Kimberly St. Julian

MA Student in Regional Studies, Harvard University

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

I first developed an interest in Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies after I spent a day watching an 8 hour miniseries on the History channel entitled “Russia: Land of the Tsars”. As a young girl from Texas, I was fascinated by this place called “Russia”. My academic interest and passion for Russian and Soviet history developed during my freshman year at Swarthmore College. I was in a first-year seminar in the History Department with Dr. Robert Weinberg called “Angels of Death: Russia under Lenin and Stalin”. Since then I’ve been a lost cause!

Kimberly in UkraineHow have your interests changed since then?

My heart belongs to the Soviet 1920s and 30s, but my interests have grown to incorporate a love of Eastern European history, medieval Russian history, as well as the religious history of Russia, Ukraine and Poland. My Master’s thesis and current research focuses on using diaries written during Collectivization and the Famine in Soviet Ukraine to examine the how these events changed how the peasants who wrote them saw themselves as individuals and how they perceived their relationship with the Soviet state. My goal is to re-incorporate the Famine (or Holodomor) into academic discussions on the nature of the Soviet system.

What do you value about your ASEEES membership?

What I value most about my ASEEES membership is the access to the Slavic Review, which keeps me abreast of the great scholarship being produced in the field as well as attending the annual ASEEES conference. I learn an invaluable amount during the conference. Each year I attend reinforces my decision to become an academic in this field. I decided to go to graduate school rather than law school after I attended my first ASEEES conference in 2011 as a senior at Swarthmore. It was at that same conference I discovered the Association for Students & Teachers of Color in Slavic Studies. I attended the first meeting of the organization during my first ASEEES conference; and I have been lucky enough to become one of its leaders.

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

When I am not knee-deep in Soviet history books or in class, I am an ESL tutor to two adult language learners through the Harvard Bridge Program. I have found that my early struggles with Russian are a boon when teaching a difficult language to another person. My other hobbies include reading Neil Gaiman, trying to teach myself more Slavic languages, and binging on Netflix shows. The fabulous life of a graduate student!