Michael Kunichika

Member at Large, 2021-2022

Associate Professor of Russian, Director for Amherst Center for Russian Culture, Amherst College

Michael Kunichika teaches at Amherst College, where he is an Associate Professor of Russian and an affiliated faculty member of the Program in Film and Media Studies. He received his B.A. from Reed College in Russian and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in Slavic Languages and Literatures. Along with teaching, he currently directs the Amherst Center for Russian Culture. His first book, “Our Native Antiquity”: Archaeology and Aesthetics in the Culture of Russian Modernism appeared in 2015 with Academic Studies Press. It received honorable mention for the Wayne S. Vucinich Prize. He is currently at work on two projects. His first project, Specters of Empire: Early Russian Cinema and the Representation of Race, considers how race and ethnicity emerged as a crucial area for all aspects of early Soviet culture and especially cinema, prompting cultural thinkers and filmmakers to come up with representational forms proper to the values of socialist revolution, while also scrutinizing West-European forms of representing race on screen. His second project, Archaeology in the Twilight of Utopia: Late Socialism and the Rediscovery of the Archaic, considers the appeal, both in the Soviet Union and in Europe, of prehistory, from the late 1950s to the early 1980s. His work has appeared in such journals as Ab Imperio, RES: Archaeology and Aesthetics, and Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema. His research has been supported by fellowships from the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.