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UOA 51 - Russian, Slavonic and East European Languages

University of Edinburgh

RA5a: Research environment and esteem


Russian and East European Studies (REES) at Edinburgh is a vibrant and forward looking research unit. Consisting of staff of the Russian Section and a specialist in Cultural Studies with a research expertise in East European visual culture, it has an interdisciplinary character, displaying a combination of coherence and versatility. Since 2001, REES has developed higher strengths both qualitatively and quantitatively. 

Key highlights of the audit period are:

        The increase of category A staff from one to three.

        The expansion of our research capability to Russian Film, Literary Tourism, Cultural Studies and East European Visual Culture. 

        An internationally recognized publication record across all research areas.

        A strong record of achievement in securing external research funding, which has grown from a total of £2000 returned in RAE2001 to over £75000 in this submission.

        Partnerships in high prestige international projects. 

        The establishment of  the Research Centre for Study of Russian in Social Context (CRSC) 

        The significant increase in the number of research postgraduate students from one in 2001 to 4.4 FTE in 2007.

        Active partnership in the CRCEES Consortium (Centre for Russian, Central and East European Studies), co-funded by AHRC and ESRC and led by the University of Glasgow. 


1.      Structure 


Institutional Context

Administrative infrastructure

Following a fundamental restructuring of the University in 2002, both cognate areas of Russian and Cultural Studies are now part of a large School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC). This administrative configuration allows an inclusive research environment, greatly aiding the promotion and sustenance of a strong research culture in REES. The advantages include competitive access to research resources, such as a proportionally large School research fund, the centrally held Development Trust Fund, and regular research leave (one semester in five). The School facilitates cross disciplinary research while relieving research active staff from some of the administrative burdens. LLC promotes undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research across 17 different languages, giving an opportunity for minority as well as the mainstream languages to thrive. REES members of staff are committed to research-led teaching, and are involved in a School-wide range of taught Masters Degrees such as Film Studies, Cultural Studies and Translation Studies.

Research Organisation

Research within LLC is overseen by a Research Committee, while for Russian by a Research Co-ordinator. The LLC Research fund supports such activities as organisation and attendance at conferences, preparation of publications and replacement teaching. Additionally, members of staff preparing applications for outside research funding are aided by the University’s support group Edinburgh Research and Innovation. In Russian, teaching through flexible programmes is structured so that during semesters research active category A members are apportioned one research day a week. 

Research Facilities

The University Library Russian collection accumulated over 57 years of teaching Russian at Edinburgh, boasts depth and breadth. Its combined resources with the National Library of Scotland make Edinburgh an excellent centre for research in REES. A Russian and East European TV satellite system and an extensive Russian newspaper bank provide additional valuable resources. Important publications (Ryazanova-Clarke, RA2) and PhD projects, conducted within the CRSC have been aided by those. The library collection in Cultural Studies and Visual Culture of Eastern Europe was substantially expanded in 2005 with the help of a £7,500 grant awarded by the School. 

International Collaborative Projects and Research Profiles

REES has adopted a vigorously outward-looking research strategy which aims at integrating individual research excellence with international collaborative activities of the highest calibre. Major research projects carried out by individual scholars cohere with their active involvement in international projects of a high prestige and exposure. 

The Research Centre for Study of Russian in Social Context (CRSC) (convener: Ryazanova-Clarke), a significant innovation within REES, founded in 2007, endeavours to assert itself as an internationally-recognised hub, leading research activities in the field of Russian language and society. The main dimensions of its work are: research projects of a collaborative nature, provision of a research environment for postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows, co-ordination of international events (conferences, seminars and workshops) and knowledge transfer. In addition to an ambitious programme of lectures and seminars, the Centre became a research home for eight research students and four research visitors (2007). For example, Bryn (University of Bergen) spent three months in CRSC completing a monograph on the language of Pasternak’s poetry; Kaliuga (Macquarie University, Australia) worked there on her monograph on Cognitive approach to socio-cultural changes in Russian. Among CRSC’s visible inaugural events are the organisation/hosting of a major international conference The Creative Landslide of the Norm (2007, Ryazanova-Clarke), panels at the CRCEES First Annual Research Forum (2007) and at international conferences. The CRSC has received a CRCEES doctoral studentship (from 2007) and a postdoctoral fellowship, to be appointed within the next two years. 

