Katia McClain

Katia McClain

Office Location

Phelps 6319


I am interested in the culture of Russia and Eastern Europe, particularly the languages, literatures and folkloric traditions, and their representation in the West. The culture is rich and varied. Why has it frequently been portrayed in the West as impoverished and monolithic?

My teaching and research focuses on how different aspects of the culture (language, literature, gender, identity, ethnicity, belief systems) of the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Eurasia and Russia can be understood in their original contexts and how they are portrayed in the West. I explore the construction of discourse and narrative in both a linguistic and socio-cultural sense. The development of language and how it is transmitted (language acquisition/language pedagogy) is also important to me.

I teach first year Russian, survey courses on Russian literature, and courses on diverse topics including women's literature in Russia, language and cultural identity, ideology and representation, science fiction in Eastern Europe, and folk tales. In my course, “On the Margins,” we explore different marginalized populations in Eastern Europe, including the LGBTQ and Romani communities.


Recent publications/presentations:

  • "Language for Specific Purposes: Bulgarian for Folklorists." 2020. Presented at the AATSEEL Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • "'It's nowhere special': Representations of Eastern Europe in Avengers: Age of Ultron." 2019. Slayage: The Journal of the Whedon Studies Association 17.1 (49), Winter / Spring 2019
  • "Joss Whedon's The Avengers: Age of Ultron: 'Sokovia...it's nowhere special'." 2018. Presented at SCW8: The 8th Biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, Florence, AL.
  • "The challenges of integrating communicative and task-based learning with available materials: an example from Bulgarian." 2017. Presented at the AATSEEL Conference, San Francisco, CA.
  • "Representations of the Roma in Buffy and Angel," 2017, Joss Whedon and Race. Mary Ellen Iatropoulos and Lowery A. Woodall III (eds.), Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, pp. 127-149.
  • "Kemerovo, Soviet Union and a Lifetime Commitment to Socialism." 2012. Presented at the Seventeenth International Oral History Conference: The Challenges of Oral History in the 21st Century: Diversity, Inequality and Identity Construction, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • "Jenny Calendar: Cultural stereotypes and Erasure." 2012. Presented at SC5: The Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • "Angel vs. The Grand Inquisitor: Joss Whedon re-imagines Dostoevsky," 2010. The Literary Angel: Essays on Influences and Traditions Reflected in the Joss Whedon Series. AmiJo Comeford and tamy Burnett (eds.), Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, pp. 130-146.
  • “Freedom from suffering or freedom to suffer: Joss Whedon re-imagines Dostoevsky.” 2008. Presented at SC3: The Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, Arkadelphia, AR.
  • “Re-imagining the Buffyverse: Buffy/Giles Fanfiction.” 2006. Presented at the SC2: The Slayage Conference on the Whedonverse, Barnesville, GA.
  • “Emergent discourse Pragmatics in Bulgarian.” 2004. Presented at the Balkan and South Slavic Conference Conference, Oxford, MI.
  • “Buffy Slays Walt Disney.” 2004. Presented at the Slayage Conference, Nashville, TN.
  • “Verbal Categories in Bulgarian: Evidence from Acquisition.” 2001. Of All the Slavs My Favorites: Studies in South Slavic and Balkan Linguistics in Honor of Howard I. Aronson on the Occasion of his 66th Birthday. Victor A. Friedman and Donald L. Dyer (eds). Bloomington, Indiana: Slavica, pp. 293-308.
  • “The Politics of Discourse in the U.S. Media Coverage of Eastern Europe”. 1999.  International Politics, vol. 36, n. 2, pp. 159-178.