October 2023


Slavic Ph.D. student David Kurkovskiy has been featured on the Arts and Humanities website as part of the campaign to celebrate language learning at Berkeley. The accompanying banners for this campaign will be placed on light posts across campus this semester.


May 2022


The Berkeley Arts & Humanities Dean’s Office recently shared these photos in an Instagram post whose fun caption was, ‘Rumor has it that if you sit at this table in the Slavic library, you’re open for discussion! It’s a hidden gem inside Dwinelle Hall with a very cool dissertation nook. Photos by Jen Siska.’


February 2022
Statement from the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at UC Berkeley:
The tragic events unfolding in Ukraine place a special burden of responsibility on those of us who teach the languages and cultures of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. Some of us were born in the region; all of us have long-standing ties to friends, family-members, and scholars living there. As citizens, educators, and scholars we unequivocally condemn this war unleashed by Russian forces on Ukrainian territory. We stand with the Ukrainian people in this hour. We express our solidarity with the citizens of neighboring states – from Belarus, Poland, Moldova, the Baltic, Central Asia, and the Caucasus – who stand for peace, freedom, and the right to resist domination by any world power. We offer our support to those in Russia who oppose this act of aggression, one that risks plunging the post-Soviet region, and with it the entire world, into a global crisis.

We stand in solidarity with our students from the region who are devastated by these events and are ready to support them.


Congratulations Professor Frick!

March 2021: Professor David Frick won an important Benedykt Polak (Benedict of Poland) Award that recognizes academics, researchers and explorers who contribute to the interpretation of Polish culture around the world. Please join me in congratulating him on this wonderful achievement!


Outstanding GSI 2020

Congratulations to Dominick Lawton on receiving this year’s Slavic Languages & Literatures  Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award!


Griffin Sean Madden Scholarship News:

The Department of Slavic Languages is pleased to announce that Madeleine Kresin ’18 has been selected as its first Griffin Sean Madden Scholar.  This award was established in memory of Griffin Sean Madden ’15, a double major in Slavic Languages and Philosophy. The award is designed to enable a Berkeley undergraduate to devote a summer to the intensive study of Russian, preferably at Middlebury, where Griffin also studied.  (Funds have also been established in Griffin’s honor in the Department of Philosophy and at Cal Performances, where Griffin worked after graduation.)

Madeleine Kresin grew up in Denver, Colorado.  An English major who plays the piano, has rowed for Cal and volunteers for an adult literacy project at the Berkeley Public Library, Madeleine hopes to spend next year living and teaching English in Russia before going to graduate school in Comparative Literature.   She is minoring in Russian and has taken courses in the Slavic Department on Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Nabokov and Tolstoy and is writing her honors thesis on Daniel Deronda and Anna Karenina. Madeleine’s introduction to the Slavic Department came in her first semester at Berkeley, when she took a class on War and Peace taught by Chloë Kitzinger. Her GSI for Russian in both Russian 1 and 2 has been Maria Whittle.

The Griffin Sean Madden scholarships have been made possible by the generosity of Griffin’s family, friends, teachers and colleagues, on whom he left a lasting impression.  The fellowship in Slavic will accelerate the language study of Berkeley students who share Griffin’s enthusiasm for Russian language, literature and culture. To support the fund, please click here.

Alumni News:

At the recent annual convention of the American Association for Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, three of our alumni received prizes for their recent work.

Polina Barskova (now Associate Professor at Hampshire) received the AATSEEL prize for the Best Literary Translation into English for her edited collection Written in the Dark: Five Poets in the Siege of Leningrad, which contains poems by Gennady Gor, Dmitry Maksimov, Sergey Rudakov, Vladimir Sterligov and Pavel Zaltsman, as translated by Anand Dibble, Ben Felker-Quinn, Ainsley Morse, Eugene Ostashevsky, Rebekah Smith, Charles Swank, Jason Wagner and Matvei Yankelevich. The book is a wonderful companion to her Besieged Leningrad: Aesthetic Responses to Urban Disaster, which appeared late last year.

Molly Brunson (now Associate Professor at Yale) received the award for Best Book in Literary and Cultural Studies for her Russian Realisms: Literature and Painting, 1840-1890.

William J. Comer (now Professor at Portland State University) received the award for the Best Contribution to Language Pedagogy for his much-acclaimed web-based text book Между нами (coauthored with Lynn DeBenedette, Alla Smyslova, and Jonathan Perkins).