Grad Program: MA and PhD programs in Polish and Russian Literatures and Cultures, University of Illinois Chicago

Deadline: December 15, 2021; February 1, 2022

The Department of Polish, Russian, and Lithuanian Studies (PRLS) invites interested students to apply for the MA and PhD programs in Polish and Russian Literatures and Cultures at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). Join our thriving department in one of the US’s most livable and affordable cultural centers!  In recent years, the department has placed all of its graduating PhD students in full-time academic positions at both research universities and liberal arts colleges in North America. UIC’s record for graduate student success in the fields of Polish, Russian, and Polish-Jewish studies is rooted in the department’s attentive advising and supportive intellectual community.

The PRLS Department at UIC offers graduate students a vibrant intellectual environment where they can pursue innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to scholarship. Department faculty specialize in:

  • 20th and 21st Century Polish and Russian Literatures
  • Verbal and Visual Avant-gardes
  • Literary Theory
  • Polish–Jewish culture, and Comparative Polish and Yiddish Modernisms
  • Film & Media
  • Sound Studies
  • Diaspora, Transnationalism, and Multilinguality

All courses at UIC approach literature and the arts as spaces of encounter, and thus highlight the productive interaction of diverse cultural and linguistic traditions that characterize Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, and Jewish history. Recent graduate courses have included:

  • Addiction and Modernity
  • Decline of Art: Polish Avant-garde and the Crisis of European Culture
  • Disobedient Practices: Literature as Resistance to Stalinism
  • Gombrowicz: Exile and ExpositionImperial Formations: Topics in New Imperial History
  • Nabokov and the Nabokovian
  • Perversion and Bureaucracy: Modern Intellectual History of Central Europe
  • Polish Jewish Territories in the Literary Imagination
  • Russia and the West
  • Schultz: Messianism, Masochism, and Melancholy
  • The Russian Avant-Garde
  • The Antihero in Literature
  • Translation, Transmission, and Translinguality
  • The Truth of the Matter: Artists and the Actual in Russian Literature and Cinema
  • Theory and Practice of Parody
  • Writing in the Third Language: Between Theology and Materialism in Central and East European Prose

The department is deeply engaged with intellectual life at UIC, and graduate students frequently pursue courses in UIC’s renowned departments of English and Art History. Our students especially benefit from close collaboration with our colleagues in the Department of History, where four professors specialize in the history and thought of Russia and Poland.  The department hosts annually a visiting professor from Poland through the Fulbright Visiting Scholar program. 

Students earning a graduate degree in Russian or Polish literatures may complement their courses by enrolling in an Interdepartmental Graduate Concentration in Gender and Women’s Studies, Central and Eastern European Studies, or Violence Studies. In addition to developing expertise in research, students benefit from the Language and Culture Learning Center at UIC, which offers various seminars on communicative pedagogy in language teaching so that our students can learn and practice cutting edge teaching techniques.

While at UIC, the vast majority of our graduate students are awarded teaching assistantships that come with a stipend and full tuition waiver for the duration of their program.  Graduate students at UIC benefit from the support of Graduate Employees Union. 

Financial resources made available by the creation of the Stefan & Lucy Hejna Fund in Polish Language and Literature at UIC create opportunities for vibrant and ongoing exchange with leading scholars in the fields of Polish Studies, Polish Jewish Studies and Central and East European Studies, through the organization at UIC of annual international conferences, and of events highlighting developments in contemporary Polish culture and scholarship. The UIC Fund for Polish Jewish Studies provides support for conference participation as well as merit-based awards.  

For students interested in Russian studies, our annual Workshop in Russian Modernism brings together leading scholars in the field to discuss salient topics related to modernity and postmodernity. Each year the department organizes large and small symposia, invited talks and workshops as well as hosts numerous readings and performances by writers, poets, filmmakers and musicians. Our recent guests included Alexander Shein, Maksim Didenko, Kirill Medvedev, Anna Moiseenko, Roman Osminkin, Maria Stepanova, Tatyana Tolstaya, and Yuri Andrukhovich.  

All our graduate students get a chance to present papers at the two internal events, an interdisciplinary In/Between Conference and the Summer Seminar, where the faculty and graduate students of the School of Literatures, Cultural Studies, and Linguistics as well as some invited outside scholars come together to share their research and exchange knowledge and ideas. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, or if you’d simply like to talk about our program.  If you’d like to be considered for university fellowships, the early deadline is December 15, 2021.  To be considered for teaching assistantships or BOT tuition wavers, complete applications must be received by February 1, 2022Detailed application instructions and further information about our graduate programs can be found here. My colleagues and I look forward to hearing from you!