Dr. Kirjanov received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University and taught Russian literature, culture, and all levels of Russian language at Knox College and the University of Pennsylvania before coming to the University of New Haven. Making language come alive through cultural experience is a primary goal in her classes. To this end, students learn Russian by doing Russian: singing Russian songs, cooking and eating together, participating in hands-on workshops, watching films, taking field trips to Russian-speaking venues and reading and translating the Russian media. As a translator of Russian literary and professional texts herself, she teaches her students the fundamentals of translation with the goal of equipping them with practical and marketable skills. She has traveled to Russia several times for research and has supervised numerous language and cultural immersion programs for students.
Her research interests in language pedagogy include Russian for heritage learners, curricular development for teaching Russian for the professions, and the use of children’s literature, cartoons, and popular songs in the intermediate classroom. She is also engaged in research on the interplay between culture and Russian literature of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries and has participated in national and international conferences. Her book, The Poetics of Memory in the Works of Anton Chekhov, focuses on how modes of memory in Chekhov’s plays and prose relate to social, religious, and philosophical trends in Russian culture of the late 19th and early 20thcenturies. The connections between this period and the Russian-speaking Diaspora of post-revolutionary Russia have informed her current research on memoir literature by Russian émigré writers who immigrated to the United States after World War II.