Molly T. Blasing

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  • Assistant Professor of Russian Studies
  • Director, Undergraduate Certificate in International Film Studies
  • University Senate (A&S Humanities Representative, 2020-2023)
  • International Film Studies
  • Modern & Classical Languages Literatures & Cultures
  • Russian Studies
  • Social Theory
  • International Studies
1053 Patterson Office Tower
(859) 218-5337
Research Interests:

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A.B. cum laude, Russian Literature and Culture, Harvard University, 2002

M.A. Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006

Ph.D Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2014


Professor 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.  Dr. Blasing's research on this topic has been supported by grants from the Fulbright Program and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Snapshots of the Soul: Photo-Poetic Encounters in Modern Russian Culture (forthcoming from Cornell University Press)

Snapshots of the Soul: Photo-Poetic Encounters in Modern Russian Culture asks what compels a poet to turn to a photograph as the subject of a poem, as material for a metaphor, or as the structural framework for a poem.  The book considers how the development of photography has shaped poetic writing in Russian from the early twentieth century to the present day.  While much has been written on the impact of photography on realist fiction and autobiographical narrative, this study’s explicit focus on poetry draws attention to a form of cultural production that speaks to long-standing anxieties about the threat visual culture poses to verbal culture. Drawing on theories of lyric and elegy, the social history of technology, and little-known materials from Russian archives, Snapshots of the Soul explores how encounters with photographs and photography intersect with poetic writing for a range of Russian-language poets, in emigration as well as in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia.  Through analysis of photography’s role in the creative worlds of Boris Pasternak, Marina Tsvetaeva, Joseph Brodsky and Bella Akhmadulina, as well as late and post-Soviet poets such as Andrei Sen-Senkov and Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, the book reveals how poets are drawn to the language, representational power, and metaphorical possibilities that photography offers.   The monograph consists of a substantial theoretical introduction, five chapters on major twentieth-century Russian poets and their writing on photography, and a coda that anticipates future directions in the digital context.  The book argues that poets who engage with photography in their writing are drawn to certain affinities and tensions that exist between the lyric and the snapshot.  At the same time, the book reveals that at the core of each poet’s approach to “writing the photograph” is an urge to ultimately demonstrate the superior ability of poetic language to capture and convey human experience.

Recent Courses

RUS 410G Russian for STEM

RUS 420G Madness in Russian Literature and Culture

RUS 275 Russian Film

RUS 372 Experiments in Life and Art: Russian Culture 1900-present

RUS 201 & 202 Intermediate Russian Language

Selected Publications: 

Blasing, Molly T. “Не сквернословь, отец мой: Anna Iablonskaya’s The Pagans and the Search for a Language of Authenticity” in New Drama in Russian: Performance, Politics and Protest, Ed. J.A.E. Curtis (Oxford University), Bloomsbury Academic, June 2020.

Блэсинг, М.Т. «Фотография как приём: О воображенном портрете Цветаевой в стихотворении «Клянусь» Б. Ахмадулиной» (Photograph as Device: On the Imagined Portrait of Tsvetaeva in B. Akhmadulina’s poem “I Swear”) in a forthcoming volume emerging from the 20th International Scholarly Conference on Marina Tsvetaeva, Moscow, Oct 7-10, 2017. In press (exp June 2020).

Blasing, Molly T., “Cvetaeva and the Visual Arts” in A Companion to Marina Cvetaeva, Ed. Sibelan Forrester. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2016. 

Блэсинг, М.Т. “Сквозь объектив утраты. Фото-интертекст цикла М.И. Цветаевой «Надгробие»” «Если душа родилась крылатой...» Материалы Седьмых Международных Цветаевских чтений. Под общей редакцией А.А.Деготькова. Елабуга: ЕлТИК, 2015. [Blasing, M. T. “Through the Lens of Loss: Photo-Intertext in M. I. Tsvetaeva’s Cycle ‘Tombstone’”) in “If the Soul Were Born with Wings”: Proceedings of the 7th International Tsvetaeva Conference, Publishing House ElTIK, Elabuga, Tatarstan, 2015.]

Blasing, Molly T., “Through the Lens of Loss: Marina Tsvetaeva’s Elegiac Photo-Poetics,” Slavic Review 73.1 (Spring 2014): 1-35.

Blasing, Molly T., Translation of Evgenii Grishkovets, How I Ate A Dog (excerpts) in Late and Post Soviet Literature: A Reader Vol. 1. Eds. Mark Lipovetsky and Lisa Ryoko Wakamiya, Academic Studies Press, 2014.

Blasing, Molly T., Translation of and critical essay on Andrei Sen-Sen'kov, Slomannye fotografii Dzhona Glessi (John Glassie’s Broken Photographs) in ULBANDUS XV: Seeing Texts, Columbia University, 2013.

Blasing, Molly T., “Second Language in Second Life: Exploring Interaction, Identity and Pedagogical Practice in a Virtual World.” Slavic and East European Journal 54.1 (Spring 2010): 96-117. 



“Polyphonic Transpositions: Pavel Arseniev’s Reported Speech,” invited book review for Reading in Translation, June 21, 2019. <>

“Akhmatova for a New Generation at Moscow’s Gogol Center,” review of “Akhmatova. Poema bez geroiia” by Kirill Serebrennikov and Alla Dimedova for Spotlight on Russia series, The Theatre Times, January 9, 2018. <

Review of Kat Hill Reischl, “Objective Authorship: Photography and Writing in Russia, 1905-1975”, (PhD dissertation, University of Chicago, 2013), Dissertation Reviews, November 17, 2014. <>

Review of Manon van de Water, Moscow Theatres for Young People: A Cultural History of Ideological Coercion and Artistic Innovation, 1917-2000, in the Slavic and East European Journal 51.4  (Winter 2007): 783-785.


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