Location: Bowdoin / Rita Safariants


Rita Safariants

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral FellowRussian

Contact Information


Sills Hall - 8

Rita Safariants - Bowdoin College


  • B.A. (University of Washington)
  • M.Phil. (Yale)
  • Ph.D. (Yale)

Rita Safariants is an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Russian at Bowdoin College where she teaches Intermediate Russian, as well as Hipsters, Rebels and Rock Stars in Russian Literature and Culture. Having completed her PhD at the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures at Yale University in 2012, Dr. Safariants is currently completing a book manuscript, Rock-n-Roll and Soviet Cinema: A Soundtrack to the Collapse of the Eternal State, on the symbiotic interplay between popular music and the late Soviet film industry. Her most recent research project examines the role of the KGB in the creation of two semiofficial organizations, the Leningrad Rock Club and the Moscow Rock Laboratory, which challenge the traditionally held assumption that late Soviet unofficial popular culture always existed in direct confrontation to the Communist State. Prior to coming to Bowdoin, Dr. Safariants was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian Studies at Vassar College, where she taught all levels of Russian language, a Freshman writing seminar, and interdisciplinary courses focusing on classical Russian literature, film, women writers, and popular music.  She has authored articles on Vladimir Nabokov, Anton Chekhov, Russian cinema and popular culture.

Research Interests

20th - 21st century Russian literature; film; Imperial, Soviet and post-Soviet performance culture: film, music and theatre; Cultural and Media Studies

“Thank God We’re Not Alive: Rock Stardom in Soviet and Post-Soviet Cinema (the Heroic Trajectories of Vladimir Vysotsky, Andrei Makarevich and Viktor Tsoi)." Forthcoming in Ruptures and Continuities in Soviet/Russian Cinema. Eds. Birgit Beumers, Eugenie Zvonkine, 2016.

“Chekhov on the Screen: Lady with Little Dog (1960) and Vanya on 42nd Street (1994)” with John MacKay. MLA Approaches to Teaching the Works of Chekhov. Eds. Michael Holquist, Michael C. Finke. MLA: 2016. 123-140.

“The Grandfather of Russian Rock: Aleksandr Vertinsky and his unlikely musical progeny.” Transactions of the Association of Russian-American Scholars in the USA (Festschrift in honor of Vladimir Alexandrov). Vol. 38, 2013. 263-282.

“Literary Bilingualism and Codeswitching in Vladimir Nabokov’s Ada.” Ulbandus: A Slavic Review of Columbia University. Vol.10, 2006-2007. 191-211.


Border Crossing: Russian Literature into Film, edited by Alexander Burry and Frederick White, Edinburgh, Edinburg University Press, 2016. Forthcoming in Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema.

“Vladimir Bek: Little Bird,” film review. KinoKultura, Issue 53, 2016

“Vladimir Kozlov: Traces in the Snow: Siberian Punk of the 1980s and 90s,” film review. KinoKultura, Issue 48, 2015.

“Erkin Saliev: Princess Nazik”, film review. KinoKultura, Issue 44, 2014

Work in Progress

“The Bureaucracy of Rock-n-Roll: the KGB and Late-Soviet Counterculture.”

“Filming the Criminal Mind: Cinematic Adaptations of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.”

Book manuscript: Rock-n-roll and Soviet Cinema: A Soundtrack for the Collapse of the Eternal State.

Papers Presented

“Post-Soviet Political Performance: Counterculture, State Power and Mainstream.” Roundtable member. ASEEES, Philadelphia, PA. November 21, 2015

“The Red Wave at Sundance: Rashid Nugmanov’s The Needle. ASEEES,  Philadelphia, PA. November 19, 2015

“The Neo-Avant Garde Aesthetic in Late Soviet Rock Culture.” “The World of Alice” International Conference. The All-Russian Pushkin Museum (Moika, 12), St. Petersburg, Russia. October 13-14, 2015.

“Rock-n-roll and Soviet Cinema: Soundtrack for the Collapse of the Eternal State.” “Russian Cinema Since 1991: Disruption and Perpetuation of Heritage” International Conference. École nationale supérieure Louis-Lumière, Paris, France. December 10-12, 2014.

 “Authorized Mayhem: Rock-n-Roll and the Soviet Film Industry.” ASEEES, San Antonio, TX. November 21, 2014.

 “The Gig is in the Boiler Room: Filming Leningrad’s Rock-n-Roll Counterculture.” Society For Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) Annual Convention. Seattle, WA. March 22, 2014.

 “Rockin’ and a Reelin’: Viktor Tsoi and The Soviet Rock Film.” ASEEES, Boston,  MA. November 21, 2013

 “Rocking Past the Red Tape: Rock-n-roll and the Soviet Film Industry.”  AATSEEL, Boston, MA. January 3-6, 2013.

 “Everyday Rock-n-roll: The Perestroika Rockumentary and the Soviet Cinematic Quotidian.” AATSEEL, Seattle, WA. January 7, 2012.

 “The Cinematic Kino: Viktor Tsoi and the Structure of the Soviet Rock Film.”  AATSEEL, Pasadena, CA. January 6-9, 2011.

“Everyday Rock-n-roll: Impressions of the Quotidian in the Soviet Rock Film.” Music on Film: Performance, Politics, Social History.  Slavic Colloquium, Yale University. April 22, 2010.

“Rock-n-roll and Memory: The Musical Structure of Aleksey Balabanov’s Cargo 200. AAASS, Boston, MA. November 13, 2009.

 “The Unlikely Rock Guru: Aleksandr Vertinsky and Contemporary Russian Music.  AAASS, New Orleans. November 15, 2007.

“Writing Across Languages: Codeswitching in Vladimir Nabokov’s Ada.  Literary Odysseys Conference, UC Boulder. Boulder, CO. February 22, 2007.

 “The Interiors of Crime and Punishment: A Study of Two Adaptations.”  Slavic       Colloquium, Yale University. October 10, 2006.

“Vladimir Bortko’s The Idiot: Adapting Bakhtin to Film.”  Mid-Atlantic AAASS, Fordham University. New York, New York. April 1, 2006.

Invited Talks

Authorized Mayhem: The KGB and the Soviet Rock Club.” University of Nebraska (Lincoln). Lincoln, NE. January 21, 2016.

Rock-n-Roll and the Soviet Film Industry." Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Geneva, NY. February 10, 2015.

“Tsoi Lives! A Soviet Rock Star’s Cinematic Immortality.” Yale University Slavic Colloquium, February 5, 2014.

“Everyday Rock-n-Roll: The Quotidian and the Creation of the Soviet Rock Film Star.” University of Southern California, February 20, 2011


Literature & Culture:

  • “Hipsters, Rebels and Rock Stars in Russian Literature and Culture”
  • “Russian Women Writers”
  •  “Chekhov’s Stories and Plays” (conducted in Russian)
  •  “Soviet Rock-n-roll Culture” (conducted in Russian)

Freshman Writing Seminars:

  •  “Russia and the Short Story”
  • “Escaping the Eternal Feminine: Women Writers of Russia”

Independent Studies

  • “Russian Sociolinguistics”
  • “Soviet Animation”
  • “The History of Fashion in Russia”

2014, 2012 Vassar College Faculty Research Grants (Elinor Nims Fund)

2010 Associates in Teaching Fellowship, Yale University.

2010 Nina Berberova Memorial Fund Award, Yale University.

2009-2010 Annie K. Garland Fellowship as part of the University Dissertation Fellowship, Yale University.

2006 AAASS New England Graduate Student Essay Prize.

2004-2005 Richard Franke Interdisciplinary Fellowship, Yale University.