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University of St Andrews

UOA 51 - Russian, Slavonic and East European Languages

RA5a: Research environment and esteem

RA5a for Russian (UOA51)




Russian at St Andrews has maintained and enhanced its strong position since RAE2001. The Department is a component of the School of Modern Languages (henceforth the "School") and comprises four full-time, research-active members of staff (one professor, one reader, and two lecturers) and one permanent senior language tutor. The research profile of the Department is characterised by the broad spread of interests of its members ¾ from folk poetry of the Russian Old Believers (Dr Filosofova), through nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian and comparative literature (Dr Keys and Dr Whitehead), to diachronic and synchronic linguistics of Russian and other Slavonic, Baltic and Finno-Ugric languages (Professor Press and Dr Pugh). In the case of Professor Press the thematic reach extends beyond that of UOA51 into Celtic and Romance linguistics and philology.


2004 saw the arrival of a new early-career researcher, Dr Whitehead, to replace Dr Hippisley upon his retirement. On the retirement of Professor Press in August 2008, the University has undertaken to maintain the research status of the Department by replacing him at professorial level. This commitment and these changes ensure the Department's future reputation as a creative research centre.


Members of the Department also participate in the St Andrews Centre for Russian, Soviet, and Central and East European Studies ("CRSCEES"). This inter-disciplinary research institute, together with departments at Glasgow and seven other UK universities, put in a successful bid to the SFC, AHRC, ESRC and HEFCE in 2005 for the creation of a language-based Area Studies Centre for the study of Eastern Europe and countries of the former Soviet Union. This has in the first instance led to an academic position for teaching and research in Ukrainian funded within the St Andrews UOA. CRSCEES supports interdisciplinary research and is attracting good numbers of PG students.




The University’s Vice-Principal for Research has responsibility for developing the overall strategy of world-class research excellence throughout the University, encouraging growth in research activity, identifying and encouraging new opportunities for research and research funding, promoting interdisciplinary opportunities and innovation at subject interfaces, supporting, improving and extending opportunities for postgraduate education in research, maintaining the University's position as one of the foremost UK institutions for research.


The research of all members of the School is supported and coordinated by the School's research strategy, designed to maximize potential and opportunity. The Director of Research assists the Head of School in the management of research activity, advising all staff members, each of whom is interviewed annually. Advice concerns plans for publication of research, sources of funding and time-management. 


A portion of the School's budget (c. £18,000) is devoted annually to research-related activity, travel, conference fees, etc. This is allocated by the School Research Strategy Committee on the basis of a detailed application. A notional sum of c. £500 p/a per researcher is available. Priority is given to supporting RAE outputs, and applicants are expected and encouraged to seek external funding in a timely way where appropriate.


The School’s Library Committee allocates acquisitions budgets and covers inter-library loan costs.


The University provides a full range of support, including software packages and research databases and borrowing privileges at other Scottish universities. The School has 0.6 of a FT Computing Officer who provides technical assistance for research activity, advises on hardware and software needs and ensures that all staff have computers and printers (regularly upgraded) and access to scanning and fax equipment.



Research Culture


The Department runs research seminars featuring papers by external speakers and St Andrews staff and research students, covering Slavonic and East European linguistics, Russian literature and the methodology of teaching Russian. Distinguished visitors to the former have included Professor John Dingley, University of York, Canada and Professor Victor Friedman, Chair of Slavic Languages at the University of Chicago. Members of the Department also participate in seminars organized by the school's two research institutes (IECIS, Institute of Cultural Identity Studies and SAILLS, St Andrews Institute of Languages and Linguistic Studies). Moreover, CRSCEES has arranged international conferences annually since its establishment in 1990 ¾within the period under review the conferences of 2003 and 2004 celebrating the three-hundredth anniversary of the foundation of St Petersburg and the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Anton Chekhov, respectively, were organized by the Department during Dr Keys' two-year period of service as Director of the Centre. A third conference on the theme "Translating and Mistranslating Russia: The Cultural Aspect" was held under the auspices of the Department and the Centre in March 2007. Russian is closely involved with the prestigious journal Forum for Modern Language Studies (OUP) where Dr Keys and Professor Press act as Russian subject editor and Russian and Linguistics review editor, respectively. 


