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Special Strengths of the KU Slavic Department

Both in terms of breadth and quality of the areas it covers, the KU Slavic Department is among the finest in the United States. The Department focuses mainly on Russian literature and culture, intellectual history, language pedagogy (Wallo), and Slavic linguistics.

Within the Russian literature, culture, and intellectual history areas, faculty specializations include Tolstoy and Nineteenth-century Realism (Kokobobo), postmodernism, postcolonialism, and contemporary literature (Chernetsky), cinema (Chernetsky), gender studies (Chernetsky and Wallo), and Slavic folklore (Perelmutter). Literature and film offerings also extend to Central/East European traditions (Polish and Czech – Vassileva-Karagyozova; South Slavic – Dickey and Kokobobo; Ukrainian – Chernetsky and Wallo).

Within the Slavic linguistics area there is a unique concentration of expertise on Western South Slavic languages (i.e., Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and Slovene – Dickey and Greenberg), as well as cognitive linguistics and Slavic verbal aspect (Dickey), morphosyntax and pragmatics (Perelmutter), and Slavic historical linguistics (Greenberg).

Language courses are taught by faculty and lecturers with decades of experience (Pirnat-Greenberg – Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and Slovene; Six – Russian; Wallo – Ukrainian; Predolac – Turkish), and graduate teaching assistants.

The department by itself and in conjunction with the Center for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies (CREES) offers an array of Slavic-related events throughout the year, including visiting distinguished lecturers, exhibits, and musical and theatrical performances.

The area studies program provides a wide range of Slavic courses offered by more than 50 faculty members in 16 departments.

In Memoriam

Reed Rankin ✝ 12/29/2019

The faculty and students in the Department Slavic Languages and Literatures are deeply saddened that one our undergraduate majors, Reed Rankin, passed away last week (12/29) in Fredonia, Kansas. Reed was a beloved student in the department and is fondly remembered by his peers and professors. He began studying Russian as a Freshman and stayed with a challenging but rewarding language for three and a half years, tackling introductory, intermediate, advanced levels, and even continuing his studies into his senior year with Russian for the Professions. We know that he was planning further study in Moscow in the next academic year, prior to matriculation at KU School of Law.

A thoughtful student, Reed often contributed insight and posed challenging questions in class. ​​ Reed’s dedication to the study of Russian language, culture, and history was tremendous and fueled by infectious curiosity. He showed great acumen in translating from Russian into English, always finding English-language equivalents for Russian cultural concepts through skillful use of one-liners from American films. We also treasured his ability to speak in fluid Russian about rural, farm life in Kansas, and the effects that natural phenomena, like floods, on a farming community. He was a pleasure to know and teach, and will be remembered for his kind and polite demeanor. Our thoughts are with Reed’s family at this time


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KU’s Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies program is one of only 12 federally-funded national resource centers in the US
Only doctoral program in Slavic Languages and Literatures between the Mississippi and the West Coast
100% of graduate students in the Slavic program had funding in academic year 2012-13
KU's Libraries house over 500,000 volumes of Slavic books and electronic editions
Two of the department’s last four doctoral candidates have won a Fulbright grants to conduct dissertation research abroad