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Colleen Lucey

PhD Student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

When did you first develop an interest in Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies?

I am thankful to my high school English teacher, Dr. Charles Novo, for introducing me to Russian literature. Our class discussions of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov made me want to study Russian language and culture in college. My sister, Shawna, also encouraged me to visit her while she studied acting in Moscow. Now we both speak Russian and our dream of having a “secret” language that our father can’t understand has come true! 

How have your interests changed since then?

During my study abroad in Russia, I frequented the theatre and ballet and was mesmerized by the caliber of each production. I had a distinct feeling that Russian audiences looked to the stage for something more than entertainment—and this sensation led me to study Russian drama and the political implications of performance. Since entering graduate school, my interests have broadened both geographically and thematically to include gender studies, film, and most recently, art history. 

What is your current research project? 

I’m currently writing my dissertation, which examines the representation of marginal women in nineteenth-century Russian literature and visual culture. My work uncovers how writers and artists explore, discuss, and critique the commodification of the female body. 

What do you value about your ASEEES membership?

In addition to the advocacy work ASEEES does on the behalf of our profession, I also value the annual National Convention for the opportunity to meet other scholars and hear about their work. Most of all, I appreciate ASEEES for its interdisciplinary focus and dedication to original scholarship through Slavic Review.

Besides your professional work, what other interests and/or hobbies do you enjoy?

For the past four years I have collaborated with other graduate students and members of the Madison community to provide continuing education courses at Oakhill Correctional Institution, a minimum-security men’s prison in Oregon, Wisconsin (http://oakhillprisonhumanitiesproject.wordpress.com). Working with the men at Oakhill has shown me the benefits of reaching beyond traditional academic settings to bring the study of the Humanities to under-represented populations. When I’m not researching or teaching, I enjoy playing pickup basketball, where I no longer score many three-pointers, but can still make a layup if called upon!

 Image source – A.I. Lebedev, “Pogibshie, no miloe sozdanie” (St. Petersburg, 1862-3)