Faculty in the Russian program are committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in our society and our discipline. We acknowledge the institutional racism, sexism, and ableism that have shaped academic culture in the United States as well as the legacies of Russian imperialism in our field.
We advocate the study of different forms of racism and ethnic nationalism that continue to be practiced globally within the specific conditions of each region, and we strive to remove barriers to the advancement of oppressed minorities from the former Soviet Union.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has confirmed the very real dangers of Russocentrism in Slavic studies. For too long, the distinctiveness of Ukrainian culture has gone unrecognized in Anglo-American teaching and scholarship, with pioneering Ukrainian cultural figures inaccurately described as “Russians.” Casual use of “Russian” as an umbrella term has similarly obscured the profound contributions made to world culture by other peoples subjected to Russian imperialism. We are committed to ending this practice and to providing a more accurate and just understanding of Russia and the former Soviet space.
We are also committed to combating sexism, homophobia and transphobia. Recent decades have witnessed increased repression of LGBTQ+ people in Russia and in several neighboring countries, and we recognize that LGBTQ+ students may be hesitant to travel to such places. We understand that students of color may also have concerns about how they will be received in these countries. Regardless of how extensively they travel, however, all students have meaningful opportunities to learn about Russia and the former Soviet space, and diverse perspectives are crucial in our classes and in the many professions that regularly employ experts on these regions in the U.S. (government and non-government organizations, business, military and intelligence, journalism, and academia).