Research interests (continued):
Title of PhD Thesis: 'Russian Thinker Lev Shestov from a Literary Perspective'. Field: Franco-Russian Studies. Theme: irrationalist and existentialist trends in Russian intellectual history at the crossroads of philosophy, theology and literature, and a reception of these trends in the West, at the turn of the nineteenth century.
- Brief Summary: The thesis centred around the most controversial representative of these currents of thought - the Russian Jewish religious philosophical writer Lev Shestov (1866-1938), who earned a reputation during the Silver Age (i.e. the Russian cultural renaissance of the early 20th century) for his unconventional studies of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy from the point of view of Nietzsche's critique of systematic philosophy and ethics. In bridging different cultural eras and foreseeing many significant developments of 20th century culture, Shestov is of high relevance to contemporary culture, and remains, as Albert Camus once described him, one of the few philosophers most important to the new 'Man of the Absurd'. In 1921 Shestov settled in France and became the most prominent figure of early existential thought (a precursor of the better-known Sartrean Existentialism). Viewing his works from a literary perspective (an approach which is novel in comparison with more conventional treatment of this thinker as philosopher or theologian), I analysed Shestov's original method and his conclusions in his philosophically-oriented treatment of Russian literature, and demonstrated that Shestov anticipated various modern and post-modern trends.
- On Russian Cultural Continuity: Tracing Chekhovian motives to modern film, and demonstrating ethical and aesthetic continuity in the works of Chekhov and Dovlatov; Mayakovsky and Vysotsky, Ahkmatova, Brodsky and Chekhov. I have also traced Shestov's irrationalist influence to such prominent twentieth-century Russian writers as Marina Tsvetaeva, Venedikt Erofeev and Joseph Brodsky, and demonstrated the relevance of Shestov's philosophical premonitions to contemporary Russia and the wider world. More generally, I have written on Russian literature in contemporary context, as well as on the revival of Russian religious and philosophical thought after perestroika.
- On Russian-Jewish literary identities in the 20th century and Russian-Jewish cultural continuity in the Diaspora: This research evolved as an exploration of the artistic milieu in Europe in the beginning of the twentieth century within the framework of my recent project - a fully annotated edition of the previously unpublished correspondence between Lev Shestov and his friend and translator, the musical and literary critic Boris de Schloezer. An attempt to identify Lev Shestov's place between two cultures, Russian and Jewish opened up the study of the Russian-Jewish cultural product in Parisian exile, and resulted in a broader enquiry into memory, identity and cultural continuity in the context of Jewish contribution to 'Russia abroad'. I am currently building, together with Dr Wagstaff, an international research network and running a collaborative publication project on this theme to fill in the evident gap in existing research.
- In Gender studies: A collaborative project with the university of Glasgow and Russian Academy of Sciences to study Fatherhood in Contemporary Russia. My role has been in exploring cultural representations of Russian fatherhood. I have also been studying Contemporary Russian Female Writers and am currently co-editing a book on this subject with Prof Marsh. I have recently started widening this study to extend it to the Russian-Ukrainian comparative project.
- General: The nature of my research, as well as my personal roots and cultural identity, mean that I remain fully attuned to contemporary life of Russia and Ukraine in all their aspects, including political, social and economic, as well as cultural, developments. Thus I have considerable expertise in a broad and interdisciplinary area of Russian studies, covering a large chronological and thematic scope.