Ryazanova-Clarke’s publications (RA2) offer a unique approach combining cultural, cognitive and sociolinguistic theories in the study of the Russian language in late Soviet and post-Soviet periods. She is an expert participant in the international collaborative research project "The Landslide of the Norm: Linguistic Liberalisation and Literary Development in Russia in the 1920s and 1990s", funded by Arts Funding Council of Norway (2005-2008) ( The group includes scholars from Bergen, Stockholm, Florida, Passau, Chicago and St Petersburg Universities. This partnership positioned Russian at Edinburgh as a major unit in the U.K. for research into the socio-cultural aspects of Russian and facilitated the foundation of CRSC. Ryazanova-Clarke attracted £8K and organised The Creative Landslide conference and panels at conferences and CRCEES Research Forum.

Ryazanova-Clarke also works on Medieval Russian texts. She published a book chapter in Literatura Rusa Medieval: Perspectivas Actuales (Granada, 2007) and received a Development Trust grant (£1,100) towards work on a new scholarly edition of her English translations of The Song of Igor’s Campaign and Zadonshchina, to be published by Rencesvals. She has been awarded of total of £6K for conference participation (LAUD, British Academy and Edinburgh University conference grants) and supervised an industry commissioned project Russian Diaspora in Europe (£12K).

     Chmielewska’s research in East European urban visual cultures, text, image and visual rhetoric, is resolutely interdisciplinary, international and collaborative (RA2). Her current project Remapping the East included organisation of an international symposium (Edinburgh, 2006), a website and a book publication that she is currently working on. She has received £9K (Small Project Grant, Canadian Studies and industry) towards establishing a research network of the project contributors.

Chmielewska initiated two further international symposia, both in collaboration with the Warsaw University of Technology: Place Memory (also with Minsk University), 2005 and Urban Interventions, 2007 (£1K, WUT). The outcome of the first symposium is (RA2: 3). Her on-going networked collaboration on WARSZAWA: the Post-Socialist City and its Material Prehistories involves Edinburgh School of Architecture, ThinkArchitektur Vienna/London, PlaNET Warsaw, and UCL. 

Chmielewska has attracted a major European Commission Asia-Link Grant (£131K) for the InterKULTUR Project with Georg-August, Göttingen, Nanjing and Beijing Foreign Language Universities (2006-8). The project develops research-led European-Chinese Postgraduate Curriculum in Inter-Cultural Studies and furthers the research theme of Remapping the East, enabling on-going work on a series of publications. 

Chmielewska organised an exhibition of art books by Radek Nowakowski, 2007 (£700, Knowledge Transfer and Scottish Polish Cultural Association). Her other awards include Herder-Institut Research Grants (£5K, 2005-6) and £4,720 from LLC School research fund.

Smith’s research is highly interdisciplinary connecting the study of Russian literature with cultural and film theories. She published on Pushkin, Turgenev, poetry, Silver Age, émigré writing and post-Soviet literature (RA2). She authored Montaging Pushkin: Pushkin and Visions of Modernity in Russian 20th century Poetry (2006).
A strong internationally collaborative focus is demonstrated in her participation from 2004 in an international project St Petersburg/Leningrad: Narration-History-Present, led by Prof. Pesonen, Helsinki University and funded by Finnish Academy of Sciences  Smith was awarded £16,280 of competitive research grants by various funds and institutions (UPENN, Harriman Institute, Columbia, Canterbury and Northwestern Universities). She won an international competition to participate in Pushkin’s seminar (Oxford, 2007), organised by Prof. Bethea. An unfailing participant of most prestigious international conferences, AAASS and BASEES, every year she organises panels at these conferences. Smith published a collection of her poetry Po Sledu Evridiki and translations of Tsvetaeva’s poetry into English (2004).
Long-term research associates/visitors

Research profile in REES has been strengthened and diversified by independent or visiting scholars, whose research has been closely and continually associated with the Section. The most recent in this group is Layton (Category C). She writes on 19th century Russian literature, especially Russian military tourism (RA2). Since 2006, she has been co-organising Russian research seminars and consulting postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Her book Russian Literature and Empire Conquest of the Caucasus from Pushkin to Tolstoy received a Heldt Prize for the best book by a woman in Slavic Studies. 


Affiliated with CRSC 


Category B members Uffelmann and Goloubev continue to collaborate with CRSC. Uffelmann published a chapter in the Landslide… book (2006), and co-edited Religion und Rhetorik (Kohlhammer, 2006); Goloubev has published on discourse of terrorism (Mysl’, 2006). Pleshakova (Teaching Fellow) works on Cognitive Shifts in the Language of the Russian Diaspora. 

