I graduated in May of 2009 from the University of New Hampshire with a double major in Russian (concentrating in history and area studies) and linguistics. I spent the summer of 2008 in Moscow with an International Research Opportunity Program grant from UNH, during which I worked under the mentorship of Professors Cathy Frierson (UNH) and Vladimir Sedov (Moscow Architectural Institute). At that time I researched four major display projects (the Moscow metro, the All-Union Exhibition Center, the Seven Sisters, and the Palace of the Soviets) of the Stalinist era, tracing the evolution of each site and seeking explanations for why some projects continue to be emulated today, while others have fallen into ruin. I will continue to work with Professor Sedov during my Fulbright year, and hope to use, in addition to the Institute’s resources, the Shchusev State Museum of Architecture and other state-run and private archives.
It was with Professor Frierson’s urging and guidance that I first began studying Russian architecture. In the course of my research, I have fallen in love with the subject. Urban history is a study of representations and meanings, and is a topic to which I can bring both my interest in Russian culture and history, as well as in linguistics.
During my Fulbright year, I will be studying the social and cultural context of Muscovite architecture built prior to the death of Joseph Stalin. I will ask questions regarding the construction; why, for whom, were architectural projects undertaken? I will simultaneously investigate reception; how did Muscovites react to the changes to their built environment? How were the projects assimilated into the urban landscape, and how did citizens represent the architecture in popular culture? I greatly anticipate investigating these questions, and others, thanks to the generosity of the Fulbright program.