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Slavic Department Tenures Visiting Russian Poetry Scholar

By Debra P. Hunter, Contributing Writer

Visiting Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures Stephanie Sandler will join the Faculty as a professor of Russian Studies, effective next spring.

Sandler was offered the position in 1998 and accepted last week.

Named Professor of Russian and Women's and Gender Studies at Amherst College in 1995, Sandler teaches a Slavic department seminar called "Poetic Self-Creation in Twentieth-Century Russia."

"Harvard has been a wonderful place for me to teach as a visitor, and I already have come to value my new colleagues and I've begun to appreciate how much the University offers in its libraries and other resources," Sandler wrote in an e-mail message.

Sandler's colleagues and students gave nearly universal praise for her selection.

"Professor Sandler is a remarkably gifted teacher who enriches the experience of Russian literature with a judicious application of various modern theoretical approaches," wrote Potebnja Professor of Ukrainian Philology and department chair Michael S. Flier in an e-mail message.

Several graduate students in the Slavic department lauded Sandler's unique dynamism as an instructor.

"She's an expert at conveying her enthusiasm in the classroom," said Ian M. Chesley, "and she's dedicated to creating an atmosphere of open and creative intellectual exchange."

Melissa S. Feuerstein, a current graduate student in the Slavic department, studied under Sandler as an undergraduate at Amherst.

"Stephanie Sandler has been the most important, inspiring and influential figure in my academic life," she said. "It is through her that I found Russian literature. One of the many things I learned from her is that academic rigor can and should be combined with creative thinking and intellectual risk taking."

Sandler's impact on her students has also extended outside of the classroom.

"Stephanie is incredibly generous--with her knowledge, her support, her enthusiasm and her dedication," Feuerstein said. "She is as wonderful in the classroom as she is in individual conversations."

According to Cross Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures John E. Malmstad, Sandler's addition to the Faculty will broaden the scope of the department's expertise.

"Sandler is a wonderful authority on Russian verse with a special interest in contemporary verse," he said. "She will also bring her interest and expertise in women's studies to our Slavic offerings."

A specialist in the study of 19th and 20th-century Russian poetry, Sandler published her first book, Distant Pleasures: Alexander Pushkin and the Writing of Exile in 1989.

Sandler also co-edited a collection of articles entitled Sexuality and the Body in Russian Culture in 1993. Sandler recently edited a collection, Rereading Russian Poetry, for Yale University Press.

Her current projects include a co-edited collection entitled Self and Story in Russian History and a book-length study, Commemorating Pushkin: Russia's Myth of a National Poet.

In 1996, Sandler served as the director of a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar for college teachers, entitled "Gender and Identity in Russian Literature."

The last professor to be tenured in the Slavic department was Svetlana Boym in 1995.

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