The Prokhorov Centre is directed by Evgeny Dobrenko and Henk de Berg in the University of Sheffield's School of Languages and Cultures.

Professor Evgeny Dobrenko

Professor Evgeny Dobrenko

Evgeny Dobrenko is Professor and Head of Russian and Slavonic Studies at the University of Sheffield.

His research interests lie in Soviet and post-Soviet literature and culture, Socialist Realism, Soviet national literatures, Russian and Soviet film, and critical theory. He is the author, editor, and co-editor of 20 books – most recently, A History of Russian Literary Theory and Criticism and The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century Russian Literature – and over 300 articles and essays, which have been translated into ten languages. Before joining the University of Sheffield, Evgeny Dobrenko worked in the Soviet Union (Odessa State University, Moscow State University, the Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow), the USA (Duke, Stanford, Amherst College, University of California), and in the UK at the University of Nottingham.

He has held a Stanford Humanities Centre Fellowship, a Karl Loewenstein Fellowship in Political Science and Jurisprudence at Amherst College, and a Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Centre Fellowship. He was a Fellow at the New York University International Centre for Advanced Studies and at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at Cambridge. In 2012, he was awarded the Efim Etkind Prize for the best book about Russian culture.

Professor Henk de Berg

Professor Henk de Berg

Henk de Berg is Professor of German, with specialist expertise in the European history of ideas, and Head of Germanic Studies at the University of Sheffield.

A graduate of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, he came to Sheffield in 1996, after having taught comparative literature at Leiden for several years. He has published three monographs, including an introduction to Freud’s theory and its use in literary and cultural studies (described by Peter Gay as “as good an introductory text as one can possibly hope for”), which received a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award and has been translated into three European languages as well as Chinese. He has also co-edited six books on critical theory, the most recent one being Modern German Thought from Kant to Habermas: An Annotated German-Language Reader, which includes ca. 100 pages of editorial introductions and annotations.

Fluent in French as well as German, Henk de Berg has worked extensively on the Russian-born French philosopher Alexandre Kojève and is completing a project on the Bulgarian-born French thinker Tzvetan Todorov. He is currently working on Ernst Bloch’s view of Hegel, on Oswald Spengler, and on visions of Europe and the West.

Permanent Members

Dr Dina GusejnovaDr Dina Gusejnova

Dina Gusejnova is Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Sheffield.

She holds BA, MPhil, and PhD degrees from Cambridge and as a doctoral student was awarded both Marie Curie and DAAD grants. After a Harper-Schmidt Fellowship at Chicago (2009-11), she took up a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at University College London and subsequently taught at Queen Mary University of London, before joining Sheffield in 2015.

Her research interests include modern European and global intellectual history, transnational political history, and the history of migration. Her book European Elites and Ideas of Empire, 1917-57 (Cambridge UP, 2016) explores the connections between ideas of Europe and imperial memory, while her edited volume Cosmopolitanism in Conflict: Imperial Encounters from the Seven Years’ War to the Cold War (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) is the first-ever study to engage with the relationship between cosmopolitan political thought and the history of global conflict.

In addition to her more scholarly publications, Dina Gusejnova has contributed to the Journal of the History of Ideas blog and BBC Radio 4. She is a bilingual speaker of German and Russian.

Dr Natalia Jonsson-SkradolDr Natalia Jonsson-Skradol

Natalia Jonsson-Skradol specialises in the study of totalitarian ideologies (primarily Stalinism and National Socialism) and their expressions in political rhetoric, literature, and the arts.

She came to Sheffield in 2009 as the recipient of a four-year British Academy Fellowship. Before and after that, she studied and worked in Israel, Germany, and Austria. In 2013-2017, she was a research associate collaborating with Evgeny Dobrenko on the project Literary Pax Sovietica: National Revival and Cultural Unification in Post-War Eastern Europe. She is the co-author of a forthcoming monograph on Stalinist humour (provisionally entitled State Laughter: Genres of the Comic under Stalin) and of a forthcoming collection of essays on socialist realism in Eastern European literatures (Socialist Realism in Central and Eastern European Literatures under Stalin: Institutions, Dynamics, Discourses). Together with Evgeny Dobrenko and Tamás Scheibner (University of Budapest), she is working on the impact of Russian Formalism on European literary and cultural studies.

A native speaker of Russian, Natalia Jonsson-Skradol is also fluent in English, Hebrew, and German, and she has a solid working knowledge of French and Spanish.

