Melinda Whalen is a recipient of the Academic Year 2021-2022 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. The award provides undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students with financial support to develop fluency in less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) and expertise in the regions in which these languages are spoken. Click here to learn more.
I am currently a third-year undergraduate pursuing a BA in History: War and Society and in Russian language, literature, and culture. My studies thus far have primarily focused on the development of Communism and culture in Soviet Russia and Eastern Europe during the pre-war, WWII, and postwar periods.
By continuing to learn Russian, I steadily move toward my goal of being able to analyze original Soviet documents and Russian sources to use in my research on the adaptations of language and identity during times of crisis. Additionally, a crucial component of my research is to experience Russian culture by living in Russia and personally interviewing Russian people; for this purpose, a strong command of the language is essential.
Throughout my career, I will work to dispel the lingering Cold War animosity between America and Russia by challenging the xenophobic stereotypes and longstanding assumptions that surround Russian culture.