Teacher pointing to projected screen
Faculty & Research

Jenifer Presto

Profile picture of Jenifer Presto
Associate Professor of Comparative Literature
Russian East European and Eurasian Studies
Phone: 541-485-7400
Office: 272 PLC
Research Interests: Russian modernism; gender studies; literature and the visual arts; imaginative geographies; Russian-Italian cultural interactions; Russian-American culture; and environmental criticism


M.A. & Ph.D., Slavic Languages & Literatures / Comp. Lit. Minor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.A., Russian Language, Middlebury College
A.B., magna cum laude, Russian Literature, Smith College


My scholarship strives to shed new light on modern Russian literature and culture through engagement with the interdisciplinary methods of gender studies and the environmental humanities. My first book, Beyond the Flesh: Alexander Blok, Zinaida Gippius, and the Symbolist Sublimation of Sex, was devoted to the problem of gender and self-creation in Russian symbolism. I am currently completing my second book, Landscape of Disaster: Italy and Russian Geopoetics, which illuminates how environmental upheaval served as a potent force in the transnational turn in Russian culture. Broadening the scope of this work, I have collaborated with Anindita Banerjee (Cornell University) on special issues on Russian Geopoetics and The 1917 Revolution and Its Ripple Effects. 

I have also begun research on a third book project, which builds on my work on geopoetics and my longstanding interests in Russian-American culture. This study, provisionally titled Adjacent Ecologies: Russian-American Art in the Pacific Northwest, examines how the vast region spanning from Alaska to northern California emerged as a critical contact zone for Russian immigrant artists and writers. Attending to issues of colonialism, immigration, and the environment, the project makes a case for the importance of the region to the Russian diaspora. It expands our understanding of the location of Russian-American culture beyond the New York metropolitan area, positing the Pacific Northwest as a rich site of both local creativity and transpacific cultural flow.

In winter 2023, Heghine Hakobyan (UO Libraries and REEES) and I will be launching an allied internship and digital humanities project on Slavic Immigrant Arts in the Northwest (SIAN), funded by grants from CAS, GSL, and REEES. SIAN will enable undergraduate and graduate students to earn internship credit for original research that will be made publicly available on the forthcoming SIAN website. Knowledge of a Slavic language or specialized training in Slavic studies is not required to contribute, just a commitment to research on the arts. If you are interested in participating in this initiative, do not hesitate to contact us.