Member News and Projects

April 21, 2022

Dr Katherine Bowers

Centre for European Studies Director and Associate Professor, CENES

Dr Katherine Bowers has published her first monograph, Writing Fear: Russian Realism and the Gothic. The book was printed last week and is now available from the University of Toronto Press website:

About the book:

In Russia, gothic fiction is often seen as an aside – a literary curiosity that experienced a brief heyday and then disappeared. In fact, its legacy is much more enduringpersisting within later Russian literary movements. Writing Fear explores Russian literature’s engagement with the gothic by analysing the practices of borrowing and adaptation. Katherine Bowers shows how these practices shaped literary realism from its romantic beginnings through the big novels of the 1860s and 1870s to its transformation during the modernist period.

Bowers traces the development of gothic realism with an emphasis on the affective power of fear. She then investigates the hybrid genre’s function in a series of case studies focused on literary texts that address social and political issues such as urban life, the woman question, revolutionary terrorism, and the decline of the family. By mapping the myriad ways political and cultural anxiety take shape via the gothic mode in the age of realism, Writing Fear challenges the conventional literary history of nineteenth-century Russia.


Writing Fear is a rich and innovative study that reinterprets the Russian realist tradition by tracing the pervasive presence of gothic thematics and aesthetics throughout the period that we usually perceive as more ‘modern’ and socially focused and thus unconcerned with the fantastic, gothic, or sublime. This is a major contribution to Russian literary studies, as well as studies of realism and the gothic more generally.”

Valeria Sobol, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

“The scholarship presented here is excellent. Writing Fear demonstrates a striking depth and breadth of reading not only of secondary literature but also of the various primary texts it discusses. Katherine Bowers impressively brings together works from the Russian, British, and other European traditions to offer comparative readings of the exploitation of gothic imagery, preoccupations, and plots in order to throw new light on the interpretation of these works. This text will become essential reading for courses on Russian literature and the gothic, and is just as valuable in terms of its studies of individual authors and works.”

Claire Whitehead, Reader in Russian, University of St Andrews


April 19, 2022

Dr Markus Hallensleben

CES Faculty Affiliate and Associate Professor, CENES

Markus Hallensleben and Elizabeth Nijdam (co-investigator) have received a SSHRC Connection Grant for a Workshop on Decolonizing and Indigenizing European and Migration Studies through Indigenous Storywork Methodologies. Collaborators are Maria Jose Athie Martinez (EDCP), Dorothee Leesing (CENES) and David Gaertner (FNIS), co-sponsored by CES, CMS, CENES, Humboldt University, Berlin (Regina Römhild), and the University of Potsdam (Anja Schwarz and Nicole Waller). It is also part of the Research Group on Narratives and will centre Jo-ann Archibald Q’um Q’um Xiiem’s educational storywork methodologies.

This workshop will take place from August 29 to September 1, 2022, at the Liu Institute of Global Studies and the Centre for Migration Studies. Participation will be by invitation only. More details to come!


April 13, 2022

Dr. Gaoheng Zhang

CES Advisory Board Member and Assistant Professor of Italian Studies

For his study leave during the academic year 2022-23, Dr. Gaoheng Zhang will work on a book project tentatively titled “Scrambles for East Africa: Public Perceptions and Cultural Debates between China, Western Europe, and East Africa.” The Belt and Road Initiative is China’s most ambitious development strategy and governance project. While the empirical details of technological and economic change can be documented in other kinds of sources, the media becomes a nexus for the jockeying for global significance and reputation, especially through covering issues related to economic development and environment. Deploying theoretical tools from mobilities and postcolonial studies, the study dissects case studies from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, and Tanzania in order to shape an argument about the Chinese media’s intersection of commercial, capital, workforce, knowledge, and media mobilities and about the Italian, French, and British media’s focus on various aspects of mal d’Afrique, including neocolonialism, environmental degradation, and labour exploitation. To assist him with this project, Dr. Zhang has received a UBC Killam Faculty Research Fellowship from the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Fund for Advanced Studies and a Jean Monnet Fellowship based at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute.