Victoria Thorstensson holds a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before coming to Nazarbayev University, Dr. Thorstensson taught courses on Russian language, literature and culture at Middlebury College, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dr. Thorstensson’s research interests include 19th-century Russian classical literature, Russian realism, nihilism, polemical novels, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Leskov, thick journals and serialization, Russian and Soviet intellectual and cultural history, theory and practice of translation, methodology of teaching Russian, and contemporary Kazakhstani Russophone literature.
Her dissertation, which she is currently developing into a book manuscript, offers a comprehensive analysis of the genre of the polemical novel of the 1860s-1870s. Dr. Thorstensson studies the genre of the polemical novel, and the dialog with nihilism that authors of opposing ideological camps led by means of their versions of literary “heroes of the age” and of such polemical devices as caricature, pamphlet and direct dialog with their readers. She offers new readings of the novels by Turgenev, Chernyshevsky and Dostoevsky – as well as of writings frequently overlooked, by such novelists as Leskov, Pisemsky and Goncharov, and of a broad range of fiction by second and third-tier writers. Dr. Thorstensson’s study of the gallery of the nihilist “heroes of the age” fleshes out the life-programming function of polemical novels though the analysis of cultural codes of everyday life and behavior and nihilist anti-fashion.