Sara Pankenier Weld

Associate Professor of Russian
Affiliate of Comparative Literature

Office Location

Phelps 6323


Sara earned her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures and a Ph.D. Minor in Comparative Literature and Scandinavian at Stanford University in 2006. She received a B.A. in Comparative Literature and a Minor in Russian Literature at Dartmouth College in 1998.


Sara Pankenier Weld specializes in Russian literature, comparative literature, and Scandinavian literature; modernism and avant-garde literature, art, and theory; Russian literary theory; word and image studies; and childhood studies, children’s literature, and picturebooks.

Her comparative and interdisciplinary interests are wide-ranging, but oftentimes childhood, infancy, and the infantile figure centrally within her research, whether this interest takes her scholarship into literature, culture, history, art, and film; nineteenth-century classics, modernism, and the avant-garde; or children's literature and picturebooks.

Sara has taught at UCSB since 2012. Her teaching encompasses Russian literature and culture, comparative literature, and children's literature. Previously she taught at the selective liberal arts colleges Bard, Wellesley, and Dartmouth College, as well as at Stanford University.

In support of her research, she has received a Friends of the Princeton University Library Research Grant, Hellman Family Faculty Fellowship, a Dickey Center Postdoctoral Fellowship, and a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, as well as other travel and research grants.

At Stanford University, her teaching was recognized by a Gerald J. Lieberman Fellowship in the Humanities and a Centennial Teaching Award.


Sara's research interests include nineteenth and twentieth-century Russian literature, comparative literature, world literature, and Scandinavian literature; modernism and avant-garde literature, art, and theory; Russian literary theory; word and image studies; childhood studies, children’s literature, and picturebooks.


Sara's first book Voiceless Vanguard: The Infantilist Aesthetic of the Russian Avant-Gardean interdisciplinary study of Russian literature, art, and theory, was published in 2014 by Northwestern University Press as part of its Studies in Russian Literature and Theory series and supported by the Mellon Slavic Studies Initiative. It received the International Research Society for Children's Literature (IRSCL) Book Award in 2015. It was also on the long list for the 2016 Historia Nova Prize for Best Book on Russian Intellectual and Cultural History and was nominated for the 2016 American Association for Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) 2016 Best Book in Literary/Cultural Studies. It has been reviewed by Slavic Review, The Russian Review, Modern Language Review, International Research in Children's Literature, and Barnboken- Journal of Children's Literature Research.

Sara's second book, An Ecology of the Russian Avant-Garde Picturebookswhich mounts a close analysis of image and text in little-known picturebooks by prominent Russian writers, artists, and intellectuals, was published in 2018 by John Benjamins as volume 9 in the Children's Literature, Culture, and Cognition series.

In 2015 Sara published a chapter in the volume Children's Literature and the Avant-Garde edited by Elina Druker and Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer, which won the Children's Literature Association (ChLA) Edited Book Award in 2017 and the IRSCL Edited Book Award in 2017.

Sara also has published numerous articles or chapters on a variety of Russian writers and artists, including Sergei Eisenstein, Osip Mandelstam, Vladimir Nabokov, Daniil Kharms, Leo Tolstoy, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Vladimir Lebedev, Marina Tsvetaeva, and Maxim Gorky. These have appeared in the journals Slavic Review, Slavic and East European Journal, and Russian Language Journal, as well as in foreign publications like Scando-Slavica, Tidskrift för litteraturvetenskapDetskie chteniia, and Nedslag i børnelitteraturforskningen

In 2018-2019, Sara is a guest researcher in comparative literature at the Department of Culture and Aesthetics at Stockholm University in Stockholm, Sweden, where she is working on a book on Nabokov's Children, which investigates the uses of childhood in Nabokov's texts.


C LIT 210 "Proseminar in Comparative Literature"

C LIT 200 "Russian Formalism, Semiotics, and Bakhtin"

C LIT 100 "Introduction to Comparative Literature"

C LIT 128A "Children's Literature"

C LIT 188 "Literature and Exile"

C LIT 189 "First-Person Narrative: Childhood and Autobiography"

SLAV 117G Major Russian Writers: Dostoevsky

SLAV 117J Major Russian Writers: Bulgakov

SLAV 117I Major Russian Writers: Nabokov

SLAV 124: Twentieth-Century Russian Poetry

SLAV 35: Short Fiction by Major Russian, East European & Eurasian Writers