Doctor of Philosophy
I was born in Odessa, Ukraine and immigrated to the US at the age of nine. Growing up completely bilingual, I discovered my passion for studying literature, languages, and creative writing at Saint Ann’s School. I went on to earn my BA cum laude in Comparative Literature from Yale University and then my PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard. In the meantime, I worked as a teacher and private tutor at the art camp Idea.
My dissertation was about play as a response to crisis in the works of Borges, Pelevin, and Brazilian author Clarice Lispector. Ever since investigating play, I’ve been trying to incorporate games and playfulness into my teaching and writing. From performing the pages of Dostoevsky to weaving an interactive story using only nouns in Spanish, from asking questions of each jumping, antsy line of a William Carlos Williams poem to questioning the ethics of Lolita from a contemporary feminist standpoint, my students love to play with concepts and techniques, and this is simply delightful.
As a teacher, I believe in the unique potential of every learner. Everyone can make a unique contribution to the classroom because of every learner’s experiences, skill sets, and desires. Neuroscience tells us that we never stop learning, and my Stanford Continuing Studies students from classes on Nabokov and Tolstoy are a true testament to this. I love seeing my adult students rediscover literature and the liberal arts, but I also love teaching ten-year-olds about theme and figurative language. I am passionate about literature, languages, and intellectual inquiry, and love to support learners of all ages and parts of the world.
My most recent articles include a study of Leo Tolstoy’s use of hallucinogenic dream imagery and stream of consciousness to critique war and a critique of interpretation in favor of a more holistic, attention-based approach to aesthetic experience.
I have taught at Harvard, Stanford, and the University of California, Davis. Now my journey takes me to Zayed University in partnership with Minerva Project. I’m excited to announce that I will be Founding Faculty at the new college of Interdisciplinary Studies starting 08/01/2021. I will continue living in New York with my family and writing poetry. Please be in touch for academic or creative collaboration.