Russian research seminars (co-organised by Ryazanova-Clarke and Layton) is a forum for the exchange of ideas between Edinburgh colleagues, graduate students and UK and overseas visitors. Visiting speakers included: Prof. Franklin (Cambridge), Ray Leonard (YUKOS) Prof. Belobrovtseva (Tartu); Tim Binyon (Oxford), Prof. Dymarsky (Herzen).

Interdisciplinary seminars 

The collaborative context of the Unit is facilitated by contributions by members of REES to research seminars in other areas of the School and the College. Smith gave papers at Film Studies; Golubev at Translation Studies; Chmielewska at Architecture seminar series. She runs Visual Culture seminars, featuring Prof Gérin (UQUAM Montréal) and Dr Murawska-Muthesius (Birkbeck London); and brought visiting speakers for the Northern Scholars Lectures, Prof Sonesson and Dr Törnquist-Plewa (Lund). 

Research visitors

Visiting researchers hosted for a period of up to six months, contributing to richness and breadth of the research culture, giving seminar papers and public lectures: Prof. Artemieva (Russian Academy of Sciences), Dr Ryan (Macquarie University, Australia), Dr Turunen (Jyvaskyla University, Finland), Dr Mironesko (Granada University, Spain), Prof. Dymarsky (Herzen University, St Petersburg), Dr Bryn (University of Bergen, Norway), Dr Kaliuga (Macquarie University), Dr Antonova (Oxford). 

Knowledge Transfer and Relationship with Industry

REES is taking an active part in knowledge transfer to various broader groups of non-specialist users. We co-operate with Scotland-Russia Forum in organisation of public lectures. Ryazanova-Clarke, in partnership with the Russian Consulate organised events in Edinburgh within the Days of St Petersburg in Scotland (2006); she and Falchikov gave public lectures at the Filmhouse (2003) and advised on the Russian film programmes (2003-7). Falchikov gave several public lectures including Chekhov's The Seagull at Edinburgh Festival. Members of staff gave numerous interviews to BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Russian Service (Falchikov, Ryazanova-Clarke, Smith), Radio Forth (Ryazanova-Clarke) and newspapers (e.g. Scotsman, Evening News). 

Research in REES attracts interest from industry. Ryazanova-Clarke has advised several companies, e.g.  A.G. Barr Plc. on language and imagery in the company’s advertising campaign for Irn-Bru in Russia. In 2003-4, Morgunova (Cat B)  was employed as a research fellow on the project Russian Diaspora in Europe and its Representation in the Mass Media of the Russian Migrant Communities contracted by Russia House International (supervised by Ryazanova-Clarke) (£12K). The work resulted, apart from reports for the contractor, in a publication in AbImperio, 2006; and a book chapter in Movements, Migrants, Marginalisation, Stuttgart (2007). 

2. Staff and students

Staffing (Cat A staff)

REES has expanded from one to three full time staff. Following the retirement of Falchikov, the University invested in a new post in Russian. This was a major positive development responding to concerns about staffing in Russian, expressed in the feedback narrative of RAE 2001. The post was initially filled by Uffelmann (2006) and, after he resigned to take up a chair at Passau, by Smith (2007). Chmielewska (ECR) was appointed to a Lectureship in Cultural Studies in 2004, expanding the UoA’s research expertise to Eastern Europe and visual culture. With her appointment, REES took final shape and became affiliated with innovative taught graduate programmes: Chmielewska is a Programme Director and a main contributor to the interdisciplinary MSc in Cultural Studies. She also offers courses on East European Culture for Russian Studies students.


New staff in LLC are offered mentoring. This involves creation of individual work profiles, advice on setting realistic research targets, completion of major work for publication in an appropriate time frame, and funding. Regular meetings are conducted to discuss research issues and to review progress. The success of this scheme is attested by a strong record of publications and attracting funding by new colleagues.

Research active teaching staff and research fellows

REES is 100% research active. Appointments of high research calibre ensure the healthy research future in REES. Staff employed during 2001-07 on teaching contracts (Rogatchevskaia, Golubev, Pleshakova), have been integrated in the research culture. Falchikov, Honorary Fellow until 2006, contributed to the research environment by providing postgraduate supervision and by publishing on Pil’niak, Chekhov and Nekrasov. The InterKULTUR Asia-Link Project has funded a post for a Research Fellow (Gentz) who contributes to research in Cultural Studies, expanding its focus and research into Chinese Studies, Text and Context. 

