Russian Songs at the 9th Annual International Karaoke Night

Students worked hard practicing their songs in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Latin, Russian, and Spanish.  There was food from around the world and prizes for best solo, small group, and whole class acts.  Read more to find out who won and hear a bit of their songs.


Dr. Weygandt & Student Work in the Digital Humanities

On October 20th Susanna Weygandt shared at the Faculty/Student research celebration some of the seminal material for her digital humanities project, "Translational Docudrama and the Art of Resistance in Eastern & Central Europe and Russia." She will build the platform as a scholar at the Kennan Institute. Her platform includes the essence of proper DH projects: a search engine, unique archive, and collaboration. Her student, Juliane Purves C' 24, translated the documentary drama Motovilikh Worker (2011, Andrei Rodionov and Mikhail Durnenkov) that will be housed on the platform.

Dr. Ladygina Returns to Sewanee

Thursday, September 21
Dr. Yuliya Ladygina will deliver a talk entitled, "Hauntology, Ruins, Macabre, & a Promise of a Brighter Future in Valentyn Vasyanovych's Atlantis (2019)" In her presentation, Dr. Ladygina will share her ongoing research on Valentyn Vasyanovych's internationally acclaimed film Atlantis (2019), which evokes bombed-out postwar Ukraine of 2025, an imagined universe victorious in its war with Russia but left in total societal, economic, and environmental wreckage. Utterly haunted by ruins, unburied dead, and ubiquitous phantoms of repressed pasts and promised but aborted futures, the film offers a sobering representation of highly complex dimensions of Ukraine's post-Soviet and wartime experiences that invites a thorough hauntological consideration. Using Jacques Derrida's critical approach to history and its ability to haunt and thereby influence contemporary society, Dr. Ladygina will position Atlantis as not only a powerful anti-war text but also a pertinent reflection on Ukraine's ongoing struggle to forge a new vision for its political future. Vasyanovych's use of macabre images and aesthetic choices associated with the phenomena known as "ruins port" will be of particular interest in that regard. In her discussion of Vasyanovych's illustrative narrative strategies, Dr. Ladygina will draw on Kate McLoughlin's influential study of literary representations of war and several critical texts dealing with de-industrial representations.

Dr. Weygandt's Article Published in Russian Pedagogy Book

Dr. Weygandt has used theatre to teach Russian. She describes her approach to seeing students' Russian improve as they learn grammar and stage a production in her recent publication, "Ludic Acts of Language Acquisition: Role, Dialogue, and Stage for L2 Russian Oral Proficiency" in Dynamic Teaching of Russian: Gamification of Learning, eds. Nuss & Kogan, 2024.  Thanks to students in RUSN 311 and in RUSN 402 for participating in two productions.


Applying Russian in Various Campus Venues

Students in Dr. Weygandt's popular RUSN 203 (17 students) in fall 2023 would apply their Russian to hands-on and creative activities around Sewanee’s campus during the course’s weekly lab hour. One lab, for instance, took place at the Ralston Listening Room, where students identified recently learned grammar topics in classic rock and electronic rock of the Soviet Union’s 1980s while singing along to unforgettable lyrics. At the University Art Gallery, students talked about the exhibition by Sisavanh Phouthavong Houghton, "Glimpses of Lives Interrupted." Each student identified a painting (картина) to marvel at with their partner. Using любить + accusative and нравится + dative, they share their opinion of the painting, offering a soft critique. Shapes (квадрат, точка, линия, треугольник, круг, форма) and colors (жёлтый, красный, оранжевый, чёрный, белый, голубой, зелёный, розовый, фиолетовый, серый) were discussed, as well as the genitive singular and plural to ask and answer such questions as Какого цвета этот треугольник? Сколько линий в этой картине? Сколько кругов в этой картине? Сколько форм в этой картине?

International Carnival Tour of Language Houses

Saturday, February 18

Experience how Carnival is celebrated around the world by touring the language theme houses.  In no particular order, you may drop in on all or just some of the language theme houses. 

8th Annual International Karaoke Night

Join us for a night of fun, food, music, and prizes! Brave students will sing in the language that they are studying at Sewanee. Get your name on the roster to sing by contacting Helen Stapleton

Sewanee Russian Speakers Assist Ukrainian Refugees

Having heard that translators and interpreters were in short supply at the primary transfer point of refugees flowing into and out of Poland, Dr. Mark Preslar and assembled a team of 7 Russian Speakers from among his graduates, including two Ukrainian speakers. Virtually all Ukrainians speak Russian fluently.  After extensive planning, fundraising, and acquiring necessary supplies for Ukraine, the team met at the airport in Krakow, Poland, checked in with the Make a Difference Foundation, and immediately went to the Tesco Refugee Center and got to work. Read more for a full account

Russian Majors Celebrate

Russian majors gave their Oral Presentations all in Russian thus completing their requirements for the year.  There was much celebration afterwards.

