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Alice E.M. Underwood


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20th century
latin america
gender studies

Alice E.M. Underwood

Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Literature

Weiland Fellow, Stanford University

Kennan Institute Fellow, The Woodrow Wilson Center (summer 2017)

Alice entered the Ph.D. program in Comparative Literature in Fall 2012 with the goal of crafting an approach that would be comparative by discipline as well as by geographical region. Incorporating political science and sociology as well as literary analysis, she focuses on the intersection of politics and culture in socialist and post-socialist settings, particularly Russia, Latin America, and former Czechoslovakia. Her dissertation examines ideological and artistic constructions of citizenship, focusing on the iconography of leadership (Lenin's preserved corpse in particular), Soviet and post-Soviet law and constitutions, aesthetic and corporeal deviance as political resistance, and the interplay of political discourse and artistic creation in the late Soviet period and today. 

Conference Presentations:

“How the New Soviet Man Got Old: The End of Socialist Immortality during Pre-Perestroika.” Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasia Studies Convention. Washington, DC. Nov. 19, 2016.

“From Russia (and Cuba) with Rigor Mortis: Communism’s Immortal Corpses.” Weiland Dissertation Talks. Stanford University. May 4, 2016.

“Constituting the Masculine Body: The New Man in Stagnation-Era Literature and Law.” California Slavic Colloquium. Stanford University. April 25, 2015.

"Male Authorship and Borges' Homosocial Labyrinth." Borges and Philosophy Today Conference. Stanford Humanities Center. March 6, 2014. 

"Apocalyptic Sexuality and the Icarus Complex in Kuzmin's Fin-De-Siècle." Association for Slavic, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies National Convention. Boston. November 21, 2013. 

"Unintelligible Utopias and Platonov's Destabilized Members." Graduate Conference on Andrei Platonov. Stanford University. May 11, 2013. 

"Performative and Non-Normative Protest: Mobilizing Gender in Moscow Pride and Pussy Riot's Russia." Clash Zones: Identities in (R)Evolution Conference, Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies. Boston. April 5, 2013. 

"Masks of Opposition: Is Pussy Riot a Drag?" Panel presentation at “Pussy Riot: Performance, Protest, and the Russian State.” Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Stanford University. October 25, 2012. 


"Legislating Morality: How Russia's Criminal Code Promotes Its National Idea." August 31, 2017. Intersection. Read online

"Why Lenin's Corpse Lives On In Putin's Russia." August 17, 2017. The Russia File (Kennan Institute blog). Read online.

"What's in a Name? The Kremlin's Political Strategy, That's What." July 21, 2017. The Russia File (Kennan Institute blog). Read online.

"The European Court's Pro-Gay Ruling is Great Anti-Gay Propaganda." June 29, 2017. The NYU Jordan Center. Read online.

Book review: “Performing Philosophy: Masha Gessen’s Words Will Break Cement.” May 15, 2014. Boundary 2. Read online.

Courses Instructed: 

SLAVIC 120/220: Hacking Russia: Technological Dreams and Nightmares of Russian Culture (Collaborative Teaching Fellow), Autumn 2017-18

SLAVIC 147/247: The Age of Revolution: Readings in Russian Modernist Prose of the 1920s-30s (TA), Spring 2014-15

COMPLIT 123: The Novel, The Global South (Collaborative Teaching Project Fellow), Winter 2014-15

DLCL 369: Introduction to Literary Theory (TA), Autumn 2014-15

Communication 12S: Bending the Truth? Propaganda in Media and Culture (TA), Summer 2013-14

SLAVLANG 3, Spring 2013-14

SLAVLANG 2, Winter 2013-14

SLAVLANG 1, Autumn 2013-14


Event organizer for performance by Russian experimental artist Lisokot, Stanford University, December 1, 2017.

Conference organizer for the California Slavic Colloquium, Stanford University, Jan.-Apr. 2015.

Guest lecturer: Presented "Sandro of Chegem: Power, Performativity, and Stalinism as a Global South," in COMPLIT 123 course, Winter 2015.

Editorial and production coordinator: Edited, compiled, and formatted The Cambridge Companion to James Baldwin (ed. Michele Elam). New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 

Guest lecturer: Presented "Mass Mentality in Soviet Revolutionary Ideology, 1905-1953," in Communication 12S course, Summer 2014.  


Russian, Spanish, Czech



2011: A.B, Harvard University.