Departmental Research Profile



The current staff maintain collectively a strong research profile in the following areas: spiritual songs and Christian folk poetry of the Old Believers; nineteenth and twentieth-century literature, particularly Russian modernist fiction; the tradition of the fantastic in European literature; Slavonic languages, Uralic linguistics, Baltic languages and linguistics, Romance linguistics and philology, Breton language and linguistics, and General Linguistics.


Individual profiles:

Dr Filosofova, although not employed on a research-active contract, has an established academic reputation and has recently had a monograph entitled Christian Folk Poetry in the Manuscript Tradition of the Russian Old Believers, based on her doctoral thesis, accepted for publication in the "Bausteine zur Slavischen Philologie und Kulturgeschichte" series (Boehlau Verlag, Cologne and Weimar).


Dr Hippisley(Category B, retired October 2003) has continued the work which resulted in the production of his seminal three-volume edition of Simeon Polotskii's Vertograd mnogotsvetnyi for RAE2001. In the current period he has produced (together with the Russian scholar Evgenija Luk'janova) a volume entitled Simeon Polockij's Library: A Catalogue, (Cologne, Weimar and Vienna: Boehlau Verlag 2005, 226 pp.), as well as a sole-authored article "Zapadnoe vliianie na 'Vertograd mnogotsvetnyi' Simeona Polotskogo", in Trudy Otdela drevnerusskoi literatury, vol. LII, 2001, pp. 695-708.


Dr Keys has published on the shorter fiction of the Symbolist writer Fedor Sologub, on the literary relationship of Ivan Bunin and Thomas Mann, and on the reception of the work of W.B. Yeats in Russia, Ukraine and other countries of the former USSR. His main achievement during the census period has been publication for the first time of the final text of the Symbolist writer Aleksei Remizov's first novel Prud ("The Mere") with emendations and variants. This edition, deciphered from the only existing manuscript in Paris, is prefaced by a fifty-page study based on narratological principles of what is one of the most complex and neglected examples of modernist fiction in Russia. The edition is supported by Dr Keys' publication elsewhere of a substantial group of previously unpublished letters from Remizov to his publishers concerning the progress of his manuscript, with extensive explication of the historical background revealing important new aspects of the writer's biography and of the life of the Russian émigré community.


Professor Press has produced a new edition of his highly successful book Learn Russian which contains substantial research material. He has published grammars of Lithuanian and Breton, as well as producing (with Herve ar Bihan) Colloquial Breton and a revised edition (with Dr Pugh) of Colloquial Ukrainian. He has written articles on alphabets and orthographies, the revival of comparative Slavonic philology, the development and meaning of the past tense in Russian, and the history of the use of participles in main clauses in Russian. A substantial monograph entitled A History of the Russian Language and its Speakers has just been published, and he has also just completed a book Topics in Russian Historical Grammar to be published shortly by Lincom EUROPA in Munich.


Dr Pugh has continued his research in historical linguistics (East Slavonic) and language contact (Slavonic, Finnic). He has focused in particular on the modelling of language contact and its results, given the linguistic and social conditions peculiar to each particular situation (articles entitled "The Role of Language Contact in the Formation of Karelian, Past and Present" and "The Structural and Sociological Aspects of Language Contact: A Comparison of the Baltic and Adriatic Regions"). He has published a volume entitled A New Historical Grammar of the East Slavic Languages. Vol. 1: Introduction and Phonology, which breaks new ground in establishing the connections and continuities between the East Slavonic languages. He examines the latter not as separate entities, but as parts of a linguistic continuum, spilling over into West Slavonic as well. A further departure is his inclusion of Rusyn as a fourth East Slavonic language.


