Research Projects

Student Scholarship Recognition Day (SSRD) is held each spring to celebrate the exemplary scholarship and creativity of Willamette University students. Students work directly with faculty members or design and conduct their own research throughout the year.

Featured Projects

Here are a few projects that exemplify the wonderful research students from the Russian department have done over the years.

Abstract: In this presentation I examine Dostoevsky's approach to disability and the crossover between disability literature and Dostoevsky's work "Idiot". I show how he was ahead of his time and avoids many tropes that modern disability studies finds problematic by analyzing the "Idiot" and putting it into conversation with modern disability studies criticism.

Landry Ferguson (2019)

Abstract: This presentation is on the Carson Research Grant project (of the same name) completed in the summer of 2018. Mikhail Lermontov's poem "Demon" is analyzed in regards to the Romantic tradition and queer theory, brought to a rather new domain by examining the original Russian text. The mythology and symbology of the demonic and divine, the binaries of good/evil, male/female, and straight/queer, and the weight of queer theory in Romantic literature are brought forward and examined.

Jay Hadfield (2019)

Abstract: Doestoevsky is one of the primary thinkers within the school of Christian Existentialism. Dostoevsky's depictions of illness in conjunction with transformative religious experience strike a parallel thought with one of the other great thinkers within Christian Existentialism, in Soren Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard's leap of faith can be understood using Dostoevsky's depictions of illness and insanity.

Donald Hagen (2019)

Additional Research Projects

These are all the projects the Russian department has presented at SSRD in the last few years.


  • The Leap of Faith: A Christian Existentialist Analysis of Dostoevsky’s Depictions of Insanity and Religious Experience - Donald Hagen (Independent Research)
  • Feminism in Dostoevsky - Grace DeLee (Independent Research)
  • Dostoevsky and Disability - Landry Ferguson (Independent Research)
  • Interpretations of Girard's Mimetic Theory: Love in the Underground - Evan Dilley (Thesis)
  • Spirit of Exile: Queer Identity and Romantic Tradition in Lermontov's Demon - Jay Hadfield (Independent Research)
  • The Petersburg Myth in Contemporary Russian Fiction - Amy Proctor
  • Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr: Friends, Foes and Foils - Cassidy Andrews
Willamette University

Russian Department

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Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
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