Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Irina Shevelenko is a professor of Slavic Languages and Literature in the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
She graduated from the University of Tartu in 1991 and received her Ph.D. in Slavic from Stanford University in 1998. Before joining the UW-Madison faculty in 2008, she held a faculty position at Smolny College, an affiliate of St. Petersburg State University and Bard College.
During her years at UW-Madison, Shevelenko has been engaged in service in a variety of ways, including as a Director of Graduate Studies in Slavic since 2012, and as a member of the Faculty Senate and of the Administrative Council of the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia. Shevelenko also served on several campus committees, mostly dedicated to graduate education and funding. On the research side of service, Shevelenko was a jury member of the AATSEEL Literature/Culture Book Prize Committee for four years, 2014–2017; from 2016–2019, she has served on the University of Wisconsin Press Committee, a body that makes publication decisions. She was also the organizer of three conferences on campus that took place in 2013, 2014, and 2018.
Shevelenko has taught a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses, from advanced Russian to Introduction to Old Church Slavic, from introductory Russian literature surveys to graduate courses on most periods of Russian literary and cultural history, from the medieval to the post-Soviet.
Shevelenko’s research has focused on several overlapping areas: Russian modernism in literature and the arts; Russian poetry; culture of the Russian interwar emigration in Europe; nationalism and empire; and the intellectual history of the late imperial period in Russia.
Her first book Literaturnyi put’ Tsvetaevoi: Ideologiia, poetika, identichnost’ avtora v kontekste epokhi [Tsvetaeva’s literary path: Ideology, poetics, and identity of the author in the context of the epoch] (2002, revised ed. 2015) is a comprehensive study of Marina Tsvetaeva’s development as an author and a cultural figure. Shevelenko also co-edited and annotated two major critical editions of Tsvetaeva archival materials: her notebooks (1997) and her correspondence with Boris Pasternak (2004, revised ed. 2016). Shevelenko’s more recent book, Modernizm kak arkhaizm: Natsionalizm i poiski modernistskoi estetiki v Rossii [Modernism as archaism: Nationalism and the quest for a modernist aesthetic in Russia] (2017; English translation in progress), employs conceptual frameworks of studies by historians of nationalism and empire in order to discuss the proliferation of archaistic aesthetics in Russian modernist art, literature, music, and performance as a fact of intellectual history. Shevelenko also edited a volume Reframing Russian Modernism (2018), contributions to which focus on Modernism’s encounters with such social practices as science, politics, and religion, in order to capture ways in which those encounters shaped artistic agendas.
Shevelenko’s current research explores the literary and cultural history of the late Soviet period, from the death of Stalin to the beginning of perestroika. Tentatively titled Reimagining the Past: Late Soviet Culture in Search of Its Roots, her new book-length project will examine two interconnected processes: the reconsideration of historical realities of the late imperial and early Soviet period and the rediscovery of the experimental (modernist) artistic legacy, one of the products of the same time period, in the post-Stalin era.
Shevelenko is currently preparing for publication an edited volume of English translations of poetry and essays by prominent contemporary Russian poet and prose writer Maria Stepanova.