years later, he located the other twenty-four volumes of the case. Following this trip, in fall 2013, Professor Avrutin (Professor of Modern Jewish History and the Tobor Family Scholar in the Program of Jewish Culture and Society) gave a REEEC Noontime Scholars lecture on his initial findings on the ritual murder case, and this project eventually became his book The Velizh Affair: Blood Libel in a Russian Town. Published in 2018 by Oxford University Press, the book examines the aftermath of the murder which resulted in authorities charging forty-three Jews with ritual murder, theft and desecration of Russian Orthodox Church property, and the forcible conversion of three town residents, in what is the longest-running ritual murder case in world history. Professor Avrutin credits the feedback he received at the REEEC talk from his colleagues, along with the resources at our library – including the Slavic Reference Service – with allowing him to finish the project. A Russian version of the book is set to be published with Academic Studies Press in 2021. 

His work on The Velizh Affair led Avrutin, together with Robert Weinberg (Swarthmore College) and Jonathan Dekel-Chen (Hebrew University), to organize an international conference on the topic of ritual murder accusations in Russia and Eastern Europe. They brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars – working in history, folklore, ethnography, and literature – to critically reassess a topic that has surprising contemporary relevance. The essays were published as a collection in 2017 entitled Ritual Murder in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Beyond: New Histories of an Old Accusation.

Avrutin, who has published articles on documentation practices, the concept of race, and religious toleration and neighborly coexistence in the east European borderlands, is currently reading several autobiographies and other first-person sources on the problem of interethnic relations and the role of race and racism in Russian and Soviet history. He is also currently working on a multi-author book project on the long history of anti-Jewish violence in eastern Europe. The book, which he is co-editing with Professor Elissa Bemporad of the City University of New York (CUNY), is intended primarily as a teaching tool for undergraduates, and he plans to use it in the courses that he teaches. Avrutin and Bemporad organized a workshop at the Center for Jewish History in New York last year with plans to publish the presentations in the tentatively titled Pogroms: A Documentary History. Each chapter will be divided between primary sources in English translation and a short essay contextualizing the sources. Other members of the UIUC community are also involved in the project: Harriet Murav (Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures) has contributed a chapter on documentary fiction and the pogroms of the Russian Civil War, and several undergraduate students have helped with the project as Research Assistants.   

Professor Avrutin is currently teaching a new course called Zionism: A Global History. The course was originally designed for LAS Online, so it was unaffected by the campus-wide switch to online learning this semester. Nearly 120 students are enrolled in the class, including UIUC’s former Chancellor, Richard Herman, who is auditing. The class “encourages a deeper understanding of Jewish culture and society, the history of nationalism, and the encounters between Jews and Arabs…through an analysis of primary sources and deep contextualizing of the historical and political landscape of the 19th and 20th centuries.” Avrutin, who prerecorded the lectures last summer, says teaching the class online has been “a fantastic experience so far.” He will be teaching this course online again in the Fall. 

Professor Avrutin often conducts his research abroad in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kyiv, Vilnius, Minsk, and Lviv. Among other things, Avrutin says what he loves most about Russia, eastern Europe, and Eurasia is actually a particular pastry that he is currently missing: “I miss the cheese danishes. They are really good. Usually, I get one from a street stand on my way to work at an archive or library, but unfortunately not this year.” Professor Avrutin originally hoped to go to Warsaw this summer for a workshop at the POLIN museum on Jews and prisons, as well as to St. Petersburg to conduct archival research at the Russian State Historical Archive, but unfortunately those trips are no longer possible due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. He hopes to travel to Vilnius next year for a conference and research at the historical archive. 


National Security Implications of the COVID-19 Crisis: The Urgent Need to Build State Capacity

The following is a repost of an article recently published on the Minerva Research Initiative’s blog, Owl in the Olive by REEEC faculty affiliate Cynthia Buckley (Professor of Sociology, University of Illinois), Ralph Clem (Emeritus Professor of Geography and Senior Fellow at the Stephen J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, Florida International University), and Erik Herron (Eberly Family Professor of Political Science, West Virginia University). The original article and the associated readings can be found here.

