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Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Slavic Languages and Literatures
Yuliya Ilchuk earned her B.A. in Teaching Russian as a Foreign Language from National Pedagogical University in Kyiv (Ukraine), M.A. in Comparative Literature from “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy,” and Ph.D in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Southern California.
Her major research interests fall under the broad heading of cultural exchange, interaction, and borrowing between Russia and Ukraine. Her first book, Nikolai Gogol: Performing Hybrid Identity (University of Toronto Press, 2021), revises Gogol’s identity and texts as ambivalent and hybrid by situating them in the in-between space of Russian and Ukrainian cultures. Studies of hybridity have also informed her recent research projects on othering, protest culture, and memory on the move as socio-cultural responses to the war in Eastern Ukraine. In Ilchuk's most recent book project, tentatively titled “Future in the Past: Memory, Culture, and Identity in Post-Soviet Russia and Ukraine,” she works on the comparative analysis of the memory culture in Russia and Ukraine and examines the parallel development of the two related cultures through their rivalry over the control and dissemination of memory of the Soviet past and recent present.
In her ongoing research projects and teaching, she integrates traditional humanistic approaches to the text with computer assisted methods. Some of her recent projects include distant network analysis of the Russian realist novels as models of the emerging liberal society; geo-spatial analysis of the post-Soviet transformation of the city as a rhizome with multiple, non-hierarchical relationship between the old and new urban cultures; a study of Ukrainian atomopolises as spaces for the intensive implementation of lost utopian Socialist ideals; and a study of memory and space in protracted displacement in contemporary Ukrainian literature and film on/by refugees.
She has also published scholarly articles on the topics of contemporary Russian and Ukrainian culture and society and translations of the contemporary Ukrainian poetry.
2009: Ph.D., Slavic Languages and Literature, University of Southern California
2000: Fellow Candidate of Sciences, Literary Theory, National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”
1999: Specialist, Public Relations, Institute of Journalism, Kyiv National University
1998: Master of Arts, Culture (Literary Theory, History and Comparative Studies), National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”
1996: Specialist, Teaching Russian as a Foreign Language and English, National Pedagogical University
SLAVIC 121/221 Ukraine at a Crossroads
Literally meaning “borderland,” Ukraine has embodied in-betweenness in many ways. In the course, we will consider the permeability of its territorial, linguistic, and ethnic borders as an opportunity to explore the multiple dimensions of Ukraine’s relations with its neighbors. We will examine the many cultural forces that shaped modern Ukraine: history, literature, art, cinema, folklore, music, and pop culture created during the XI-XXI centuries. In addition to learning how to interpret literary texts and relate them to the current cultural and political situation, we will collaborate on multimedial projects on recent transformation of society in Ukraine. All required texts are in English. No knowledge of Ukrainian is required.
SLAVIC 165/365 City Myth: Soviet and Post-Soviet Sites of Memory
How does memory work in Soviet and post-Soviet space? How do cities create and transform memory? This course integrates the approaches to the “city text” applied in literary studies, semiotics, history, visual arts, music, sociology and urban studies. We will examine the layers of cultural history of the four cities: Kyiv, Odesa, Moscow, and St. Petersburg, and establish the relationship between the utopian Soviet past and the dystopian post-Soviet future. The readings for the course include literary and critical texts and films by Russian and Ukrainian authors, as well as works of literary critics and philosophers on urban semiotics. During the course, students will also master the tools of spatial humanities and create cartographic projects on Google Earth and Tour Builder, and HyperCities to visualize the urban palimpsest of the cities. All required texts are in English. No knowledge of Russian or Ukrainian is required.
SLAVIC 70N Socialism versus Capitalism: Russian and American Writers' Responses
The turn of the 20th century was marked with turbulent political events and heated discussions about the future of Russian and American societies. Many writers and intellectuals responded to the burning issues of social justice, egalitarianism, and exploitation that divided societies into two competing ideological camps. Through close reading, critical thinking, and analytical writing, we will engage in the critical discussions of class struggle, individual interest versus collective values, race, social and gender equality, and identify points of convergence and divergence between the two systems. To what extent was the opposition between capitalism and socialism fueled by the artistic vision of the Russian and American writers? What were these thinkers' ideal of society and what impact did it have on the emerging socialism? Readings for the class include the fundamental works of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Jack London, Mark Twain, W.E.B. Du Bois, Sholem Aleichem, Olha Kobylianska, Kate Chopin, and other prominent writers. All required texts are in English.
SLAVIC 179/379 Literature of Old Rus’ and Medieval Russia
The course covers the literary and aesthetic history of Kyevan Rus and Muscovy in the 10th-17th centuries. We will discuss the development of major literary genres in the context of the religious and historical culture of the period. This course will take a reader-oriented approach to the premodern writings of Rus’. We will treat Old Rus' writings as historically situated examples of the productive reading and/or misreading of earlier texts, in contrast to the traditional historicist or poetical approaches to these writings. The goal of our study will be to explain the unexpected appearance of aesthetic responses to the book, against a long-established tradition of ethical reading habits in Old Rus'. Graduate students read the texts in modernized Russian translation.