Michael Naydan (B.A., M.A., American U.; Ph.D., Columbia U.) is Woskob Family Professor of Ukrainian Studies and Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature at The Pennsylvania State University. Before coming to Penn State, he taught at Yale and Rutgers. At Penn State he served as Head of the Department of Slavic Languages (1991–1997) and as Director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies (1992–1998). A member of AAASS/ASEEES since 1984, he is currently a member of the Omeljan Pritsak Prize Committee. As a member of the American Association of Ukrainian Studies since its inception in 1989, he served as President from 1997 to 2000. Also a member of AATSEEL, he was Editor-in-Chief of Slavic and East European Journal from 1993 to 1999.
His primary areas of research include Ukrainian and Russian poetry from the 18th century to the present; translation and translation studies; Ukrainian and Russian Modernism; Slavic women writers; and contemporary Ukrainian prose. His publications include 50+ articles on literary and cultural topics including national identity, gender equity, modes of spirituality, postmodernism, and the intersection of politics, history, and culture. He has devoted much of his career to translation: over 40 book-length translations (often written in collaboration with colleagues and students) have appeared with presses such as Bucknell, Columbia, Glagoslav, Northwestern, and Spuyten Duyvil. Eighty+ translations have appeared in journals and anthologies. Nine translations from Russian with the late Slava Yastremski include Igor Klekh’s A Country the Size of Binoculars (2004), Olga Sedakova’s Freedom to Believe (2010), The Essential Poetry of Marina Tsvetaeva (2015), and Nikolai Gumilev’s Africa (2018). His translations from Ukrainian include Yuri Andrukhovych’s Perverzion (2005), The Essential Poetry of Bohdan Ihor Antonych (2010), Maria Matios’s Sweet Darusya (2019), Yuri Vynnychuk’s Tango of Death (2019); and the edited and co-translated volume Herstories: An Anthology of Contemporary Ukrainian Women Prose Writers (2014). Most recently, he co-translated Serhii Rudenko’s Zelensky: A Biography for Polity Books. Naydan sees translation as a significant means by which our field can reach a broader audience, an important goal for underrepresented languages and cultures.
At Penn State, Naydan raised the visibility of Ukraine through course offerings, including one of the first U.S. courses on Ukrainian culture, which he designed in 1989 and has taught continuously. He strives to equip his students with critical thinking and communication skills and helps them pursue academic and non-academic careers. Two Fulbright Fellowships in Ukraine deepened his interests and led him to host 40+ Fulbright scholars from Ukraine, Romania, and Russia. He currently holds the position of Senior Fulbright Scholar. Close collaborations with other scholars and writers here and abroad inform all he does.
At ASEEES, Naydan looks forward to increasing mentoring opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students and expanding collaborative opportunities across disciplines. He would work with large and small programs to strategize for increased enrollments and stem the fallout from funding cutbacks. And he would spotlight socially relevant public scholarship on Slavic, East-Central European, and Eurasian Studies. Being based in two literatures and cultures himself, he hopes to increase attention to minority cultures, languages, and peoples of our region and encourage meaningful dialogue in our tumultuous time.