Beyond the devastating and widely discussed humanitarian and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the current global crisis also exposes the dangers inherent in governmental shortcomings to provide for their citizens’ welfare adequately. In other words: the downside is almost universally a failure of state capacity. In its broadest sense, state capacity refers to the ability of a government to control its territory and extract the means for survival from the population. However, we emphasize the third aspect of state capacity that is more relevant to the subject at hand: the ability to deliver services that provide well-being and how the populace perceives that delivery. Failure in this regard, which unfortunately is an option, will likely manifest ultimately in a growing lack of confidence among citizens in their governments, which in turn portends an erosion of legitimacy and, if left unchecked, may lead to political and geopolitical instability.

Our Minerva research focuses on this state capacity-legitimacy-stability linkage and the geopolitical dynamic between/among states. Our particular interest is in the post-Soviet space and how inequalities in the provision of social welfare services (such as healthcare) lead to vulnerabilities that can be exploited by aggressor states (notably Russia in our case) through malign influence campaigns (Buckley, Clem, and Herron 2019). The concept, however, is generalizable to other actors (notably China) and other regions.

The White Zone Fight
It is a mistake, in our opinion, to think of national security without considering human security, the latter a product of a state’s capacity to provide its population with the essential elements of well-being such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, and freedom-from-want. The recent focus in the national security community discourse on “gray zone” conflict, including non-kinetic means (Barno and Bensahel 2015) largely ignores state capacity/human security per se. If one imagines a continuum from peace at the left and multi-domain warfare at the right with the gray zone somewhere in the middle, we envision a “white zone” at the “far left of boom” (Buckley, Clem, and Herron 2020), and see that as an arena within which strategic competition also occurs.

Within this white zone, the crucial factor in assessing threats to state resilience is the degree of socioeconomic inequality. Research extant establishes these inequalities as precursors of intra-state conflict (Østby 2008; Taydas and Peksen 2012; Tikuisis, Carment, and Samy 2013). We suggest here that if socioeconomic inequalities persist, then the white zone is particularly vulnerable to disinformation campaigns—“the purposeful dissemination of information intended to mislead or harm” (Nemr and Gangware 2019, emphasis original)—directed against elements of state capacity by external state actors as well, either directly or via proxies. The widespread use of disinformation in the internet/digital age is by now well established (Singer and Brooking 2019), as is the fact that false news spreads more rapidly through the infosphere than true information (Vosoughi, Roy, and Aral 2018). Further, we concur with research in the field of conflict studies that points to the salience of regional versus national-level studies because the latter disguise important internal spatial inequalities (especially in border regions) and have, partially as a result, been ineffective in predicting the outbreak of violence (Raleigh, Linke, Hegre, and Karlsen 2010; Ward, Greenhill, and Bakke 2010; Paasi 2009).

As regards inequalities in state capacity delivery, current scholarship on third-party disinformation suggests that public health is a particularly vulnerable white zone target, with widespread activities across platforms and national contexts directed against that sector well before the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Highlighting the type of issues, regional characteristics, and individual risk factors associated with the acceptance of disinformation, Wang and colleagues (2019) stress the urgency of countering public health disinformation. That imperative derives especially because people will die as a consequence of being mis/disinformed, but such malign untruths also contribute to a “failed state” narrative and, ultimately, instability (Grävingholt, Ziaja, and Kreibaum, 2012).

Russian Disinformation
Russia entered the white zone disinformation fight early and now dominates it. Social media is the primary vector through which Russia directs offensive disinformation against neighboring states in the white zone. But broadcast media has also played a major role, particularly in areas or among social groups with low Internet penetration that typically receive information from television. Russian actions intended to influence “values and identities” to undermine the confidence of citizens in neighboring countries’ institutions have been investigated (Atran, Davis, and Davulcu 2020). Indeed, Driscoll and Steinert-Threlkeld (2020) suggest that, with appropriate cautions, social media analysis can be used to judge the efficacy of Russian information operations in the Ukraine conflict, even, possibly, to some extent guiding the scope of military intervention.

