On March 17, four Russian Studies students – along with professors John Lyles, Alexander Prokhorov, Elena Prokhorova, filmmaker-in-residence Jes Therkelsen, and Russian House Tutor Viktoria Kim – participated in the Third Annual Slavic Forum at the University of Virginia.
For the past few years, the Slavic Graduate Program at UVa has held student-organized conferences designed to provide practical experience with academic conferences, paper preparation, conference organization, and panel chairing for their students without the pressure of an official conference. This year, thanks to Professor John Lyles, newly arrived at William & Mary from the UVa program, W&M students submitted papers and joined in on the conference. There were also two students from Duke University participating. This year’s theme was “adaptation”. As can be expected, this theme garnered a wide range of paper topics, from the more conventional themes of adaptation in film and literature to examinations of music, radio programming, and oral histories.
Jacob Lassin (’12) presented a part of his thesis (Iremember.ru, Oral Histories, and the Myth of World War II in Russian Cyberspace), Maggie Burke (’12) presented her paper “Winnie the Pooh and the Soviets, Too: Animated Adaptations of A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh Stories in America and the Soviet Union,” and Alex McGrath (’13) and Sophie Kosar (’14) presented documentary films made during William and Mary’s 2011 summer program in Saint Petersburg. Unfortunately, two panels were scheduled in each time slot, so it was impossible to attend all of them, but everything which I was able to attend was very interesting and well received.
This event has the potential to become something really useful both for UVa graduate students and graduate students and undergraduate seniors in the surrounding areas. With a more active recruitment of papers from surrounding universities and advertisement for a wider audience among the undergraduates at UVa, this conference could become an excellent source of experience both for students heading toward grad school and for graduate students heading toward academia. As it is currently structured, though, the conference still provides a fun, laid-back opportunity to practice presenting papers and chat with other Russian Studies folks over coffee and lunch.