Dr Whiteheadis an Early Career Researcher (appointed in September 2004) whose publications to date have been based mainly on work related to her doctoral dissertation on the theory and practice of the fantastic in European literature. Her two submissions to RAE2008 (the monograph The Fantastic in France and Russia in the Nineteenth Century: In Pursuit of Hesitation and the SEER article on Chekhov's "The Black Monk") are selected from a larger body of work including articles on Odoevskii and Pushkin. Whilst maintaining an active interest in the fantastic, Dr Whitehead is currently working on a project devoted to detective fiction in Russia (one article on Chekhov has already appeared) which will lead to a second monograph.


Collaboration and Interdisciplinarity


At an institutional level the School’s two research institutes IECIS and SAILLS (see above) provide fora with an interdisciplinary focus in which members of the Russian Department are actively engaged. (i) IECIS provides a Research Forum, a conference series and postgraduate teaching for all five language disciplines in the School (French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish); (ii) SAILLS also has an interdisciplinary programme of research papers, bringing distinguished external speakers, such as David Crystal, to St Andrews. The School provides institutional support for both of these, funding visiting speakers, and supporting conferences financially.


Research Income


The Department has been successful in winning highly competitive external funding from AHRB, British Academy and Carnegie Trust: Dr Keys from the AHRB under its Research Leave scheme to complete work on Aleksei Remizov's novel Prud (£12,608), and the British Academy for  a Travel Grant to carry out research at the Remizov archive in Paris (£1,976); Professor Press from the AHRB for a Research Leave award to complete his monograph A History of the Russian Language and its Speakers (£13,625). The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland awarded grants to Dr Keys (£980) for his visit to the archive of the Russian State Library in Moscow to research the reception of Yeats's work in Russia (£980), to Dr Pugh (£1060) for research into the Rusyn language, and to Dr Whitehead (£950) as a publication subvention for her monograph. The Carnegie awards to Dr Keys and Dr Pugh were not administered through the institution’s own accounts, and will not show under RA4.


Staff and Students


Staff Development and Support


During the census period one early career researcher, Dr Whitehead (2004) was recruited. Under the University probation scheme she has been mentored by a senior member of the School, who has read her work, advised on publication and research strategy, supported conference activity and sought to integrate her into the wider research community in the University.


The University entitlement to research leave is one semester after every eight worked. Application is made with Head of School’s recommendation to the University Research Leave Committee, which approves leave on the basis of the quality and focus of the proposed activity, and requires a report on completion of the leave. The Committee ensures that staff are fully relieved of all other duties during the period. With young researchers working their way towards entitlement, the School has instituted a system of light teaching semesters to release extra research time. During the two years of Dr Whitehead's probation a reduced teaching and administrative load was in place to facilitate her research progress.



Research Students


Over the census period 7 Ph.D. students have completed their degrees, and three more are currently researching their dissertations in the Department. The theses successfully defended were as follows: Natalia Samoilova, "The Adaptation of Baltic-Finnic Loanwords in Russian” (2001, supervised by Dr Pugh); Robert Blackwood, "Corsican Language Status and Speaker Attitudes ¾  Minority Language Education: Polynomia and Distanciation" (2001, supervised by Professor Press); Ben Sanders, "Jan Kochanowski's Psalterz Dawidow in the Context of European Tradition" (2001, supervised by Dr Hippisley); Rosemary Fasey, "Writers in the Service of Revolution: Russia's Ideological and Literary Impact on Spanish Poetry and Prose, 1925-36" (2002, jointly supervised by Dr Keys and Professor Dennis of the Department of Spanish); Noel Brackney, "The Fragmentation of Common Slavonic: Language Contact and Language Change in Central and Eastern Europe" (2004, supervised by Dr Pugh); Tatiana Filosofova, "Christian Folk Poetry in the Manuscript Tradition of the Old Believers" (2004, supervised by Professor Press); Snezha Tsoneva-Mathewson, "Verbal Property Predication in Russian and Bulgarian" (2006, supervised by Professor Press). Theses on the work of Iurii Tynianov, Aleksandr Grin and Russian postmodernist fiction are currently being worked on by three doctoral candidates under the supervision of Dr Keys (Anna Rush, Krzysztof Martowicz and Nicolas Dreyer). Of these, Anna Rush has recently had her annotated translation of Y. Tynyanov’s novel Young Pushkin published by Angel Books in London (2007, 515 pp.).


