Open Access Dostoevsky Scholarship

Ongoing 2020. This research was financially supported by the Institute for European Studies.

Project Name:

Open Access Dostoevsky Scholarship


Dr. Katherine Bowers (Associate Professor, CENES) (PI)

Research Assistant: Dorothee Leesing (PhD Candidate, CENES)


$3500 (112 hours of RA support from mid-August to mid-October)


A substantial portion of Dr. Bowers recent research has focused on Dostoevsky’s works, and, in particular, in engagement with the broader Dostoevsky studies community through public outreach and open access initiatives. Some of these have included a 2016 SSHRC Connection Grant-supported outreach project and conference marking the sesquicentenary of the novel Crime and Punishment, a 2016 digital library exhibit focused on Dostoevsky’s life and works, a 2018 co-edited volume devoted to Dostoevsky teaching and learning materials, since 2015 the editorship of the scholarly blog The Bloggers Karamazov, and, most recently, the development of a new website for the International and North American Dostoevsky Societies.


The IES’s Summer Research Support paid for a graduate Research Assistant who helped Dr. Bowers finish two specific open access resources related to these initiatives: the technical and editorial tasks related to creating a searchable online Dostoevsky bibliography and the technical and administrative tasks related to depositing and disseminating the SSHRC Connection Grant conference talk video recordings. For the first part of the project, the graduate RA downloaded scanned pdfs of the back issues of the Dostoevsky Bulletin (1973-1978) and Dostoevsky Studies (1980-2017) from Hathi Trust and used an OCR application to create plain text files of the “Current Bibliography” of each from 1973-2017. The RA checked the files, then passed them on to an RA employed by the University of Toronto Library (a partner on the project) who will construct the database. The bibliography will eventually become a valuable resource and record of the field available to Dostoevsky scholars and the public via the International Dostoevsky Society website. For the second part of the project, the graduate RA converted, edited, and prepared 31 raw video files from the Crime and Punishment at 150 conference. These files are now ready to upload to UBC’s institutional repository once the documentation for each is finalized. The video collection will be housed on UBC’s cIRcle repository and available open access, linked via the conference website, the IDS website, and library catalogues worldwide.


While the work completed on these projects seems mundane, in both cases, the progress made thanks to the IES Summer Research Support grant was substantial. Both projects had been inactive for years due to a lack of resources. Jumpstarting them this summer/fall is an important investment in the broader field of Dostoevsky studies. The conference video collection includes a number of talks featuring new directions for considering Dostoevsky’s novel that are shaping the field today. This collection will help disseminate these approaches and make them widely available, enabling scholars who did not attend the conference to also engage with its ideas. While this project focuses on recent developments, the bibliography project looks at the history of our field more broadly as described in the “Current Bibliography” historically and meticulously kept by the late June Pachuta Farris and preserves it in a searchable, easy to access format for generations to come.