Russia, frequently through its RT (formerly Russia Today) television network, has been very active in propagating disinformation regarding viral epidemics, often depicting the US as the source of contagions, including COVID-19 (Broad 2020; RT 2020). But Russian malign influence operations directed specifically against elements of state capacity have also occurred but are not as well documented (Hurska 2020) nor necessarily seen in a national security context. A case in point is the Twitter bot and troll messaging activity from Russian sources relating “unverified and erroneous information about vaccines” (Broniatowski et al 2018). This specific campaign had a major impact, among other causes, on the prevalence of measles in Ukraine, which became a serious public health crisis in that country (Wadman 2019). That type of crisis, overtly seen as “merely” a contentious debate on the merits of vaccination, readily morphs into a deepening lack of trust in the country’s public health system that, in Ukraine, is abysmally low to begin with (Gallup Wellcome Global Monitor 2019).

Likewise, as a BBC investigation revealed, Russia launched a sophisticated state-sponsored broadcast media campaign in Georgia to malign the US-funded Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research (BBC 2018; Lentzos 2018). Through a public opinion survey, the authors and a colleague, in a recent working paper, find that a significant proportion of respondents in Georgia report the belief that the Lugar Center is used for US-directed biological weapons research or are undecided on the subject (Buckley, Clem, Herron, and Tepnadze 2020). The irony of this particular Russian government disinformation effort, vectored through the Russian media in Georgia, is notable inasmuch as the Lugar Center is that country’s main testing facility for COVID-19, yet it is portrayed as a source of the virus (Cockerell 2020).

Recognizing and Countering White Zone Threats
Not surprisingly, as discussed previously in this forum, Russian non-kinetic disinformation warfare is a persistent threat and therefore requires persistent engagement if its effects are to be mitigated (Atran, Davis, and Davulcu 2020). Additionally, understanding that all societies have inherent weaknesses—although clearly some more than others– it follows that states must in the first instance be prepared to recognize malign influence attacks against elements of state capacity (Buckley, Clem, and Herron 2020). The European Union has assumed a leading role in identifying and reporting Russian disinformation operations through its European External Action Service (EEAS). That agency recently reported the breadth of disinformation content directed at European audiences from Russian “state and state-backed actors [seeking] to exploit the [COVID-19] public health crisis to advance geopolitical interests, often by challenging the credibility of the European Union and its partners” (EEAS 2020). Disruptive narratives included the “man made” virus conspiracy theory and providing false “advice” as to how the disease might be avoided. According to this same report, Russian disinformation messaging to Ukraine included the portrayal of that country “as a failed state that was abandoned by its European allies”.

Recognizing that white zone disinformation attacks proliferate, the question of how to counter them remains largely unanswered, although fact-checking and counter-narratives must be undertaken (Nemr and Gangware 2018) and, certainly, deeper “social science research on psychological vulnerabilities and cultural preferences” (Atran, Davis, and Davulcu 2020) that might predispose individuals to be accepting of false narratives are in order. That said, if socioeconomic inequalities are the baseline vulnerability in the white zone, then it follows that in order to bolster security states must place a higher priority on addressing those weaknesses through more robust capacity and enhanced levels of human security. That the state is the dominant, if not exclusive, actor in providing capacity is not a novel idea; the seminal work dates back to 1985 (Evans, Rueschemeyer, and Skocpol) and has been enhanced since (Geddes 1994, Corbridge et al 2005). We understand that the political will and economic wherewithal to execute policies to ameliorate these problems is quite another matter, not to mention the quality of governance and issues with corruption in effecting real change. But absent an understanding that state capacity is the bedrock on which national security is constructed, the ground will remain fertile for disinformation from Russia, China, or other malefactors.


Cynthia Buckley is Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on population dynamics in Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia.

Ralph Clem is Emeritus Professor of Geography and Senior Fellow at the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University. He specializes in the geopolitics of post-Soviet states.

Erik Herron is the Eberly Family Professor of Political Science at West Virginia University. His research deals mainly with electoral systems and election administration in post-Soviet countries, in particular Ukraine.

