Graduate Student Association

Slavic Graduate Student Association (SGSA)

The SGSA is a registered student organization created to support graduate students in the Slavic Languages and Literatures Department. The group also hosts scholars from other institutes in the field of Slavic Studies for speaking occasions, as well as hosting various social events.


  • President –
  • Vice President – August Hagemann
  • Treasurer –
  • Faculty Liaison – Brian Yang

Upcoming Event


Shifting Grounds: Changing Models of Nature in the Former Soviet Sphere  

 2022 Slavic Graduate Student Association Conference  

April 15-16, 2022  

 Urbana, IL

Conference program!!!

Update #2: Deadline for abstract submissions extended to February 25. 

Update: Due to the on-going complications of COVID-19 the SGSA has decided to move the conference online.  

The Slavic Graduate Students Association (SGSA) in conjunction with the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, the Russian East European and Eurasian Center, and the History Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign invites submissions of presentation proposals from scholars across disciplines to this year’s conference, titled “Shifting Grounds: Changing Models of Nature in the Former Soviet Sphere.” We invite all professors, graduate students, and professionals to submit papers related to our topic for consideration.   

 This interdisciplinary conference is intended to explore the movement of disparate models of nature as they circulate through and coalesce into larger ideas about Post-Soviet and Eurasian existence. Political models of nature found in Soviet ecology hold continued relevance in our current age: any study of Eurasian histories or culture reveals itself as cut through by long environmental and geographic shifts—the plainest example being the pairing of colonization and conquest with large-scale terraforming projects. In the early days of the Soviet Union, an ascent public ecological consciousness allowed for the development of environmental conservation laws as early as 1928. Just a decade later, geologist Vladimir Vernadsky would popularize the concept of the noosphere in natural science, theorizing the mutual relationship between human cognition and earth’s systems as a “sphere of reason” in his seminal work Scientific Thought as a Planetary Phenomenon. Presently, environmental activism is once again resurgent in the FSU. The emergence of grassroots protest groups and interregional “green coalitions,” has heightened public awareness regarding regional inequalities, with emphasis being placed on the continued exploitation of indigenous lands by governmental and corporate interests. As climate change and environmental injustice takes a toll on Northern indigenous populations, how can we synthesize these historical threads and point towards new models of Post-Soviet ecologies?  

 We are also excited to announce that our keynote speaker for this conference is Dr. Pey-Yi Chu, associate professor of History, from Pomona College. Dr. Chu specializes in the history of science and the environmental history of Russian and the Soviet Union. In her latest book The Life of Permafrost: A History of Frozen Earth in Russian and Soviet Science, Dr. Chu maps out the history of scientific inquiries of permafrost and how it contributed to modern environmental discourse.   

We look forward to seeing you!




Recent Events

Program and flyer for the 2017 conference, "A Century of Revolution: Culture, Politics, and People"

Program and flyer for the 2016 conference, "Decentering Russia: Challenging the Boundaries"