Marina Alexandrova, PhD
Born and raised in Saratov, Russia, Marina Alexandrova received her MA equivalent in English from Saratov State University, and her PhD in Comparative Literature (Russian and Spanish American Literatures) from the University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation analyzes the formation of the literary public spheres in Russia and Argentina, focusing on the avant-garde literary groups and their complex interactions with the state.
Voted "Texas 10" most popular UT-Austin professors in 2019, Dr. Alexandrova teaches a variety of courses on Russian history, culture, and language. Her current research interests include international modernism and avant-garde (1870s-1920s), Russian radical and revolutionary movements, spirituality in Imperial Russia, and, most recently, cultural and spiritual ties between Russia and the United States. In the fall of 2020, she will teach her new UGS course, "Tsars and Mystics," examining (un)Orthodox spiritual practices and unusual confessors of Russian rulers from Ivan the Terrible to Nicholas the Bloody.
She has directed and produced two plays with her students of "Advanced Russian through Drama," Vladimir Mayakovsky's controversial comedy "Bedbug" (1928) in 2018 and Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull" (1895) in 2019, partly supported by a grant from Experiential Learning Initiative. In 2018, Dr. Alexandrova worked with Austin Shakespeare Company on their innovative production of Anton Chekhov's play "The Seagull." She spoke about her experience as a dramaturg for the play in KUT's Arts Eclectic's interview. In 2019, she was the dramaturg for Penfold Theatre's production of "Crime and Punishment." As part of her mission of fostering greater awareness of Russian literature and culture, she co-taught a course on Dostoevsky's "Notes from the Underground" at Travis County Correctional Complex for Inside Literature.
Recently, Dr. Alexandrova shared her expertise in Russian Imperial history as an onscreen expert for the acclaimed docudrama The Last Czars (currently streaming on Netflix). Read her op-ed about the Romanovs and their fate in the 21st century in the magazine "Life and Letters." To hear more about Dr. Alexandrova's experiences and future plans, listen to her recent interview for The Slavic Connexion podcast.
As a visiting professor at Université Paris Nanterre during spring 2020, Dr. Alexandrova is currently teaching two graduate seminars, "Russia through American Eyes" and "The International Avant-Garde in New York." While in Paris, she is conducting research for her book about Mme Blavatsky's contested place in Russian culture. Read her commentary on the controversies surrounding the publication of Blavatsky's complete works, The Unveiling of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, part of the German-Russian Research Project on New Age in late Soviet and post-Soviet Russia.