Illinois Professor Examines Storytelling Artistry of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The following is a repost of an article published by the Illinois News Bureau on a new book by REEEC-affiliated faculty Professor Richard Tempest (Associate Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures).

Richard Tempest - professor, dept. of Slavic Languages and LiteraturesCHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A new book about Russian novelist and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn considers him not just as a critic of the Soviet regime, but as a literary artist whose writing was experimental, imaginative and humorous.

Overwriting Chaos: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Fictive Worlds,” by Richard Tempest, a Slavic languages and literatures professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is both an analysis of Solzhenitsyn’s fictional works and an intellectual and artistic biography. It is the first study in English of Solzhenitsyn’s entire corpus of prose.

“Solzhenitsyn was one of the emblematic figures of the late Cold War period. The way he confronted the Soviet government really changed minds, both inside the USSR and outside,” Tempest said. “He has been studied and written about as a public figure; a political dissident; a commentator on Soviet, Russian and Western public issues; and as a powerful voice for the people – prisoners, the persecuted, Russian patriots; but less so as an author of stories and novels and prose poems. I am trying to recontextualize him in that sense.”

Tempest interviewed Solzhenitsyn several times during the last years of the author’s life. He described Solzhenitsyn as an innovative writer and a fan of other experimental and avant-garde writers. He examines Solzhenitsyn’s connections to other writers, both Russian and Western.

“Every story, every novel is a complete imagined world unto itself, with a humankind, geography, climate, flora and its own logic. It can be very playful and magical. That’s the way I look at him,” Tempest said. “As an artist, he had tremendous fun writing. He liked all kinds of tricks and in-jokes and private witticisms.”

Solzhenitsyn often populated his imagined worlds with representations of himself or people he knew, Tempest said. In one of the novels of the multivolume saga “The Red Wheel,” when describing the eastern front of World War I, Solzhenitsyn wrote scenes with an artillery commander and a young gunner whose descriptions are based on Solzhenitsyn’s father (the young gunner) and the author’s own commanding officer in World War II.

solzhenitsyn book cover tempest“This kind of detail is an entirely private tribute to an officer this author admired so much,” Tempest said. “He plucked him out of World War II and put him in this epic of World War I, kept his appearance and his temperament, and made him his own father’s CO.”

Even his minor characters were imagined with well-thought-out detail, Tempest said. Solzhenitsyn described a character from “The Red Wheel,” a talkative professor, as having hands like pincers and forearms like wrenches.

“He turns him into a kind of steampunk image. He’s a peripheral character, but he jumps off the page. Solzhenitsyn took so much delight in the business of storytelling,” Tempest said.

In “The Gulag Archipelago” – his famous history of the Soviet Union’s forced labor camps – Solzhenitsyn observed that the names of the secret police officers, which translated into phrases such as “prison gruel” and “smack you in the face,” reflected their jobs. “He had the ability to see the ridiculous even in the most horrible situation,” Tempest said.

The book examines Solzhenitsyn’s portraits of Lenin and Stalin “as twin monsters of an utterly modern kind, and the Russian revolution as a catastrophic turning point in world history that was both terrifying and farcical.”

In “The First Circle” – a prison novel and one of the books for which Solzhenitsyn was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature – he imagines Stalin living in an above-ground bunker, surrounded by guards and cringing cohorts, full of fear and hate, and only functioning at night, “like a vampire or a zombie. It’s a wonderful kind of historical fairy tale,” Tempest said. Stalin may be sickly and old, but the will to power still pulsates inside that withered frame, while his fanatical followers worship the dictator like a god and propose renaming the moon after him, he said. The secret parallel is with Adolf Hitler, who was in a similar nocturnal, hermetically sealed environment, his most fanatical followers at his side.

Stalin’s predecessor, Lenin, who carried out the revolution and founded the Soviet state, is shown in “The Red Wheel” as a brilliant, malevolent nihilist who is both aridly ideological and quirkily human. Solzhenitsyn uses Lenin’s own collected works to resurrect the antihero’s speech patterns, so that the revolutionary leader’s repetitive, jargon-filled bombast becomes the instrument of his own deconstruction, Tempest said.