Research students are encouraged to apply for AHRC funding. Fasey and Tsoneva-Mathewson were successful in obtaining full AHRB studentships. Filosofova obtained an Overseas Research Student Award from the British Academy. From 2005 the School Postgraduate Committee has administered the annual award of five Faculty of Arts Ph.D. studentships covering home fees for three years. Russian has been successful in securing two to date. These were advertised nationally. The School allocates annual awards of c. £500-1,000 to PG research students, based on need and merit, and there is an annual entitlement of £250 from the School Research and Travel Fund to support research.


All Ph.D. students take part in a university-wide fully elaborated postgraduate skills training programme (GRADskills) linked to a personal development plan, with logbook which ensures the provision of training in generic and subject-specific skills over a three-year period. Student response to the range, quality and relevance of skills sessions on, for example, planning, executing, presenting and publishing research, networking, and career development has been enthusiastic. Participation is monitored through an annual Progress Review at School level. There is a vibrant, sociable research environment in the School, with postgraduates well integrated into the culture of conferences and research seminars. All Ph.D. students have a principal and secondary supervisor, except in cases of joint supervision, where expertise in two areas is required, e.g. Comparative Translation Studies.




Research objectives are to engineer the conditions which will facilitate the successful completion at the highest level of research quality of the programmes summarised below together with the effective dissemination of the outcomes. The underlying objectives are to develop further a context in which productive research is a natural priority of departmental life and to allow all colleagues to realise their own research potential.


Research Plans 2008-2012


Dr Keys will continue work on a series of articles on narratorial structure and semantic authority in the work of Remizov and Sologub, undertakings which are all closely connected with completion of the second volume of his typological history of early twentieth-century Russian fiction entitled The Modernist Tradition in Russian Literature and Andrei Belyi's "Petersburg". He is currently working also on an article analysing the typological peculiarities of Aleksandr Vampilov's greatest play Utinaia

 okhota (Duck-Hunting).


Professor Press will continue work on finalising a substantial monograph devoted to the Russian language in the nineteenth century. He will retire on 31 August, 2008.


Dr Pugh will continue work on volumes 2 and 3 of his New Historical Grammar of the East Slavic Languages (declensional and conjugational morphology). He will also continue his synchronic descriptions of the Rusyn language, namely A Grammar of Rusyn (no comprehensive grammar as yet exists), to be completed and published during 2008, as well as shorter studies focussing on Rusyn and language contact.


Dr Whitehead's research will focus on her narratologically-informed comparative project on detective fiction in Russia and France from c.1830 onwards. She has articles planned on the work of Dostoevskii, Shkliarevskii, Chekhov, Nabokov, Akunin, Emile Gaboriau and Edgar Allan Poe. She plans to publish a second monograph, on detective fiction, by 2011. Beyond that she will devote her time to her interest in the depiction of madness in literature with articles devoted to the work of lesser-known nineteenth-century prose-writers, such as Mikhail Zagoskin and Vsevolod Garshin.



Current situation in terms of plans described in RAE2001


Key projects identified in 2000 have been successfully completed.


Dr Keys published his edition of Remizov’s Prud, as well as hitherto unpublished archive materials concerning Thomas Mann and Ivan Bunin (“Pis’ma Tomasa Manna I.A. Buninu”, in S dvukh beregov, ed. R.Devis [Davies] and V.A Keldysh, Moscow 2002). His published work on Remizov and Sologub will form an integral part of the second volume on Andrei Belyi and Russian modernism, referred to above.  His plan for a separate article on Belyi and W.B Yeats was subsumed in his wider study of the reception of Yeats in Russia (2005).


