Beth Holmgren

Beth Holmgren

Professor of Polish and Russian Studies

External address: 
316 Languages Building, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90259, Durham, NC 27708-0259
(919) 660-3140

Beth Holmgren is a full professor trained in Polish Studies and Russian Studies, with special expertise in narrative and film analysis, performance studies, gender studies, diasporic studies, and cultural history.  She currently serves as chair of the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at Duke, beginning her seventh year in this office (2010-2015, 2016-).  Holmgren is listed among the core faculty in Jewish Studies, and holds secondary appointments in Theater Studies and Women's Studies. Over the course of her career, Holmgren has worked closely with the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (President, 2008); the Association for Women in Slavic Studies (President,2003-2005); and the Polish Studies Association, For her updated curriculum vitae. see her site at


  • Ph.D., Harvard University 1987
  • B.A., Grinnell College 1975

Americans Experience Russia.: Routledge, November 28, 2012. Full Text

Holmgren, B. Starring Madame Modjeska: On Tour in Poland and America. Indiana University Press, November 10, 2011.

Goscilo, H, and Holmgren, B. Poles apart: Women in modern Polish culture. January 1, 2006.

The Russian Memoir. Ed. Beth Holmgren. Northwestern University Press, November 19, 2003.

Holmgren, B. Rewriting Capitalism. University of Pittsburgh Pre, December 15, 1998.

Holmgren, B, and Holmgren, B. Women's Works in Stalin's TimeWomen's Works in Stalin's Time. Indiana University Press, January 1, 1993.

"Russia on their mind: How hollywood pictured the Soviet front." Americans Experience Russia: Encountering the Enigma, 1917 to the Present. December 1, 2013. 105-123. Full Text

Holmgren, B. "The Polish Actress Unbound: Tales of Modrzejewska/Modjeska." The Other in Polish Theater and Drama. Ed. B Johnston and K Cioffi. Slavica Publishers, 2010. 57-77.

Holmgren, B. "Ne-natural’naia shkola:Semeistvo Tal'nikovykh Panaevoi." Trava: Punkty. Ed. S Ushakin and E Trofimova. Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 2009. 45-72.


Holmgren, B. "Edouard de Reszke." POLISH-AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE: AN ENCYCLOPEDIA. Ed. J Pula. 2009.

Holmgren, B. "Nadezhda Mandel’shtam." Dictionary of Literary Biography: Russian Prose Writers After World War II. Ed. C Rydel. Thomson Gale, 2008. 164-71.

Holmgren, B. "Aristocrats and Working Girls: Towards a History of Russian Emigre Women in the United States"." MAPPING THE FEMININE: RUSSIAN WOMEN AND CULTURAL DIFFERENCE. Ed. H Hoogenboom, C Nepomnyashchy, and I Reyfman. 2008. 231-47.

Holmgren, B. "Settlling for the Real Hollywood: Russians in Studio-Era American Film." American Artists From the Russian Empire. Ed. Y Petrova. The State Russian Museum & The Foundation for International Arts and Education, 2008. 97-115.

Holmgren, B. "Evgeniia Ginzburg." Yivo Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe. Ed. GD Hundert. Yale UP, 2008.

Holmgren, B. "Fiction and the Acting Life: The Memoir of Helena Modjeska." Real Stories, Imagined Realities: Fictionality and Non-fictionality in Literary Constructs and Historical Contexts. Ed. M Lehtimaki, S Leisti, and M Rytkonen. Tampere University Press, 2007. 343-57.


Holmgren, B. ""Cabaret Identity: How Best to Play a Jew or Pass as a Gentile in Wartime Poland"." Journal of Jewish Identities July 2014.Issue 7, number 2 (July 2014): 15-33. Open Access Copy

Holmgren, B. "The Lives of Secret Others." East European Film Bulletin (August 2013). (Essay)

Blobaum, R, Holmgren, B, and Wampuszyc, E. "Warsaw 2013." East European Politics and Societies 27.2 (May 1, 2013): 185-186. Full Text

Holmgren, B. "Acting Out: Qui pro Quo in the Context of Interwar Warsaw." East European Politics and Societies 27.2 (May 1, 2013): 205-223. Full Text

Holmgren, B. "Toward an Understanding of Gendered Agency in Contemporary Russia." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 38.3 (March 2013): 535-542. Full Text

Holmgren, B. "The art of playing patriot: The polish stardom of Helena Modjeska." Theatre Journal 62.3 (October 1, 2010): 349-371. (Review)

Holmgren, B. "War, Women, and Song: The Case of Hanka Ordonowna." Aspasia: The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women’s and Gender History 2 (2010): 139-54.



Cabaret Warsaw: Yiddish and Polish Hits of the 1920s and 1930s. Curator. (2012)


Cabaret Warsaw: Yiddish- and Polish-Language Hits of the 1920s and 1930s. In collaboration with Jane Peppler, a professional musician and literary translator from Yiddish, researched, performed, and produced a collection of 20 representative songs from the literary cabarets and kleynkunst revi-teatrs of interwar Warsaw, the capital of both Polish and Yiddish-language culture between the two world wars. CD produced with funding from Duke University’s Collaborative Arts Development Grant. June 2012. Concert given in Bryan Center, June 2, 2012. Second concert given at Southern Conference for Slavic Studies, Greensboro, NC, March 22, 2013.

Twenty Years Forward: Modern Russian Feminism. Producer, Writer. (2009)


35-minute documentary written and produced by Beth Holmgren and filmed and edited by Igor Sopronenko, Signature Media Productions LLC. This film focuses on the collaboration between Russian and American scholars and activists and its genesis of Russian women's studies on both sides of the ocean. TWENTY YEARS FORWARD pieces together the history of this collaboration and assesses its consequences through interviews with 18 different subjects.

Selected Grants

"Twenty Years Forward: The Contents and Discontents of Modern Russian Feminism," A Documentary awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2008 to 2009