The author depicts the Russian Revolution as a brutal, irrational national spasm for which both the elites and the people bear equal responsibility. Here he is on the same page as one of his favorite philosophers, Nietzsche, who believed that “madness is rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, nations and ages, it is the rule,” Tempest said.

Solzhenitsyn talked about post-Soviet Russia “as a place of human misery with tremendous disparities of wealth,” Tempest said. He looks at Solzhenitsyn’s support of Russian President Vladimir Putin as an expression of the writer’s desire to see Russia, which had suffered so much throughout its history (“we lost the 20th century,” Solzhenitsyn once said), restored to the first rank of the world’s great powers, in both a cultural and a geopolitical sense.


Notes from Bosnia-Herzegovina

The following is a repost from the Illinois Global Institute’s Global Voices on the Pandemic website. Professor Helms gave a New Directions Lecture for REEEC in 2014.

Bihac, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnia-GlobalVoicesBihac, Bosnia-Herzegovina, a small town on the border with Croatia and therefore the European Union: I’m an anthropologist studying the range of local responses to this area’s having become a bottleneck for several thousand migrants, refugees, and other people on the move hoping to cross the border into a western EU country. Because of anti-virus measures, around 3,000 people have been closed into camps for a month now, while several more thousand are living crowded into abandoned buildings without water, food, or information about the pandemic, much less the required masks and gloves. Social distancing means little to them – they have bigger problems as they continue to cross the border and get violently pushed back without belongings or money. Meanwhile, hundreds of Bosnians who work abroad have come back and are now stuck in quarantine tents at the border. Suddenly these conditions are deemed unsuitable for human habitation, especially because these are “our people” rather than migrants. Those who oppose the presence of migrants have added another layer to their complaints – now migrants are flouting the anti-virus measures. While we’re trapped in our houses (and those over 65 and under 18 cannot go out at all) they wander around wherever they want! Actually, they cannot go just anywhere – many of the shops that are still open now forbid entry to migrants because of the virus, creating an extra burden on local volunteers struggling to supply migrants with essential food and supplies. This is a weird time to be an ethnographer as I watch the precious sabbatical time I won’t get again soon tick away without being able to do the interviews and site visits I had planned, when those valuable chance encounters and small talk have all but disappeared behind our masks. But I still follow social media discussions, take part in neighborhood dynamics (from across the fence), and continue volunteer work with migrants both inside and outside the camps, taking precautions for the virus. I always emphasize to my students that ethnographers must be ready for the unexpected; I’m having to remember my own advice every day now.


Elissa Helms is Associate Professor in the Department of Gender Studies at the Central European University. Trained as an anthropologist, her work has focused on Bosnia-Herzegovina through topics of gender and war violence, nationalism, NGO activism, and most recently humanitarianism, race, and belonging on the border with the European Union. 

REEEC-Affiliated Faculty Receive IPRH Fellowships

Three REEEC-affiliated faculty members have received 2020-2021 fellowships from the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH): Zsuzsa Gille (Professor of Sociology), Harriet Murav (Professor of Comparative and World Literatures and Slavic Languages and Literatures), and John Randolph (Associate Professor of History and Director of REEEC) were among those awarded for the upcoming academic year. In partnership with the Illinois Global Institute, the theme for this year’s program is “The Global and Its Worlds.”

Their projects are as follows:

Zsuzsa Gille, IPRH fellowship: “The New Globals: Anthropocene and Capitalocene”

Harriet Murav, IPRH fellowship: “Archive of Violence: The Literature of Abandonment and the Russian Civil War (1917-1922)”

John Randolph, Training in Digital Methods for Humanists (TDMH) fellowship: “The Classroom and the Future of the Historical Record”


For the complete list of fellows and projects, please see here.

New Article Published in The Russian Review by Diane Koenker and Benjamin Bamberger

Diane Koenker (former REEEC Director) and Benjamin Bamberger (recent History Ph.D. and current REEEC staff member) have co-authored a new article, “Tips, Bonuses, or Bribes: The Immoral Economy of Service Work in the Soviet 1960s” in the April 2020 edition of The Russian Review. Benjamin also created the cover image for the issue.


