Women and Self-Fashioning in Moscow

  Amanda had warned us that women in Russia tend to dress up and dress fashionably. When we first got to Moscow, I didn’t notice the difference, because I was distracted by the wide variety of fashion, ranging from elegant dresses to jeans and even shorts. I couldn’t detect any dress code. But the more I people-watched, the more I was struck by the care and attention the women devoted to fashion… Read More

“Everybody is wrong”

  In the weeks prior to our trip to Russia, the political crisis in Ukraine was front page news.  US coverage of the tensions between Russia and the Ukraine led me to believe that: Most Ukrainians desired independence from Russia. Aside from right-wing hard-liners, most Russians were (secretly) aghast at Putin’s despotic machinations (even if they are afraid to admit it publicly). Russians were as preoccupied with the East-West conflict as we… Read More

Bumping into Nureyev

    On Tuesday night, while making our way through the streets of Moscow trying to decide where we were going and what we might eat, we stumbled across a small row of statues–busts of famous Russian artists. In the middle was an artistically represented depiction of Rudolf Nureyev, one of Russia’s most famous ballet dancers and most prominent defectors from the then USSR. His likeness surfaced all of my knowledge of… Read More

Davidson connections

The day began with Davidson connections: First, emails back and forth with three former Russian assistants (AT in Davidson lingo), working out plans for later this week.  Each one a Muscovite with cherished memories of a year on our campus and each all grown up with jobs and families of their own.  We then headed into a warm sunny morning to meet Konstantin R. (Davidson ’99) for breakfast in a lovely cafe… Read More

Journeys like these

A few days before we left for our trip, my seven year-old son asked me to tell him one of my secrets. I thought for a long time before I went to my closet and took out a torn box filled with a mess of photos I inherited after my mom passed away. The secret I shared was that I had lost a cassette tape (remember those?!) which I had recorded almost… Read More

Exiting My Comfort Zone

  After reading about Studio R’s plans, you might be wondering, “what’s a cognitive psychologist doing on this trip?” That thought crossed my mind too as the reality of exchanging post-grading and graduation bliss for traveling in a country whose language I do not know hits me. Then I remember the amazing opportunity that lies ahead to expand my view of the world in general and to explore my professional interests in… Read More

At Charlotte Douglas Airport

We are at the airport, reviewing our updated itinerary, learning key words like “mozhno,” and figuring out how to log into our blog. I also followed Mark Sutch’s lead and ordered a green apple salad, which is beckoning me, so this post will be short. I’m relaxed enough now to register my excitement about the trip to come.

Like it’s 1985 . . .

As I prepare to lead my faculty colleagues to Russia, most of them for the first time, I can’t help but reflect on my own first visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg almost thirty years ago. Of course, that trip wasn’t to “Russia” per se, but to our Cold War rival, the Soviet Union. It was 1985. I was a sophomore in high school and among the legions of other idealistic young… Read More