Amanda Murphy received a BA in Mathematics and Russian Studies from Hamilton College and her MA and Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Murphy has taught Russian language, literature, and culture at Colby College, the University of Alaska Anchorage, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Middlebury College.
Dr. Murphy’s research interests include nineteenth-century Russian literature, semiotics, dress and material culture, religious imagery, imperial myth-making, and historical prose. She has recently co-edited a special issue of the journal Clothing Cultures on Dress Culture in Imperial Russia, which included contributions from specialists across a variety of disciplines.
Dr. Murphy’s current book project, Pushkin and Material Culture, developed from her dissertation, “Beyond Tatiana: Pushkin’s Heroines at the Intersection of Life and Art.” This project examines the role of clothing and cultural artifacts in delivering encoded social and political commentary on Catherine the Great’s reign in Russia and its results for later generations. Whereas Pushkin’s ambivalent view of Peter the Great is well studied, his negative opinions of Catherine’s rule are less explored. My methodological approach combines Iurii Lotman’s semiotic theory and Richard Wortman’s concept of “scenarios of power,” to analyze how Pushkin utilized elements of Catherine’s imperial myth to communicate with members of his poetic circle.