From the issue announcement:

“The cover image includes a collection of photographed correspondence from the Rubinov Papers located at the Library of Congress. Anatolii Zakharovich Rubinov was a prominent Soviet journalist who worked for over three decades at Literaturnaia gazeta where he assiduously collected reader responses to the newspaper’s articles, particularly those dealing with everyday life and consumption.

The letters included here illustrate the variety of reader correspondence that responded to a provocative Literaturka article, encouraging tipping in the service sector, analyzed in our article by Diane P. Koenker and Benjamin Bamberger. The ubiquitous and varied art on the envelopes likewise reflects some of the main goals of Soviet socialism in the late 1960s, from increased resources for leisure activities, to modern travel, to more plentiful consumer goods.

Most letter writers included their names and addresses (obscured here for privacy), with some even requesting an official reply. The collage was produced by Benjamin Bamberger using Adobe InDesign to portray the letters as they
might have appeared on the editor’s desk.”

The article is available here with university login credentials.

What do Russians hope to gain from U.S. elections interference?

This is a re-post of an interview conducted by the Illinois News Bureau with REEEC faculty affiliate Richard Tempest (Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures). For the original interview, please see https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/804916

Richard Tempest - professor, dept. of Slavic Languages and Literatures

Professor David Cooper Awarded AATSEEL Prize for Best Scholarly Translation

dlcoopREEEC Affiliated Faculty member David Cooper (Associate Professor of Slavic Languages & Literatures) has won the AATSEEL Prize for Best Scholarly Translation, for his recent book The Queen’s Court and Green Mountain Manuscripts with Other Forgeries of the Czech Revival. Edited and Translated by David L. Cooper (Ann Arbor, MI, Michigan Slavic Publications, 2018).

From the AATSEEL website:

The “Queen’s Court” and “Green Mountain” manuscripts (Rukopis královédvorský and Rukopis zelenohorský, respectively) belong to one of the stranger textual traditions of the nineteenth century, namely, the practice of bolstering the project of Romantic nationalism by producing forgeries that would make the language’s literary heritage appear richer than it was. Though purported to be centuries-old transcriptions of epic and lyric verse bound to the oral tradition, the texts gathered in this generous anthology were produced in the early nineteenth century by scholars connected to the Czech National Revival. And while philologists working within the same movement were the first to cast doubt on the texts’ authenticity, the earliest English translations of these poems, produced in the 1840s and 1850s, only extended their legend as artifacts of an ancient Slavic literature.

In both the quality of these English translations and the judicious arrangement of the scholarly apparatus that accompanies them, David Cooper has provided an exciting, multifaceted work: a sourcebook of materials from a key episode in Czech literary history, an illustrated reflection on the nature of Romantic forgery, and an inviting presentation of poems whose value demands to be read beyond their bizarre origin. Here is a book that, while firmly rooted in Bohemistics, demands the attention of those engaged more broadly in the study of Romantic tradition, medievalism, and literary hoaxes.

For more information and to see the other book prize winners, click here.

Judith Pintar Named CITL Faculty Fellow

REEEC faculty affiliate Judith Pintar (Teaching Associate Professor in the School of Information Sciences) has been named a Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning (CITL) Faculty Fellow. The fellowship period lasts September 2019 to August 2020. The new program “draws upon Fellows’ unique perspectives and academic interests to assist CITL staff in identifying faculty needs and reducing barriers to participation in CITL programs, workshops, and events.” Dr. Pintar’s research focuses on Social Informatics, interactive AI, the development of tools to foster programming literacy through collaborative game design, and social narrative approaches to trauma and memory studies. She teaches a course at the iSchool called IS 490PD: Playful Design Methods and is the director of Games @ Illinois: Playful Design for Transformative Education.

To view the announcement, “Knox and Pintar Named CITL Faculty Fellows”, please see https://ischool.illinois.edu/news-events/news/2019/11/knox-and-pintar-named-citl-faculty-fellows

For more information about the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning (CITL), please see https://citl.illinois.edu/