Dr Pugh continued work on the interaction between Russian and Finnic which resulted in the writing of four articles, all but one of which have now appeared in print. Work on his history of the East Slavic languages continued apace, resulting in the publication of the first volume referred to above.


Professor Press pursued his work on the reassessment of the mechanisms whereby standard languages emerge in his two books on Standard Breton and Lithuanian. His work on the development of Russian continues with a detailed critical analysis of Vinogradov and Shvedova’s five-volume edited work on the language in the nineteenth century.


Esteem Indicators


In relation to these it should be borne in mind that one colleague was only recently appointed to a lectureship (Whitehead 2004).


Dr Keys has been for many years Russian subject editor for Forum for Modern Language Studies. During 2003-4 he was External Examiner for M.Phil. dissertations in Russian at the University of Manchester. He was invited to give a paper on Mikhail Bakhtin and his contribution to the theory of the novel to the Classics Research Seminar in Oxford in 2004. He reviews and/or referees articles regularly for The Russian Review, Slavonic and East European Review and Slavonica. Mention should perhaps be made here of the spectacular publishing success in America of Dr Keys' translation of Leonid Tsypkin's novel Summer in Baden-Baden (From the Life of Dostoevsky), according to Susan Sontag's introduction to the translation "among the most beautiful, exalting, and original achievements in a century's worth of fiction and para-fiction" (New York 2001; London 2005). This is an extremely rare example of a translation leading to the success of the original work in its country of origin, in this case Russia, where the novel has already gained acceptance as a classic of twentieth-century fiction.


Professor Press has long maintained a high profile in both Slavonic and Celtic Studies. He has given papers and organised and chaired panels at the BASEES conferences at Cambridge University in 2005 and 2006, at the International Congress of Central and East European Studies in Berlin in 2005, at Glasgow University in 2001 and 2006. He has also given invited papers at seminars organised by Queen Mary, University of London and the Scottish Institute of Linguists. He delivered an invited paper on Breton at the Colloquium on Celtic Languages held at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in November 2006. He served as Panel member for Russian, Slavonic and East European Languages in RAE2001, and is a member of Sub-Panel 51 in the current RAE. He has also served as adviser for Slavonic, Baltic, Celtic and Romance Linguistics to the Australian Research Board. He has been External Examiner for research degrees at the University of Edinburgh (2002-3) and the University of Sheffield (2002-7). He is on the editorial board of the following journals: Multilingua, Russian Linguistics, and Forum for Modern Language Studies. For the first two of these he also acts as academic referee, as he does for the Slavonic and East European Review.


Dr Pugh has given invited papers at the 3rd and 4th International Symposia on Eurolinguistics (Mannheim and Zadar), at the congress of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies in Boston, and has also given a series of lectures on language and identity for the Tempus European Studies Programme at the University of Zadar, Croatia. He is a recognised expert on Ruthenian. He has been asked to provide a chapter for a UNESCO on-line and print encyclopaedia on language and identity. He was External Examiner for M.A. degrees (research track) at SSEES/UCL for 2001-5, and now at the University of Birmingham (Ukrainian). He is an international consultant for the Tempus "Languages and Cultures in Contact" project based in Zadar. He was invited to the University of Chicago in January 2007 where he delivered a lecture entitled "Revisiting the History of the East Slavic Languages." In September 2007 he was a plenary speaker at the Congress of Rusyn Language in Cracow, Poland.


Dr Whitehead gave an invited paper on "Turgenev's 'Prizraki': The Illusion of Reality" to the 2006 Neo-Formalist Circle conference. She has been invited to edit a Special Issue of Forum for Modern Language Studies on the fantastic, due to be published in 2008. She has been invited to give a paper on Dostoevskii at the 2008 conference of the Neo-Formalist Circle. She has been a reviewer for Slavic and East European Journal, Modern Language Review, and Slavonic and East European Review.