Bio

I work at the intersection of literary theory, Russian cultural and film studies, and Performance Studies. I received my training in Princeton’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures (PhD). In my previous scholarly projects I’ve developed a niche where I bridge literary theory to performance theory as the scaffolding for analyzing indigenous Russian performance theories that have not yet been documented. I continue to analyze ascending, aesthetic theories in drama, film, and literature that are becoming systematized in Russia and Europe, in particular those that stand at the heated crossroads of art and politics, as the globe felt palpably in 2022, with repercussion also in 2014. In my research I embed myself in the artistic and intellectual community through my access to that process that ethnography, interview, and archive study allow me. I have lived over four years in Russia, spending half of my higher education learning at Russian institutions of higher education.

My first book (2024) contributes to Russophone cultural studies the undertaking of defining the salient tendencies of Novaia Drama, the self-identifying movement that occupies the most innovative aspects of post-Soviet theatre. The New Dramatists are postcolonial writers who have developed new technologies for historicizing the afterlife of the Soviet empire. The New Dramatists prefer to be transmitters of documented histories of Russia’s present by using live interaction with recorded documents and recorded speech. More and more in Russia there are repercussions for touching the real. With many of its productions happening in basement and independent theatres, New Drama is becoming a new underground culture operating outside of state power.

My second book (in progress) focuses on how three women artists approach the paradoxical topic of documentary art through their oeuvre: Russia’s first woman documentary film-maker, Esfir Shub, who created her own approach to the documentary that broke from her teacher, Sergei Eisenstein, and the late-Soviet novels of Svetlana Aleksievich and post-Soviet novels of Alisa Ganaeva, which are based on interviews with people, mostly women, who have lived through cataclysmic events in Belarus, Russia, and Dagestan.

Susanna Weygandt

Oral materials of recorded interviews with different contemporary social groups are central in my research and in my approach to language pedagogy. I have taught all levels of Russian in the university (large classroom) and liberal arts (smaller classes) settings. I taught at the summer program of Russian at Middlebury’s Language School in Vermont and also at Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, where lessons focus on community-related topics and real-world issues, using authentic language material and resources. At Sewanee: The University of the South I teach all levels of Russian and in the Humanities Program.

photo cred. Greg Harris