Ben LewisBen Lewis

Ben Lewis is a Wolfson-funded PhD candidate and postgraduate tutor in German at the University of Sheffield.

He specialises in German political thought between 1871 and 1945, with a particular interest in socialism. He studied German at Sheffield and Bonn and after graduating with a first-class honours degree from Sheffield worked for 6 years as a political organiser, journalist, and translator. He then embarked on an MA at the same university, which he completed in 2015. His PhD research, under the supervision of Henk de Berg, focusses on the politics of the German intellectual Oswald Spengler (1880–1936). He also takes a keen interest in the theory of history; his translation of On the Road to Global Labour History, a festschrift for the doyen of global labour history, Marcel van der Linden, was published in 2017.

Ben Lewis has edited and translated three volumes of texts by European socialist thinkers: Clara Zetkin: Letters and Writings (2015; with Mike Jones), Karl Kautsky on Colonialism (2013; with Mike Macnair), and Zinoviev and Martov: Head to Head in Halle (2011; with Lars T. Lih). His book on the pioneering Czech-Austrian Marxist Karl Kautsky (1854-1938) is forthcoming from Brill as Karl Kautsky on Democracy and Republicanism.

Prokhorov Fellows

The Prokhorov Fellowship scheme, which pre-dates the establishment of the Prokhorov Centre by some years, enables prominent Russian scholars to visit the University and the Centre for a period of 3 to 6 months as research fellows.

To date, these have included Nina Braginskaya, Oxana Gavrishina, and Petr Druzhinin (Russian State University for the Humanities), Nikolai Bogomolov and Igor Pilshchikov (Moscow State University), Jan Levchenko and Oleg Lekmanov (Higher School of Economics, Moscow), Kosnatantin Bogdanov and Alexander Panchenko (Institute of Russian Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences / Pushkin House), Ilya Kalinin (St Petersburg State University), and Marina Abasheva (Perm State Pedagogical University).

Anna Razuvalova

Research Fellow Anna RazuvalovaAcademic Year 2017–18

Anna Razuvalova is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Russian Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St Petersburg. Her research interests lie in late- and post-Soviet culture and in Russian nationalism and neo-conservatism.

She is the author of Pisateli-“derevenschiki”. Literatura i konservativnaya 1970-h godov (Village-Prose Writers: Literature and Conservative Ideology of the 1970s, 2015). Anna Razuvalova is currently working on a project on animal protection in late-Soviet culture.


Alexander Jakobidze-Gitman

Alexander Jakobidze-GitmanAcademic year 2016-17

Alexander Jakobidze-Gitman is a Faculty member at the University of Witten/Herdecke in Germany and the author of The Rising Phantasms: The Stalinist Era in Post-Soviet Film (New Literary Observer, 2015). He has also worked on the history of ideas and the aesthetics of music.

An accomplished pianist, Alexander Jakobidze-Gitman often combines public lectures with recitals. He is currently working on a project on mechanism as an explanatory model in early-modern musical thought.

Alexandra Piir

Alexandra PiirAcademic year 2016-17

Alexandra Piir works for the journal Antropologicheskij Forum/Forum for Anthropology and Culture, published by the European University at St Petersburg and the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Science. Her research interests lie in Soviet studies, urban anthropology, and the anthropology of everyday life.

Alexandra Piir is currently working on the project ‘Leningrad Courtyards: History, Notions, Practices’, an anthropological study of Soviet urban courtyards during the Stalin era.

More about Alexandra 

Sergey Zenkin

Sergey ZenkinAcademic year 2015–16

Sergey Zenkin, Research Professor at the Russian State University for the Humanities (RGGU) in Moscow. Sergey Zenkin is a specialist in French literature, literary theory, and intellectual history as well as a translator of academic texts from French and English into Russian.

His most recent books are L’Expérience du relatif: Le romantisme français et l’idée de culture (2011), The Non-Divine Sacred (2012), and Works on Theory (2012). He is currently working on a project on twentieth-century literary theory.

Margarita Pavlova

Margarita PavlovaAcademic Year 2014–15

Margarita Pavlova, Professor of Russian Literature and Senior Researcher at the Manuscript Department of the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkinskii Dom), Russian Academy of Sciences, and a specialist in Russian symbolism.

Margarita Pavlova has published The Writer-Inspector: Fedor Sologub and F. K. Teternikov (2007) as well as several collections of essays and text editions. Her current project is entitled “The Circle of Z. N. Gippius, D. S. Merezhkovskii, D. V. Filosofov, and the Provisional Government of 1917”.