Kate Pickering (Antonova)
I am originally from Holland, Michigan, where I used to dance in wooden shoes for tourists during the annual Tulip Festival. In high school, I was a Rotary exchange student to Norway for a year, where I learned to knit and to appreciate the winter Olympics, but failed to learn to ski.
I am now a Ph.D. Candidate at Columbia University, where I study cultural and institutional Russian history, especially in the early nineteenth century. I have been obsessed with this period since college, when I read De Madariaga's book on Catherine the Great's reign, then Barbara Engel's book about radical women terrorists of the 1870s, and wondered what happened in between, especially with women.
Though I recently married a Russian emigre (and fellow history student), I am Dutch and English by ancestry. I remember thinking the cyrillic alphabet was beautiful when I was five, and have been fascinated by all things Russian ever since. I was lucky enough to go to college at the University of Chicago, where I was able to take courses with historians Richard Hellie and Sheila Fitzpatrick; it was at this point that I realized there was a way I could do this for the rest of my life.
During my Fulbright year I will be studying the private papers of provincial families in various archives in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ivanovo, and perhaps another provincial city, for my dissertation, "Women, Domesticity and Nationality in the Russian Gentry, 1812-1856."
I lived in St. Petersburg for nine months in '98-'99, during the Financial Crisis, and have been in Moscow for a month, in addition to some shorter trips back to Piter. I'm looking forward during my Fulbright year to getting acquainted with Russia beyond the capitals. In the picture shown here, I'm holding the only edible mushrooms I managed to find on my first trip to the Russian forest za gribami.