Virtual Visit to Moscow & St. Petersburg

On April 27, Professor Kurganova's students went on a virtual tour around Russia's two rival capitals: the moody romantic cultural capital St Petersburg and the never sleeping stone-clad "real" capital Moscow. Not a mere tour, but a live battle of the squares: the Red square Vs the Palace square, the European Vs the traditional, street musicians Vs church bells.  Sewanee's partnership with SRAS make such virtual visits possible.

Shashka Workshop

Students met on the lawn of the Russian House to learn this traditional Cossack sword fighting technique on a lovely spring afternoon. 


Candlelight Vigil for Ukraine

Join us on Thursday, March 31st, at 6:00 pm in Convocation Hall for a candlelight vigil to express support and solidarity to Sewanee's Ukrainian students and learn more about those affected by the war in Ukraine. The gathering is co-hosted by the Interfaith House, Global Home, Organization for Cross-Cultural Understanding, Russian Department, All Saints Chapel, and Ukrainian Community.  Supper at McClurg this evening will feature Ukrainian cuisine.

Screening of "Winter on Fire"

Learn about the events leading to the current war in Ukraine with this  2015 documentary film about the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine from 21 November 2013 to 23 February 2014.   The revolution signaled Ukraine's turn away from "Russia's Sphere of Influence" and authoritarian practices and towards the West, democracy, and attempts to fight government corruption.  In retaliation Russia's annexation of Crimea and support of separatist movements in Donetsk and Luhansk. 

Wednesday, April 20 at 7:30pm, Gailor Auditorium


Panel on Ukraine

On Sunday, March 6, 2022 there was a panel to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Read more to find out about the panelists, see the video, and read the Russian Department's statement on the current situation.

Maslenitsa '22!

Students got to experience how Carnival is celebrated around the world by touring the Language Theme Houses on Friday, February 25.
-Try King Cake, make crafts with Mardi Gras beads, and play bead toss at the French House!
-The German House will offer Faschingskrapfen (jam-filled donuts) and face painting!
-Decorate masks at the Italian House!
-Enjoy bliny (thin pancakes), a  bonfire, tug-o-war and other games at the Russian House!
-Foam fight, piñatas, and other games at the Spanish House!
Whether it's Mardi Gras in the Francophone world, Fasching in Germany, Carnevale in Italy, Maslenitsa in Russia, or Carnaval in the Hispanic world, Europeans welcomed the return of the sun and the approach of the Spring Equinox with celebrations involving pancakes and other traditional foods, games, bonfires, costumes, parades, and role reversals.  With the arrival of Christianity, these celebrations evolved into one last indulgence before the austerity of the Lent.

The Blue Machinist

The Russian Department put on a performance of The Blue Machinist.  Playwright Mikhail Durnenkov is a leader in the pioneering New Drama / Novaia Drama movement. The setting of his play takes place in a contemporary factory, where several factory workers pass the time by composing haiku.

7th Annual International Karaoke Night

The 7th Annual International Karaoke Night was held on October 27 and featured acts in all the modern languages that Sewanee offers: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish. There was fun, food, music, and incredible talent on display. Read more to find out which Russian acts won.

Perimeter Trail Hike and Campout

Members of the Russian House and friends will hike the entire 22-mile perimeter this weekend.  They will set out on Friday, October 9 and camp on the trail and do the second half of the hike the following Saturday.  Along the way, they will discuss the flora and fauna and learn the Russian words for them.

Parent's Weekend '21 Shashlik

Come hungry and ready to party at our annual Russian Shashlik.  There will be vegetables, salads, cakes, and of course grilled meats!  Bring your parents

Learning Russian through Board Games

LinguaPolis, a language learning game created by the Linguistics researcher Dr. Vita Kogan, was incorporated into Dr. Weygandt's RUSN 312 course in March.  The game is designed to alleviate speaking anxiety in a foreign language, and it was effective! Playing good, old-fashioned board games was a refreshing change from the remote digital landscape of teaching these days. 

Dr. Weygandt Presents at AATSEEL Conference

Dr. Susanna Weygandt presented "Oral Proficiency through Chitka: Reciting and Re-writing Dramatic Text in All Levels of Russian” on the panel “Drama-Based Language Pedagogy” at virtual AATSEEL, Feb. 2021. Currently she is using theatre in language pedagogy in RUSN 311: Composition and Conversation. This November students of the course will perform in Russian Синний слесарь / The Blue Machinist (2007) by Russian New Drama playwright Mikhail Durnenkov. The English translation appears in New Russian Drama: An Anthology, eds. Hanukai and Weygandt. When her students perform scenes in Russian, the process is just as  important as the result. Her students discuss events that happen in dramatic scenes in Russian, translate the dialogue, and she invites students to interpret the dialogue into their own Russian (пересказать).

Russian Orthodox Easter Celebration

Come to the Russian House on Sunday, April 2 at 2:00pm for a Pashka Celebration. Dye Easter eggs, eat Kulichi (a sweet popover), and learn about Russian Orthodox Easter traditions.

Countryside/Dacha Experience

Visit a real Russian dacha this Friday (April 23, 2021 at 9:10am))! We are going live via zoom, and our friend and cultural guide, Sergey, and our amazing colleagues Zhenya and Lena will be there too!  The experience will be in English, with a few Russian words peppered in for spice.

