Study abroad: Stanford-in Cliveden (Summer 1980); CIEE semester program in Leningrad (Fall 1982); many subsequent research trips to Moscow, Leningrad/St. Petersburg, Sochi, Helsinki.
Present occupation: Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian, Pomona College
Reason I studied Russian at Stanford: Initially I wanted to major in Comparative Literature, and I needed to pick a third language (in addition to English and French), so I decided --more or less on a whim-- to study Russian. But my Russian teachers were so great and the books so amazing that I ended up doing all Russian courses all the time (or at least that's how it felt), so I switched to a double major in English and Russian.
Thumbnail summary of career-to-date: Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures (Yale, 1993); teaching jobs at Yale, UC San Diego, Oberlin, Pomona; lots of conference papers and a handful of published articles, most focusing on issues of gender and nationality in Russian popular culture from the 19th-century to the present; current never-ending book project: a cultural history of Russian girlhood, 1764-1917. Courses I've taught include overstuffed, usually cross-disciplinary surveys of literary, cultural and film history; assorted language courses; seminars on topics in Russian film, theater, contemporary culture, gender and sexuality; occasional forays into comparative literature and film studies (historical novels, sex and science fiction, genre films, etc).
Most fun I've had speaking Russian: almost crashing Brezhnev's funeral in 1982; every day of the year I spent in Moscow in 1987-88; working as rehearsal interpreter for director Roman Viktiuk during the San Diego production of my translation of Nikolia Koliada's Slingshot in 1989; hanging out at Russian film festivals in Sochi, Petersburg and Moscow; too many late-night conversations around Moscow kitchen tables to count.....