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Hongor Oulanoff Memorial Lecture

Annual Hongor Oulanoff Memorial Lectures on Russian Literature

Professor Hongor Oulanoff (1929-2010) was one of the founding professors of the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures at The Ohio State University, where he served from 1963 until his retirement in 1991. Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in a distinguished émigré family, he moved to Paris at the end of World War II. He graduated from the University of Paris with a Diplôme de License et lettres in Arabic Language and Literature and then spent two postgraduate years at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. In addition to his studies, he assisted his father, Badma Badmanovich Oulanoff, in efforts to better the lives of Kalmyk refugees in Western Europe who had fled Stalinist persecution; as a result of their petition to the Eisenhower administration, these refugees were allowed to immigrate to the U.S. in the 1950s.

After receiving his PhD in Russian Literature from Harvard University in 1960, Professor Oulanoff taught at Harvard (1960-1961) and at Vanderbilt University (1961-1963). When he became professor of Russian Literature at The Ohio State University in 1963, he was one of the youngest scholars ever to be appointed to the rank of full professor. A gentle, dedicated, caring teacher, Professor Oulanoff inspired many students with his love of Russian and Soviet literature and supervised several doctoral dissertations. His books The Serapion Brothers: Theory and Practice (Mouton 1966), and The Prose Fiction of Veniamin A. Kaverin (Slavica 1976) have become the standard works on these early Soviet writers. He has received many awards, including an Honorary Captain’s Gold Shield from the New York City Police Department. He was also in his ancestral land in 1990 at the 550th Year of Djangar Commemorative Festival in Elista, capital of the Autonomous Republic of Kalmykia in Russia. There he presented the University in Elista with his compilations of B. Kotvich’s linguistic work on the Kalmyk language, the only existing study at the time.

Professor Oulanoff and his wife Constance-Alexa have two sons, Hongor J. and Hendrik N. Oulanoff, and three grandchildren. Mrs. Oulanoff has generously endowed a fund to honor Professor Oulanoff’s memory and to perpetuate his devotion to Russian Literature through an annual lecture at The Ohio State University.

Past Lectures:


Dr. Harsha Ram

"Russia's First Anti-Imperialist Novel: Vasilii Narezhnyi's 'The Black Year, or the Mountain Princes'" 

Dr. Harsha Ram (University of California - Berkeley)



Dr. Michael Wachtel

"The National, the International, and the Supranational in Russian Poetry"

Dr. Michael Wachtel  (Princeton University)



Dr. Gabriella Safran (Stanford University)

"Dictionaries and Birds’ Nests in 19th-century Russia"

Dr. Gabriella Safran (Stanford University)



Dr. Stephanie Sandler (Harvard University)


"Russia Will Be Free: Recent Poems by Russian Women"

Dr. Stephanie Sandler I Harvard University



Dr. Serguei Oushakine (Princeton University)


"Soviet Things and Post-Soviet People: How to View Socialist History Now" 

Dr. Serguei Oushakine I Princeton University



Dr. Boris Wolfson (Amherst College)










“Suicide by Theater: The Force of Performance in Bulgakov’s World”

Dr. Boris Wolfson I Amherst College



Dr. Michael Finke


"Pleonastic Pilnyak"

Dr. Michael Finke | University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign



Dr. Jenny Kaminer


“Her Life’s Sacrifice’: The Abandoning Mother as Positive Role Model in the Soviet 1920s”

Dr. Jenny Kaminer | University of California, Davis



Dr. Andrea Lanoux


“What Was Soviet Children’s Literature and Why Won’t It End”

Dr. Andrea Lanoux | Connecticut College



Dr. Galya Diment


“Masters and Servants: Upstairs and Downstairs in Vladimir Nabokov’s Russian and English Writings”

Dr. Galya Diment | University of Washington



Dr. Mark Lipovetsky


"Ostap Bender as the King of Soviet Tricksters”

Dr. Mark Lipovetsky | University of Colorado, Boulder



Dr. Brian Baer


"Translation as Trope in Contemporary Russian Literature: Where Postmodern Meets Post-Soviet”

Dr. Brian James Baer | Kent State University



Dr. Marina Balina


"Veniamin Kaverin and the Birth of the Soviet Adolescent Novel"

Dr. Marina Balina | Illinois Wesleyan University