Dystopian Movie Night

Inhabited Island: It's dystopian. Post-apocalyptic. The planet of tough regime and strange tongues: planet Saraksh. Come watch a movie adaptation of Strugatsky Brother's novel (authors of Stalker). Dark, strange, Russian! 
There will be English subtitles! Credit for Russian class awarded. April 22 at 7:00pm at Spencer Lawn Tent

Sasha Kazantseva: Queer Joy & Censorship in Russia

On Wednesday, March 30, Sasha talked about queer & gender issues in contemporary Russia and touch on a few questions specific to her unique experience:
-How is lesbian sex ed different from general sex ed?
-How do you work to promote LGBTQ rights in a country where it is technically illegal?
-What is queer culture like in Russia?
-How is the Russian language adapting to be more inclusive?
-How does vulnerability build up resistance?

Cartoon Night at the Russian House

Students gathered at the Russian House on  September 22 to watch a cartoon about Владимир Красное Солнышко (Vladimir of the Red Son) who converted Kievan Rus to Christianity. Its full of old Rus references, pagan magic, and christian themes.

International Carnival Photo Contest

Post your best photo from Carnivals past on our Photo Contest Wall by March 20. We will vote and award prizes on March 24. Include a caption in both English and in the language you are studying.

In many parts of the world, some form of Carnival is celebrated, combining Christian and pre-Christian traditions indigenous to the region. This celebration goes by many names: Maslenitsa Масленица in Russia; Mardi Gras in the Francophone world; Carnaval in Spain/Latin America, Carnevale in Italy, Fasching in Germany-to name a few. Common threads include celebrating the end of winter darkness, sometimes parades, often outrageous costumes, role reversal, consuming pancakes, or marking the beginning of Lent.  We include the Lunar New Year in this category since it honors the end of winter and the return of the light.

Russian House Celebrates International Women's Day

In honor of International Women's Day on March 8, Nessie Kurganova led a discussion about gender roles in contemporary Russia.

6th Annual International Karaoke Night

Students gathered at Cravens Hall for the The 6th Annual International Karaoke Night on Saturday, October 24.  It was a little different from past International Karaoke Nights when students sang live in front of a panel of judges and an audience.  Instead,  they submitted videos of themselves singing in the language that they are studying.  The videos representing Chinese, French, German, Latin, Russian, and Spanish were screened at the

Dr. Weygandt Participates in Columbia's New Russian Theater Webinar

The book launch of New Drama: An Anthology (Columbia University Press) that Dr. Susanna Weygandt co-edited was hosted by the Harriman Institute at Columbia University on October 2, 2020. The event was organized as a panel with other researchers and translators of contemporary Russian drama from the US and UK. A video of the presentation and play-reading during the book launch can be found here:

Vecherinka: Outdoor Party at Russian House

Meet at the Russian House for Russian music, games, and food (pelmeni).  Meet your friends in the Russian Department.

Maslenitsa 2020

Maslenitsa, the pre-lent butter week, celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of spring and of Lent. Last Saturday (February 29), The Russian House celebrated with bliny and tea, played folk games, and burned a scarecrow that symbolizes winter.

Underground Film at Russian House

Students gathered at the Russian House on February 20th to watch a film depicting underground culture in Soviet Russia featuring the popular Russian music artists, Victor Tsoi and Kino.

International Carnival Celebration

In many parts of the world, some form of Carnival is celebrated, combining Christian and pre-Christian traditions indigenous to the region. This celebration goes by many names: Maslenitsa Масленица in Russia; Mardi Gras in the Francophone world; Carnaval in Latin America, Carnevale in Italy, Fasching in Germany-to name a few. Common threads include celebrating the end of winter darkness, sometimes parades, often outrageous costumes, role reversal, consuming pancakes, or marking the beginning of Lent. On Sunday, February 16, various language houses hosted a progressive festival starting at the Russian House, continuing on to the Spanish House, the German House, the Italian House, and ending at the French House.

Advanced Russian Students Interview Prominent Russian Artist

Dr. Susanna Weygandt organized a teleconference between her advanced Russian students and acclaimed Russian artist, curator, and author, Ilmira Bolotyan. The event was made possible by a mini-grant from Sewanee's Center for Teaching.

Dr. Weygandt Publishes 2 Articles

Dr. Susanna Weygandt has recently published 2 new articles: Susanna Weygandt interviews playwrights Ivan Vyrypaev and Sasha Denisova in "Playwriting without Borders: Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarussian New Drama in the 21st Century," ed. Julie Curtis (London: Bloomsbury Academic). "New Russian Drama: An Anthology," edited by Maksim Hanukai and Susanna Weygandt was released this fall. The volume features 10 plays by contemporary playwrights writing in Russian—framed by an Introduction by Susanna Weygandt and Maksim Hanukai with a foreword by the eminent Richard Schechner.

5th Annual International Karaoke Night

The 5th Annual International Karaoke Night took place on November 7, 2019 at the Tiger Bay Pub. There were songs in 8 different languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Latin, Russian, and Spanish.