Department ofGermanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures



May 13, 2024

Please see this exciting story about a recent graduate who recently completed a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Austria!

April 1, 2024

James is a Germanic linguist, specializing in variationist sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, and second language acquisition. One of his current research projects focuses on intensification in Germanic languages (modern and historical), a project which involves an examination of how intensifying adverbs develop over time and how linguistic and social factors influence their use. A second major project aims to extend the use of variationist methods to the study of underrepresented speech communities and languages. He received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from Purdue University in 2022 and will be coming to Penn State from the University of British Columbia where he served as an Assistant Professor in the department of English Language and Literatures. He has a forthcoming book, Expanding variationist sociolinguistic research in varieties of German, and looks forward to opening a sociolinguistic research lab at Penn State.

James Stratton headshot
March 27, 2024

April 18, 2024

Please join us for the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures for our annual awards ceremony. In person in the Garden Room at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on April 18 at 3:00pm. We will recognize undergraduate and graduate student awardees for the Spring Semester as well as our Alumni Award winner Madhury Ray. (Class of 2004)
_Awards Invitation 2024
February 26, 2024


On Saturday, February 24, members of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures joined State College community members in a rally for Ukraine to mark the second-year anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine and ten years since the Russian occupation of Crimea and part of the Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine. Speakers included Ezra Nanes, the mayor of State College, Oleksandr Kodola, the mayor of State College’s sister city in Ukraine, Nyzhin, Igor Latsanych, President of the Penn State Ukrainian Student Society and Svitlana Jones, local community member and organizer of the event.

February 22, 2024

Professor Michael M. Naydan, Woskob Family Professor of Ukrainian Studies at The Pennsylvania State University, has just been awarded the Outstanding Contribution to the Profession Award by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and E. European Languages (AATSEEL). The award was conferred on Prof. Naydan at the national convention of the organization on February 16, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  


The award is given “to individuals at any stage in their career whose scholarly and administrative leadership, collaboration, and/or mentoring has had a significant impact on the profession, especially in terms of opening up and sustaining new directions and new opportunities for our scholarship and our teaching and/or bringing the insights of our field to new audiences.” In conferring the award, the President of AATSEEL Prof. Gabriella Saffron of Stanford University noted: “The many submissions nominating Michael for this award laud his collegiality, collaborativeness, mentorship of junior scholars, generosity, ‘willingness to take on hard work for a good cause,’ and the ‘low profile, encouraging, mild-mannered,’ and consistent support he has given to others.” He was particularly pleased to receive the award in the presence of two of his former MA students at Penn State, both originally from Ukraine: Dr. Olha Tytarenko (now a Senior Lector at Yale University) and Dr. Olesia Wallo (now an Associate Professor at the University of Kansas).

Prof. Naydan received his B.A. (1973) and M.A. (1975) from The American University and his Ph.D. from Columbia University (1984). He has taught at The Pennsylvania State University since 1988 after previously teaching at Yale University from 1982-1986 and at Rutgers University from 1986-1988. He became Woskob Family Professor of Ukrainian Studies at Penn State in 2007 following a large donation by the Woskob Family for the promotion of Ukrainian studies at Penn State. Over the course of his career, he has distinguished himself as both a translator and scholar, who has published more that 40 books of translations with critical introductions. Additionally, he has published 40+ articles and 80+ translations in literary journals and anthologies. Some of his translated, co-translated, and edited books include: Selected Poetry of Bohdan Ihor Antonych: Ecstasies and Elegies (Bucknell UP, 2024, paperback reprint), My Final Territory: Selected Essays of Yuri Andrukhovych (U of Toronto P, 2023, paperback reprint – co-translated with Mark Andryczyk), Zelensky: A Biography (Polity Books, 2022 – co-translated with Alla Perminova), Maria Matios’ novel Sweet Darusya: A Tale of Two Villages and Yuri Vynnychuk’s novel Tango of Death (both with Spuyten Duyvil Publishers in 2019 and co-translated with Olha Tytarenko), Abram Terz’s Strolls with Pushkin and Journey to the River Black  (Columbia UP, 2016) co-translated with Slava Yastremski, Olha Tytarenko, and Maria Badanova, Herstories: An Anthology of New Ukrainian Women Prose Writers (Glagoslav Publishers, 2014 with multiple co-translators), Yuri Andrukhovych’s novel Perverzion and Igor Klekh’s Ukrainian-themed short stories A Land the Size of Binoculars (both with Northwestern UP 2005-6 – the latter co-translated with Slava Yastremski. He has earned the Translation Prize from the American Association of Ukrainian Studies three times and the George S.N. Luckyj Prize in Ukrainian Literature Translation in 2013 from the Canadian Foundation for Ukrainian Studies. His selected literary criticism was published in Ukrainian under the title From Hohol to Andrukhovych: Selected Literary Essays (Piramida Publishers, 2017). His novel about the city of Lviv Seven Signs of the Lion appeared in English with Glagoslav Publishers in 2016 and in the Ukrainian translation of Marianna Prokopovych with Piramida Publishers in 2017. He has served as editor of Slavic and E. European Journal (1993 to 1999)  and has been mentor to a number of graduate students who have gone on for Ph.D.s and careers in the Slavic field, including Olha Tytarenko (teaching at Yale U.), Olesia Wallo (teaching at U. of Kansas), Oksana Husieva (teaching at the Monterey Language Institute), Roman Ivashkiv (teaching at the U. of Alabama), Oksana Lushchevska (Ph.D. U. of Georgia with whom he has co-translated ten Ukrainian children’s books), and several others.  He has also worked closely with a number of undergraduate students who have gone on to graduate study in various fields and law school, or to work in the U.S. government and for NGOs. He completed one of his book-length translations, Nikolai Gumilev’s Africa (Glagoslav Publishers, 2018), with undergraduate student Maria Badanova, who has continued her Ph.D. studies at the Max Planck School of Cognition in Leipzig, Germany. Prof. Naydan has been a Fulbright scholar in Lviv, Ukraine twice, has been designated a Senior Fulbright Scholar over the past three years, and has hosted over 40 Fulbright scholars, mostly from Ukraine and Romania, at Penn State.

