Evan Alterman

Ph.D. Student in Slavic Languages and Literatures, admitted Autumn 2017
Ph.D. Minor, Comparative Literature
2008: A.B., Slavic Studies and French Language, Literature, and Culture, Brown University
(Honors thesis submitted to Brown Slavic department: "At the Intersection of Socialism, Nationalism and Identity: The Life and Work of Mirsaid Sultan-Galiev")

My dissertation, “Between and Beyond Empires: Russian-Ottoman and Soviet-Turkish Travelogues,” examines selected Russian- and Turkish-language travel accounts written “between” 1) the Russian and Ottoman Empires and 2) the Soviet Union and Turkish Republic from the early twentieth century.  With chosen texts (Ivan Bunin, "Ten' ptitsy"; Celal Nuri, Şimal hatıraları; Pëtr Pavlenko, Stambul i Turtsiia; Falih Rıfkı Atay, Yeni Rusya; and Lev Nikulin, Stambul, Ankara, Izmir) representing multiple genres, readerships, and socio-cultural contexts, my project asks how travelogues comprehensively respond to - and record - continuities and ruptures between empires and their successors. 
I also like thinking about  the figure of the Istanbul-based Soviet exile in Russophone and Turkish literature; queer readings of Freemasonry in Russophone texts (Novikov, Tolstoy, Pisemsky, Kuzmin); Volga Tatar intellectual and literary history; ethnography and folklore as aesthetics and "technique"; sexuality and Kuzmin's ghazals; Soviet punk; Kars as setting in Russophone and Turkish texts; alterity and marginality in the works of Vladimir Korolenko; dim sum and carrot cake (if you've made it this far, you deserve a chuckle); Soviet "culture brigades" as agents of soft power abroad (VOKS; Shostakovich in Turkey) and as catalysts for creating national literatures and canons in Central Asia (Platonov in Turkmenistan); the social history of vegetarianism in Russia; Russian intertexts in the films of Nuri Bilge Ceylan; and cultural ties between the Soviet Union and members of Iran's Tudeh party.



Research Interests

  • Comparative Studies


  • Intellectual History


  • Literary and Cultural Theory


  • Literary Criticism (history of criticism, theory of literature)


  • Marxism, Literature, and Society


  • Modernism


  • Music Theory, History, and Criticism


  • Narratology


  • Persian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures


  • Postcolonial Studies


  • Prose Fiction Studies


  • Prose Nonfiction Studies


  • Realism


  • Russian & Eurasian Languages, Literatures & Cultures


  • Slavic Languages, Literatures, and Cultures


  • Surrealism


  • Turkish and Ottoman Studies