Our Research

Goal & Mission

Our goal is to quantify the United States' changing attitude and foreign policy towards Russian over the established time period for the study of the authors.


The American public reads novels by foreign authors to gain an intimate perspective of foreign societies—views unavailable through domestic media. International and domestic political concerns guide the United States’ public interest in foreign literature. However, different foreign authors often provide opposing viewpoints of their societies. The most popular works form a selective base of foreign literature that potentially accommodates elites’ self-serving political biases. Understanding public intent and attitude requires knowing why certain novels and authors seem representative of a cultural canon. To become a better-informed political citizen of the United States, one must think critically about the uses of foreign literature.

We are conducting a low-constraint case study of Russian literature to address our reserach question: Did the reception of Russian novels and authors in the United States and United States foreign policy toward Russia reflect each other from 1900-1923? We hypothesize that the reception of Russian literature in the United States significantly correlates with United States policies toward Russia, due to inherent ties between literary evaluation and political understanding. Scholars, politicians, and other government officials will likely take interest in our study.

Our research aims to provide new insight into how the United States receives foreign authors and novels and how this reception relates to US foreign policy. Our anticipated results are vital to a recent development in the humanities known as the globalization of American literary studies. Foreign novels are an inherent part of United States culture and if one were to ignore the presence of foreign literature in United States politics, then one would be ignoring a major factor that shaped both the citizens and government of the United States.

For more information, please go to the documents page and download our proposal!

Our Timeline

Spring 2012

  • Complete team website
  • Continue literature review
  • Begin scanning periodicals into constructed Russian literature database
  • Begin annotating Russian literature database and select metadata to capture
  • Begin coordination with MITH and start to familiarize team with methods of constructing and analyzing databases
  • Attempt to automate metadata collection
Summer 2012
  • Continue scanning and annotation of Russian literature database
Fall 2012
  • Prepare for and present at Junior Colloquium
  • Determine methods by which to quantify American foreign policies
  • Begin construction of Foreign attitude / policy database
Spring 2013
  • Present at Undergraduate Research Day
  • Being drafting team thesis
Summer 2013
  • Continue to draft team thesis
Fall 2013
  • Obtain feedback for our thesis paper from Dr. Mallios
  • Gather data regarding American foreign policy toward Russia
  • Draw conclusions regarding the relationship between American foreign policies and reception of Russian literature
Winter 2013-14
  • Prepare presentation for Thesis Conference
  • Revise and edit team thesis
Spring 2014
  • Present at Senior Thesis Conference