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Brian Yang

Candidate for Graduate Student Representative

Brian Yang is a PhD student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and pursuing a graduate minor in American Indian Studies. He is also an editorial assistant for Slavic Review. His research is concerned with Siberian Indigenous literatures and how to retell the stories and histories of Siberia and the Russian Arctic away from Russian imperialism and colonialism and focus on Indigenous perspectives guided by Indigenous theory.  

Brian has been active in bringing Indigenous theory into Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and creating a transdisciplinary dialogue. Brian is a co-founder of the Graduate Initiative for Indigenous Studies in Russia, a working group that brings together graduate students engaging in Indigenous inquiries in the region. In 2023, the group organized a stream for AATSEEL that engaged with Indigenous issues in scholarship and questions of decolonization in the field. Additionally, Brian has also worked with scholars in Indigenous Studies to help bring contemporary Indigenous scholars into conversation with Slavic Studies. Much of this work has reinforced the benefits that can be obtained from advocating for greater inclusion and diversity within the field and the role of enhancing graduate student resources in these areas to support such efforts. If elected as graduate representative, Brian would seek to and advocate for more support (financial and professional) for graduate students and expand the ASEEES initiative for diversity and inclusion with a focus on giving Indigenous graduate student voices a more visible platform.