Lynn Ellen Patyk

Academic Appointments

Associate Professor of Russian
Associate Editor, The Russian Review

I very broadly specialize in Russian Studies, which encompasses anything having to do with Russia. But my current interests revolve around political communication in its many forms and cultural representations. Increasingly I am intrigued by tactics and devices – that is, questions of formal method and technique involved in art and politics, and the way that these develop in specific media environments and technologies.

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My research has engaged deeply with the Russian revolutionary movement of the 19th and early 20th century and Russian literary culture; with Dostoevsky; and with political and artistic provocation in late Imperial and early Soviet Russia. I have written about Russian revolutionary terrorism from a variety of angles: gender and the body; celebrity and the media; the history of emotions (disappointment, regret, and compassion); and religion.  I am also interested in comparative Russia/U.S. studies. While our societies have been traditionally juxtaposed as polar opposites, there are many fascinating points of intersection, including the role of terrorism discourse and of the far-right media ecosystem as a conduit for Russian disinformation and propaganda.

The wellspring of my scholarly interests remains the 19th century literary tradition and Fyodor Dostoevsky. I love Dostoevsky for his vast range, his philosophical and spiritual depths, and his unparalleled insights into human psychology. But also for his thrill-a-minute plots and his diabolical sense of humor. He foresaw us, he understood us, and unless we human beings radically evolve, he will always be a contemporary.

Scholarly interests: political communication (terrorism, provocation, information warfare, conspiracy theories); film and media theory and history; Dostoevsky; comedy and comic performance

Favorite courses taught: Russ 35 Dostoevsky and the Problem of Evil; Russ 07 Who is the Terrorist; Russ 14 The Age of Brainwashing: The History of Russian and Soviet Cinema; Russ 38.10/COLT 63.02 Modern Conspiracy.

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211b Reed Hall
HB 6085
A.B. Middlebury College
M.A. Stanford University (Russian and East European Studies)
Ph.D. Stanford University (Slavic Languages and Literatures)

Selected Publications

"Little Big and the Viral Gesamtkunstwerk," in Studies in Russian and Soviet Film Vol. 15 Issue 3 October 2021

“Dostoevskian Provocation and the Provocateurs Karamazov" in Slavonic and East European Review,  99 (1) January 2021, 41-70

"The Return of 'Provokatsiia' in Putin-Era Russia" Russian Review 79 (1)  January 2020, 83-112

“Terrorism and Provocation in Bely’s Petersburg,” in Leonid Livak ed.  A Reader’s Guide to Andrei Bely’s Petersburg  (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019)

"On Disappointment in Terrorism, War, and Revolution: Boris Savinkov's What Didn't Happen and Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace" (The Russian Review, January 2018). 

“Dostoevsky’s Terrorism Trilogy” in Peter Herman ed. Critical Concepts: Terrorism ( Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Written in Blood: Revolutionary Terrorism and Russian Literary Culture, 1861-1881 (University of Wisconsin Press, 2017).

“The Age of Terrorism in the Age of Literature,” in Randall Law ed. The Routledge History of Terrorism  (Routledge, 2015).

"Fallen Women: The Female Terrorist and/as Prostitute in the Russian Literary Tradition” in Sylvia Schraut and Christine Hikel ed. Terrorismus, Geschlecht, Gedächtnis Campus Verlag, 2012.

The Byronic Terrorist: Boris Savinkov’s Literary Self-Mythologization” in Tony Anemone ed. Just Assassins? The Culture of Russian Terrorism Northwestern University Press, 2010.

"Dressed to Kill and Die: Terrorism, Gender, and Dress," Jahrbuecher for die Geschichte Ost Europas 58 (2010)

"Remembering 'the Terrorism': Sergei Stepniak-Kravchinsky's Underground Russia." Slavic Review (68) 4 Winter 2009.

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Works in progress

Dostoevsky's Provocateurs (forthcoming, Northwestern University Press, Spring 2023)

Raising Russia, Fighting Fear (book manuscript, estimated date of completion 2024)

Funny Dostoevsky, co-edited with Irina Erman (estimated date of completion 2023)