Postgraduate students

REES is especially proud of its buoyant postgraduate activity which compares well with the best graduate hubs in the subject.  Many of our students are supervised jointly with other subject areas and therefore numbers in RA3a and 3b underestimate the scale of our graduate activity.  Since 2001, REES has recruited and provided a nurturing research environment for 16 research postgraduate students, of which 11 are PhD. Four AHRC awards, one ORS scholarship and four other awards have been secured. 

Research supervision is complemented by the postgraduate training programmes offered by the LLC Graduate School. All new postgraduates receive training in research methods and, as appropriate, attend courses on literary, film, cultural and translation theory. At an early stage, postgraduate students devise, with their supervisors, an individual research plan. At the end of their first year of research, students undergo a formal review for which they defend a detailed outline of their project and produce a 5,000 word paper. REES holds regular postgraduate research seminars and mini-conferences, to promote intellectual and methodological exchange and to test work-in-progress. Work space for postgraduate students is provided in the School’s new Postgraduate Study Centre. Postgraduates are eligible to apply for various types of College and University research funding (e.g. Studentships, Conference Grants).

The £131K grant for InterKULTUR project is a significant achievement in our thriving graduate work. Textbooks and e-learning material are being produced for the innovative graduate courses in Cultural Studies/East European Culture.

REES is an active partner in the CRCEES Consortium, co-funded by AHRC and ESRC, 2006-11 and headed by Glasgow University. A partner in the network of established scholars delivering excellence in expert supervision for a new generation of postgraduate students, REES has secured funding to support several postgraduate studentships. 

REES postgraduates contribute papers regularly at national and international conferences: Birdwood-Hedger, Knowles, Morgunova, Clapperton, Burton and Sommerseth have given papers in Oxford, Cork, Berlin, Belfast, London, Bologna and Tokyo, including ICEES World Congress. Morgunova, Clapperton, Birdwood-Hedger, Henderson and Popova published academic papers. Clapperton gave invited lectures at Durham and Aberdeen Universities. Sommerseth is an Editor in chief of the on-line journal FORUM. She organised an international academic/game industry event, Digital Interactive Symposium.

3. Strategy

Progress since 2001 RAE

In fulfilment of plans put forward in RAE 2001, Socio-Cultural Aspects of Russian was developed as the leading theme of the Unit. Publications by highly regarded publishers and journals, recruitment of a healthy number of research students into the field, the foundation of the CRSC and the organisation of an international conference, have been the landmarks of achievement within this commitment. In the assessment period, however, research in REES has been qualitatively enhanced and thematically broadened. The expanded REES has a wide and comprehensive research strategy of producing high quality research outputs across the range of members’ expertise, boosting that by engagement with prestigious international projects.

In the review period, we produced publications well above the items reported in RA2. The total volume include 22 book chapters (Falchikov 1; Morgunova 1; Ryazanova-Clarke 4; Smith 9; Uffelmann 7), one co-edited volume (Uffelmann); 35 articles predominantly in refereed journals (Golubev 1, Falchikov 1, Layton 2, Morgunova 1, Pleshakova 1, Rogatchevskaia 9, Ryazanova-Clarke 7, Smith 13); 39 entries in various Encyclopaedias and Dictionary of Literary Biography (Falchikov 4, Smith 35). In addition, we delivered 83 papers at international conferences, including AAASS, BASEES and ICEES.

The future research strategy 

Our research strategy is based on the enhanced research potential of REES and is aimed at building on its existing strengths and achievements. The key areas of the strategy are:

  • Further development of the CRSC towards the fulfilment of its main objectives.
  • Strengthening further our international standing through collaboration with Partners in Norway, Finland, Germany, USA, Russia, China and Australia.
  • Pursuing a variety of individual projects of high quality and placing a particular importance on external funding.
  • Maintenance of our success in recruitment and training of high quality postgraduate research students.
  • Promoting strong research links with other areas across the College, namely Politics, Linguistics, and Architecture.
  • Fostering further collaborative postgraduate activity within LLC Graduate School, and CRCEES.

