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Mission Statement


The mission of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures is to provide excellent education to our undergraduate and graduate students; to expand the boundaries of knowledge and understanding through extensive, high-quality research; and to preserve – and further improve on – our rank among the very top departments nationally. Responding to the ever-changing world around us, and to the increasingly complex demands it places on us and on our students, we truly strive to maintain our overall excellence while advancing the nuanced study of the diverse and rich civilizations of the critically important regions of Eastern and Central Europe, Russia, Caucasus, and Central Asia.


In the most immediate future we see ourselves continuing our focus on the critical areas where we already have both departmental and institutional strengths: Literature, Film, Post-Soviet, Russian-Jewish, and General Cultural Studies (including Visual Arts, Gender, Ethnicity, Nationalism, Philosophy, and Religion), Synchronic, Historical, and Socio-Psychological Linguistics, as well as Cross-Cultural Communication. We intend to maintain offering a rich variety of Slavic languages together with several non-Slavic languages of the former Soviet republics and the former Soviet-bloc countries: Russian, Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian, , Polish, Ukrainian, Slovenian. We will continue to create and emphasize interdisciplinary, intercultural, and broad-based courses – both for beginning and advanced students – that reflect our research across traditional and emerging disciplines. Our further enhanced curriculum will ensure that our students have a deeper understanding of different modes of inquiry and attain a desirable breadth of knowledge. We also will work hard to further strengthen our graduate program by teaching more graduate seminars and making sure both our M.A. and Ph.D. students are well equipped to enter their chosen professional fields.

Diversity & Equity Statement

Working at the crossroads of many cultures, creeds and national traditions, the UW Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures acknowledges, advances and celebrates difference of all sorts. In a time of increasing inequality, a rise in hate crimes, the emboldening of white supremacist and other groups, as well as other signs of growing division in the country, our department recognizes the heightened stakes in its commitment to diversity and equity. We proudly take on that challenge through fostering respectful, multi-perspectival dialogue; through unwavering support for religious minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, the disabled, immigrants (documented and non-) and other historically marginalized peoples; and through an ethic of inclusion in our recruitment, curriculum, decision-making and governance. We are united against racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, in short against intolerance and discrimination of all sorts. We stand instead with Czech playwright and president Václav Havel, who wrote – at a very dark moment for his own country: “In everyone there is some longing for humanity’s rightful dignity, for moral integrity, for free expression of being and a sense of transcendence over the world of existence.” By our daily example, in actions small and large, we seek to fulfill Havel’s vision by welcoming all.