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Volha Isakava

Volha Isakava

Sessional Instructor (Slavic)

PhD Candidate U of Alberta
MA U of Alberta
BA (St. Petersburg State University, Russia)

Office Clearihue D244

Phone +1 250-721-7502

Fax +1 250-721-7319

Email visakava (at) uvic dot ca

Office hours M, R 12:30 -1:30 pm

I joined the Department of Germanic and Slavic as a Sessional Instructor in 2010. I have a background in philosophy and moved to Canada from Belarus to earn a PhD in Russian at the University of Alberta. My research interests include perestroika and contemporary Russian cinema, 20th and 21st century Russian literature, particularly Russian postmodernism. Recently I have been engaged in research on post-Soviet genre films, such as horror, and how they negotiate Hollywood conventions and post-Soviet identity. I am interested in the relationship of film and history, specifically how cinema reflects cultural transition and change.

Presently I am finishing a thesis on Russian “dark” films of the perestroika era – chernukha – or “black stuff.” I examine how these bleak and violent films address the time of radical change and channel (or not) its traumatic anxieties. My thesis compares Russian “black” movies to another cinema of crisis – American film noir.

I published in several academic journals; and contributed to the Encyclopedia of World Cinema, Russia and to KinoKultura – an online journal of Russian and post-Soviet cinema. I am a bit of a movie fanatic – I enjoy watching movies, discussing movies and writing about them.

Courses to be taught in 2011-2012

RUSS 100A A01 CRN 21768 Beginner's Russian I
RUSS 200A A01 CRN 11774 Intermediate Russian I
RUSS 261 A01 CRN 21775 Stalinism: Society and Culture
RUSS 304B A01 CRN 27404 Cinema in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Periods II
RUSS 315 A01 CRN 11782 Cinematic Art of Andrei Tarkovsky


Select publications

Isakava, Volha. “In Search of Authenticity: Space in Russian Horror Film.” Under consideration for Space and Culture Journal.

Directory of World Cinema, Russia. Ed. Birgit Beumers. London: Intellect, 2010.
Entries: directors Roman Balaian, Pavel Lungin, Juris Podnieks, Aleksandr Rogozhkin, Sergei Solov'ev; films ASSA (1988), Is It Easy to Be Young? (1988), Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (1989).

“The Body in the Dark: Body, Sexuality and Trauma in Perestroika Cinema.” Special issue of Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema. Issue 3 (2), 2009. 201-214.

“Postmodernism Revisited: The Seagull by Boris Akunin.Anton Pavlovich Chekhov. Poetics-Hermeneutics-Thematics. Ed. Douglas J. Clayton. Ottawa: Slavic Research Group, 2006. 267-286

“Body and Text: Notes on Prose by Vladimir Sorokin.” [Telo teksta: zametki o proze Vladimira Sorokina]. Vita Cogitans. Journal of the Faculty of Philosophy. Issue 3, 2003. 156-165. In Russian. URL:

Select lectures

In Search of Authenticity: Space and Time in Russian Horror Film. American Comparative Literature Association Congress 2011

This is No Way to Die: On-and Off-Screen Violence in Perestroika Cinema. American Association for Slavic, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies Convention 2010

Ethics of Representation and Chernukha Cinema. American Association for Advancement of Slavic Studies Convention  2009.                                             

Apocalypse According to Andrei: Tarkovsky's Use of Time and Space in The Sacrifice. Canadian Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting 2009

Sex, Crime and Videotape. Sexuality in the Cinema of Perestroika. Screened Sexuality: Desire in Russian, Soviet and post-Soviet Cinema. Columbia University 2008

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