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Dr Katharine Holt, Lecturer

Katharine HoltContact Details
Phone: 01334 462958
Office: Quad 42

Module surgery hours:
On leave in Semester 1 and 2, 2016/17

Full research profile


My primary fields of interest are Russian modernism, Soviet cultural production under Stalin, and the depiction of Russia’s “Eastern” peripheries from the 19th century to today. I have also worked a bit on contemporary Russian literature and politics, and I look forward to drawing on this experience while co-teaching a module on post-Soviet Russian culture in Spring 2016.

Provisionally entitled Writing the Soviet Desert, the manuscript I am currently working on explores the literary myths that surrounded the deserts of Central Asia in pre—Revolutionary Russia and analyzes how those myths were systematically reconstructed in the first decades of Soviet rule. Analyzing texts by such writers as Andrei Platonov and Viktor Shklovsky, I argue that the rise of high Stalinism brought a new, supposedly "native," iconography to the region and a new form of Soviet Orientalism. I also suggest that depictions of the desert illuminate how the Soviet Union operated as an empire both culturally and ecologically.

My second major project is a series of articles on Soviet cultural figures who spent their careers acting as intermediaries between Moscow and various “Easts,” including such individuals as Abulqasim Lahuti, Nikolai Tikhonov, and Petr Pavlenko. Taken as a whole, this series of interrelated articles identifies constants in the experiences of those who served the so-called "friendship of peoples” in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. In so doing, the articles bring attention to a social trajectory that has been largely ignored in Soviet cultural studies, shed light on how "imperial lives" functioned in the Soviet Union, and contribute to the emerging scholarship on Soviet translation practices.


Ulbandus 14: Andrei Platonov: Style, Context, Meaning
Holt, K. M. (ed.) 2012 Ulbandus Review. 323 p.
Research output: Book/ReportAnthology


Prostranstvennyi obraz tkani v "Iuvenil’nom more" A. Platonova
Holt, K. M. 2013 Poetika Andreia Platonova. Sbornik I: Na puti k "Iuvenil'nomu moriu". Belgrade, Vol. 1, p. 82-102
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Performing as Soviet Central Asia’s source texts: Lahuti and Džambul in Moscow, 1935-1936
Holt, K. M. 12 Mar 2015 In : Cahiers d’Asie centrale. 24, p. 213-238
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

The Weakest Link of Managed Democracy: How the Parliament Gave Birth to Nonparliamentary Politics
Holt, K. M. (Translator), Budraitskis, I. & Bozovic, M. (Translator) 2014 In : South Atlantic Quarterly. 113, 1, p. 169-185
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Collective Authorship and Platonov's Socialist Realism
Holt, K. M. 2013 In : Russian Literature. 73, 1/2, p. 57-83
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

The "Gavriliada" as Gossip
Holt, K. M. 2010 In : Ulbandus. 12, p. 1 20 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Enlisting Words Against Words: Danilo Kiš’s Enumeration
Holt, K. M. 2008 In : Serbian Studies. p. 1-15
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Roman Osminkin: Poetry and Prose: Translations by the Cement Collective (incl. Katharine Holt)
Holt, K. M. (Translator) & Osminkin, R. 5 Mar 2016
Research output: Other contribution

Translation of "The Western Critic at a Crossroads," by Ilya Budraitskis
Holt, K. M. (Translator) 29 Sep 2015 LeftEast
Research output: Other contribution