Panelists Examine Modern Russia's Place in the World

By Gail Hairston

The fourth event for the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences Civic Life seminar series will be moderated by Molly Thomasy Blasing, assistant professor of Russian studies in the college’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures (MCLLC). The event will be noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, in the UK Athletics Auditorium of the William T. Young Library.

This week’s topic is “Russia and the World in 2017."

A panel discussion will be moderated by Blasing with: Gregory Hall (Patterson School); Karen Petrone (History); Jeanmarie Rouhier-Willoughby (MCLLC); and Cynthia Ruder (MCLLC). An interdisciplinary panel of UK professors will pose and answer questions about Russia’s role in the world in 2017.

Topics will include: foreign policy and Russia's renewed importance on the world stage, Russian public opinion on life inside and outside of Russia; Russian views of the United States under President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump; Russia’s role in European and American elections; and recent Russian protests. There will be ample time for questions from the audience.

Blasing specializes in modern and contemporary Russian poetry and the intersection of literature and the visual arts. Her other areas of scholarly interest include Russian cinema, contemporary theater and political performance, and foreign language pedagogy. Her current book project examines the influence of photography on Russian poetic writing in the 20th century.

Associate Professor Hall recently joined the faculty of the UK Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce. His areas of teaching and expertise include international relations and security, foreign policy, international political economy, Eurasian affairs, and research methodology. His most recent book is titled “Authority, Ascendancy, and Supremacy: China, Russia, and the United States’ Pursuit of Relevancy and Power.”

Petrone is a professor and chair of UK Department of History. Her primary research interests are cultural history, gender history, propaganda, representations of war, and the history of subjectivity and everyday life, especially in Russia and the Soviet Union. She has written two books and several scholarly articles about Russia.

Rouhier-Willoughby is a professor of Russian studies, folklore and linguistics and chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures. A great deal of her research and writing focuses on Russia’s contemporary identity and folklore. "Russian Religious Folk Imagination" (, is a web-based critical edition of Russian legends, song, rituals and icons.

Ruder is an associate professor of Russian studies, specializing in Russian language pedagogy and Soviet literature and culture of the 1930s. She is currently working on a book about the Moscow Canal, tentatively titled “Red Waterway: The Moscow Canal and the Creation of Soviet Space.” She teaches all levels of Russian language and a seminar on Stalinist culture.

When the series was announced, Mark Kornbluh, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of history, said, “At the core of the mission of the College of Arts and Sciences is the commitment to prepare students to be engaged citizens in our Commonwealth, in an increasingly diverse nation, and in an ever-more interconnected world.”

The dean and the college are committed to “seeking to provide additional opportunities to engage students over a broad range of issues that are essential to contemporary civic life.”

To achieve this goal, Kornbluh and his colleagues are reaching out to all colleges on the campus to co-sponsor events that will extend discussions on contemporary civic life beyond the walls of UK’s classrooms.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


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