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Roman Utkin


Ph.D., M.Phil. Yale University
M.A., B.A. Kazan State University, Russia


I specialize in 20th-century Russian and Soviet poetry, prose, and visual culture, with emphases on comparative modernisms, exile, urban poetics, and queer theory. My current book project, tentatively titled Russian Berlin: Culture of a Modernist Diaspora, explores the ways Russian émigré authors forged an alternative Russian tradition abroad. The resulting comparative perspective allows me to expand the existing map of Russian modernism and to demonstrate that it was far more cosmopolitan and aesthetically diverse than previously imagined. My project aims to de-marginalize émigré culture within the Russian canon and to present the modernist diaspora as a forerunner of transnationalism today.

As a native speaker of both Tatar and Russian, I am also interested in the cultures of Russia's non-majority peoples, Turkic avant-gardes, and ethnic difference in a transnational world.

At Davidson I enjoy incorporating my research interests–including Vladimir Nabokov, the Ballets Russes, literary translation, Soviet film, and LGBTQ aesthetics and politics in Russia–into my teaching. In addition to courses on Russian language, literature, and culture, I teach a Writing 101 course on otherness and belonging in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia.


RUS 201 Intermediate Russian I
RUS 202 Intermediate Russian II
RUS 270 Nobel Laureates: The Politics of Literature
RUS 292/GSS 292 Queer Russia
RUS 293/GER 331 Moscow Berlin Modernism
RUS 293 The Soviet Century
RUS 319 The Russian Internet
RUS 372/LIT 372 Nabokov and Global Literature
LIT 432 Theory and Practice of Literary Translation
WRI 101 Otherness and Belonging