Dr Isobel Palmer
Department of Modern Languages
Lecturer in Russian
- Russian Studies
Department of Modern Languages
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom
My work focuses on twentieth-century poetry and literary theory, with an emphasis on Russian modernist poetry and Russian Formalism. My current research draws on theories of the lyric, old/new media, and the urban environment to place questions of literary form in the dynamic contexts of the modernizing city and the 1905 and 1917 revolutions.
- PhD University of California, Berkeley (Slavic Languages and Literatures)
- MA University of California, Berkeley (Slavic Languages and Literatures)
- BA University of Cambridge (Russian and German)
I joined the Modern Languages Department at Birmingham in September 2018. I completed my MA and PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, where I taught Russian and Czech language, Russian literature, and college composition, and held a fellowship in Global Urban Humanities. I hold a BA in Russian and German from the University of Cambridge.
In 2018/19, I am teaching Core Russian modules in Year 2 (Language in Context), Year 4 translation (Russian to English), and Russia Unwrapped, a module on Russian culture and identity. I am supervising final year dissertations and students for the MA in Practical Translation.
I welcome graduate students working on:
• Russian poetry (19th-21st Century)
• Russian Formalism and literary theory
• Comparative modernisms
• (Modernist) performance culture
• Thaw culture
• Urban humanities
• Intersections between literature and new media.
Find out more - our PhD Russian Studies page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.
My research draws on theories and methods from literary theory, media theory, sound and performance studies, and urban theory to investigate the relationship between art and society in twentieth- and twenty first-century Russia and the Soviet Union.
My current book project, Vital Signs: Rhythm, Image and Voice in Russian Modernist Poetry and Theory 1905-1922, addresses the continued currency in Russia of traditional poetic forms alongside radical modernist experimentation during the turbulent period surrounding modernization, urbanization, and the revolutions of 1905 and 1917. It argues that modernist poets and formalist theorists regarded the formal devices of poetry as a kind of technology and as the means by which poetry could actively intervene in the social, political, and historical circumstances of their time.
My new project concerns public poetry performance and issues surrounding public space and the public sphere in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. This project examines poetry’s capacity to create communities, and offers a timely perspective on debates surrounding the role of poetry and literature more generally as a space for social engagement, intervention, and change.
Dr Palmer is acting Subject Liaison for Russian 2018-19 and convenor for Core III/IV and Year 4 Core, and Tutor for the Summer Course in Russia.
Examples of recent talks and conference participation:
- Invited talk, “Poetry as Medium: Russian Modernism and Rhythm in ‘A Time without Time’”. Vanderbilt University (December 2017)
- Round table, “Transgressing the Text: Form vs. Emotion in Russian Literary Theory and across Disciplines.” Annual Meeting of ASEEES (November 2017)
- Discussant, “Sounds out of Bounds: Obscenity, Noise, Laughter, and the Tuning of the Russo-Soviet Soundscape.” Annual Meeting of ASEEES (November 2017)
- Paper, “The Rhythm of History: Blok’s prosody and the revolution of 1905.” Berkeley-LMU Symposium (Munich, June 2017)
- Panel co-organizer, “Old/New Media in Russia and Eastern Europe.” Annual Meeting of AATSEEL (San Francisco, February 2017)
- Discussant, “Ugly Intimacies: An International Workshop.” UC Berkeley/Danish Independent Research Council (Berkeley, May 2016)
- Paper, “Orality, Technology, and the Russian Modernist Poetry Evening.” California Slavic Colloquium (USC, April 2016)
- Panel co-organizer, “Thinking/Feeling Lyric.” Annual Meeting of AATSEEL (Austin, January 2016)
Memberships and Professional Associations:
- Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies [ASEEES]
- American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Languages [AATSEEL]
- “St. Petersburg and Moscow in Twentieth-Century Russian Literature: The View from the Street.” (The Palgrave Handbook of Literature and the City, edited by Jeremy Tambling. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2017).
- “Futurism’s Voices: Futurist Performance and Communication in Verse.” International Yearbook of Futurism Studies: Special Issue: Russian Futurism. (Forthcoming, 2019).
- “Lyric and its Discontents. Review: Theory of the Lyric, Jonathan Culler”. (Qui Parle, Vol. 24:2, Spring-Summer 2016).
- “Aleksei Remizov” in The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism (Web. 9th April 2016. Article DOI 10.4324/9781135000356-REM1620-1)
- “Nina Berberova” in The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism (Web. 9th April 2016. Article DOI 10.4324/9781135000356-REM629-1)
View all publications in research portal