During  2007-12:

Chmielewska will publish two monographs: Framing [con]text: Graffiti and Place and Urban Logos: the Iconosphere of the City. She will publish two edited volumes: Remapping the East (with Gérin) and Language Takes Place (with Economides, Harvard). Within the Inter KULTUR project, she will write a publication on visual rhetoric (with Gentz). In cooperation with Herder-Institut, Marburg, she will organise a major exhibition (which will include an exhibition monograph and a website) FIAT LUX! Cold War Neons, Modernity and the metropolis at The Lighthouse Gallery, Glasgow, 2008) and further publish photographic work. 

Ryazanova-Clarke will steer CRSC, work within its framework and continue collaboration in the Landslide of the Norm project, contributing to the project’s second volume. She will contribute a chapter, on Negotiating Linguistic Culture on Russian Radio Programmes about Language, to a book on the Russian Media (Routledge, 2008), and an invited book chapter on the language policy in post-Soviet Russia. Her new project “Constructing Russian Identity: discursive practices in post-Soviet Russia” is in preparation and will yield a series of publications. In addition, she will publish a book of scholarly translations of Medieval Russian Epic. She has agreed to participate in a further international project  “The Future of Russian: Language Culture in the New Technology Era”, planned for 2008-2011, with Bergen University. 

Smith will write three more books: Narrating Poets Lives: Trauma and Identity in Post-Soviet Cinema; Modernist Myths, Transgression and Cultural Mythologies in Russia: Marina Tsvetaeva and Music and Russian Hamlets on Rendezvous: Ivan Turgenev and Russian Modernism (targeted publishers: Yale UP and Rodopi Press). She plans to author several chapters in books on Pushkin (including a volume on dark sides of Pushkin edited by Alyssa Dinega, (Notre-Dame University) and Encyclopaedia on Pushkin edited by Mariia Virolainen, Academy of Sciences, Russia). Her chapter “Turgenev and Modernist Authors” will be included in the forthcoming book on Turgenev edited by Joe Andrew (Rodopi). She will write articles on Kruchenykh and Tsvetaeva for the special issue of Russian Literature on Kruchenykh, edited by Nina Gourianova and on post-Soviet films for refereed journals. 

Further Evidence of Esteem 

Elected positions: 
Smith: President of the Association of Australian and New Zealand Slavists and a member of the International Committee of Slavists. Ryazanova-Clarke: Fellow of the Charted Institute of Linguists.
Editorial Responsibilities and Refereeing:
Smith is a member of the editorial board of The Australian East European and Slavonic Studies and Associate Review Editor of New Zealand Slavonic Journal. Chmielewska has peer reviewed manuscripts for Space and Culture and Kritika; Smith for Russian Review, The Pushkin Review and History of Political Thought; Ryazanova-Clarke for Slavonic and East European Review, Trames (Estonia), Scando-Slavica and books for Routledge. She is an invited editor for Cambridge University Press (for the book by the late Professor T. Wade). Chmielewska: invited to an international expert panel for Orientation colloquia series by the University of Zurich.  
Invited Lectures at other HEIs
Chmielewska: Lund and Nanjing Universities, Goldsmith College, UCL, Glasgow University, Canadian Centre for Architecture (Montreal), Ryerson University (Toronto) and McGill University (Montreal); Goloubev: Yale University; Smith: Christ College (Christchurch, NZ), Goldsmith College, Columbia University, Harriman Institute, Princeton, Northwestern, Durham and Nottingham Universities; Uffelmann: Passau, Geneva, Vienna.
External Examiner Appointments
Staff acted as external postgraduate examiners for the following Universities: Ryazanova-Clarke: 8 research dissertations (4 PhD): Keele, Birmingham, Canterbury (NZ), Stockholm and Tampere; Smith 4 PhD: Macquarie (Australia), Canterbury, Nottingham, Falchikov 3 PhD, Keele, Bristol.

Reviews: REES staff regularly review in mainstream international journals (29 reviews over the period), including The Slavic Review, The Russian Review, Slavonica and SEER.

Prestige of publications:

Layton’s book Russian Literature and Empire. Conquest of the Caucasus from Pushkin to Tolstoy (Cambridge UP, 1994) was republished in 2005. Ryazanova-Clarke’s book The Russian Language Today (with Wade, 1999) and Smith’s books The Song of the Mockingbird (1994) and Montaging Pushkin (2006) have been included in the curriculum for research programmes in many universities across the world (Sorbonne, Princeton, Stanford, Bergen).