Svetlana Y. Ter-Grigoryan

Graduate Student in Russian and Eastern European History, Ohio State University

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

My interest in Slavic and Russian history stems, rather personally, from my own history. As a second-generation immigrant from the former Soviet Union, I wondered about the set of circumstances the led to the dissolution of the USSR and pushed my parents to emigrate. This curiosity evolved into an academic interest during my first year as an undergrad. In college, I majored in history and got certification to teach secondary education. After a short stint teaching high school, I decided that returning to the academy to pursue a graduate education was the best choice for me. I completed my M.A. in European History, focusing on the period that initially sparked my curiosity, the perestroika era in the USSR.

How have your interests changed since then?

When I first started graduate school, I focused on political dissidents from the perestroika era. After reading several monographs about Soviet gender and sexuality, however, I shifted my area of focus. The questions surrounding gender and sexuality in Slavic history fascinated me, and I found that they challenged me to look at history from an interdisciplinary point of view. For my M.A. thesis, I explored discourses surrounding gender and sexuality in The Soviet and Post-Soviet Reviewglasnost-era cinema and the popular press. The project required a cross-section of academic training, so I spent time reading not only history books, but books on political science, journalism, cultural studies, and film theory. A revised chapter from my thesis was recently published in The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review.

What is your current research/work project?

My current research continues to revolve around gender and sexuality discourses in the perestroika/glasnost era. I am hoping that these discourses can aid in better understanding glasnost as a policy and a social contract. I question how discourses on sexuality aid in defining the parameters of glasnost and what they can tell us about the social and moral anxieties of the period. Ultimately, I hope to make a case for historical continuity or change. I will work with visual and published sources, as well as archival materials in the months and years to come. I also anticipate that this project will include an oral history component.

What do you value about your ASEEES membership?

I enjoy being apart of a community of scholars dedicated to protecting academic freedom and committed to mentoring up-and-coming scholars. I also look forward to participating in the upcoming ASEEES annual conference, where I will be presenting a paper. I think it will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase my research thus far. As a graduate student, I also hope to meet other scholars and network. It will be a treat to put some names to faces.

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

Hiking and simply going on walks through metro park trails has been a source of stress relief in graduate school. Recently, I have developed an interest in building custom computers and tinkering with other technology. These days, it is a lot like adult Legos.