Julie Cassiday

President 2018

Professor of Russian and Chair of the German and Russian Department at Williams College

Julie Cassiday is a Professor of Russian at Williams College, where she has been a member of the Department of German and Russian for over twenty years.  She currently serves as the department Chair, as well as Chair of the Executive Committee of Williams’ Center for Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.  In past years, she also chaired Williams’ Program in Comparative Literature.  Cassiday received an A.B. with Honors in the Russian Language from Grinnell College, an M.A. in Russian from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures and Humanities also from Stanford.

Cassiday’s book, The Enemy on Trial: Early Soviet Courts on Stage and Screen (Northern Illinois University Press, 2000), represents the first study to consider in depth the elements of a show in Soviet show trials.  Examining a diverse body of material, including early twentieth-century theory on theater and cinema, mock trials, feature films, and documentaries of early show trials, the book argues for a combined theatrical and cinematic modeling of the legal spectacles that paved the way for the Great Purge.  Building on this research, Cassiday has also published articles on the cinematic representation of the cult of Sergei Kirov, as well as the only detective film made under Stalin. In addition, Cassiday has published several articles on nineteenth-century theater as an important innovator in the performance of gender roles in the pre-Pushkin era, and her current research focuses on gender and sexuality in post-socialist Russia.  She has collaborated with Emily Johnson on a study of the cult of personality surrounding Vladimir Putin and published on Russia’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.  Cassiday has also written on performance artist Vladislav Mamyshev-Monro, widely hailed as Russia’s first drag queen, and she anticipates discussing drag, camp, kitsch, and charisma in a book-length study of gender during the Putin era.  

Cassiday advocates diversity of all types in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and she works actively to promote the inclusion of underrepresented groups in the field.