October 13, 2023

CEN SP24 RUS 197 Georgia Embedded Program Flyer


This one-credit embedded course in Georgia provides a one-week immersion
in Georgian culture combined with lectures on Georgian history and
contemporary politics, including the long history of Georgian-Russian lovehate
relations. The program includes a tour of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, and
its surroundings; key museums and monasteries, interaction with local
students, a cooking class, calligraphy workshop, day trips to Kakheti and
Kazbegi, a visit to a Georgian sulfur bath, and more!
This program is open to students taking any Russian course in the spring
2024 semester (RUS 2, RUS 100, RUS 142, RUS 200, RUS 403, RUS 420).
Students participating in the embedded program will be manually enrolled in a
1-credit travel course, RUS 197.
This program is led by Dr. Irina Mikaelian ( and Dr. Yuliya
Ladygina (

October 3, 2023

Sydney McQuiggan, who graduated with a B.A. in German in August 2023, and Megan Wadas, a current Ph.D. student in German linguistics/applied linguistics, were selected to participate in the Fulbright U.S. Teaching Assistant Program for 2023-2024. As part of this program, they will teach English in Austrian secondary schools. Megan will live and teach in Feldkirch, located in the western Austrian province of Vorarlberg. Sydney will live and teach in Gmünd, located near the German border in the province of Lower Austria. Both Sydney and Megan recently completed their orientation week and will begin teaching soon! Congratulations to Sydney and Megan for receiving these competitive awards and we wish them a rewarding year abroad!




September 25, 2023

On Thursday, September 14, the screening of a unique Ukrainian documentary film A Rising Fury (2022, Ukraine) took place at The State Theatre, University Park, followed by a master class on filming in hostile environments for the students in Film and Media Studies, Bellisario College (class of Catharine Axley). The State Theatre distributed 123 tickets (free for sponsoring departments), and the audience fitting 544 seats appeared half full, at least from the stage: a remarkable success considering the modest advertising campaign.

A Rising Fury documents nine years of Russia’s war against Ukraine, from the Revolution of Dignity on the Maidan Square of Independence in Kyiv in 2013-2014, Russian annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea and part of Donbas in 2014, up to and including Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, with several trips to the front lines. The film director Lesya Kalynska (US-Ukraine) and producer T. J. Collins (US) were present during the Q&A session. The film was co-produced by Jonathan Borge Lie (Norway) and co-directed by Ruslan Batytsky (Ukraine).

The film was selected for 11 international festivals and received multiple awards, the latest being “Best Documentary,” “Best Film Director, and “Top Jury Award” at the Melbourn International Film Festival in Australia.

Left to right: Yelena Zotova, Lesya Kalynska, T. J. Collins, and State College Mayor Ezra Nanes opening the screening of A Rising Fury at The                                                                                        State Theatre, University Park, September 14, 2023. Photo credit: Yuliya Ladygina.

The proceeds from the ticket sales and direct donations are being split between two Ukrainian charities that make a difference: Dignitas Fund (Litai initiative) to help rehabilitate the wounded Ukrainian defenders, and Save Ukraine Foundation, to help return kidnapped Ukrainian children from Russia and accommodate the Ukrainian families affected by Russia’s war.

State College Mayor Ezra Nanes delivered an address to the audience before the screening, calling on them to stand firmly with Ukraine in its fight for freedom and democracy.

The filmmakers also attended Dr. Snyder’s talk on the Dilemmas of Democracy at The State Theatre on Monday, September 18, and engaged in a brief conversation with him. Both Snyder and Kalynska travelled from Ukraine just a few days ago and wore vyshyvankas, the embroidered Ukrainian national shorts, to the event. “I held back tears when [Dr. Snyder] spoke about Ukraine’s existential battle,” Kalynska reported.  








This screening and film workshop was spearheaded by Dr. Yelena Zotova, GSLL, and sponsored by the Woskob Endowement for Ukrainian Studies, The Penn State Ukrainian Society, Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, Department of Film and Media Studies, Bellisario College of Communication, Department of Journalism, Bellisario College of Communications, Humanities Institute, the Center for Global Studies, and Global and International Studies Program. The filmmakers thank Dr. Michael Naydan, Dr. Carrie Jackson, Dr. Maura Shea, Dr. Yulia Ladygina, Dr. Catherine Axley, Dr. John Affleck, Dr. John Christman, Dr. Krista Brune, Dr. Kaitlin Lovejoy, the student President of the Penn State Ukrainian Society Ihor Latsanych, GSLL staff William Whitesmith, and many more people who made this event possible.

Students readily provided their feedback, oral and written, to the film and class, commenting on what they have learned. Prior to watching the film, many students did not know that Crimea and Donbas were parts of Ukraine, and that the war lasts almost ten years by now. As one student put it, the experience of watching the film was “tough but real.”

Kalynska and Collins greatly enjoyed their stay at the University Park, finding the campus beautiful and the overall atmosphere inspiring. They were pleased to meet with multiple faculty members and students for meals, discussions, and brainstorming sessions. The topic that came up the most was that of the future: the future of Ukraine, the United States, and the world. “They asked how to stop Russia, how to stop this war.” Kalynska said. The filmmakers emphasized the importance of communicating with the Penn State students “as they are the people who will decide the world’s future.”


                                                                                 The filmmakers of A Rising Fury admire the Penn State campus pond. Photo credit: Lesya Kalynska