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, a full professor of Polish Studies and Russian Studies, has published widely on Polish literature, theater, popular culture, and film; Russian literature, film, and women's studies; and Russian and Polish artists and performers in the North American diaspora.  Her recent scholarship focuses on Polish Jewish cultural history of the interwar period.  Her most recent book, Warsaw is My Country (2018), is a cultural biography of Krystyna Bierzynska, an acculturated Jewish Varsovian who survived the Holocaust and served as a 16-year-old orderly in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. Holmgren was elected President of the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies in 2008 (this is the largest organization in the Slavic field outside the region) and elected President of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies for the 2003-2005 term.  She is currently finishing her second stint as chair of Duke's Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies (2010-2015, 2016-2019).  Holmgren holds secondary appointments in Theater Studies and Gender/Sexuality/Feminist Studies. She is listed as a core faculty member for Jewish Studies.  For her updated curriculum vitae. see her site at


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

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

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. Lehtimaki, M, Leisti, S and Rytkonen, M.: Tampere University Press. 2007. 343-57..

Holmgren, B. "Five short articles – "Nadezhda Mandelstam," "Liudmila Petrushevskaia," "GUM," "Lidiia Ruslanova," "Red Army Chorus"." THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN CULTURE. Ed. Evans-Romaine, K, Goscilo, H and Smorodinskaya, T.: Routledge UP. 2006.

Holmgren, B. "Public women, parochial stage: The actress in late nineteenth-century Poland." Poles Apart: Women in Modern Polish Culture. January 1, 2006. 11-35.

Holmgren, B. "W domu u Sienkiewicza." Polonistyka Po Amerykansku: Badania Nad Literature Polska W Ameryce Polnocnej (1990-2005). Ed. Filipowicz, H, Karcz, A and Trojanowska, T. Wydawnictwo, Warsaw, Poland.: Instytut Badan Literackich PAN. 2005. 301-15.

Holmgren, B. "Imitation of Life: A Russian Guest in the Polish Regimental Family." Polish Encounters/Russian Identity. Ed. Ransel, D and Shallcross, B.: Indiana University Press. 2005. 37-49.

Holmgren, B. "America, America: Scouting the Routes of Translation." Living in Translation: Polish Writers in America. Ed. Stephan, H.: Rodopi Press. 2003. 29-43.

Holmgren, B. "Emigre-zation: American Picture Books and Russian Artists." KAZAAM! SPLAT! PLOOF! The American Impact on European Culture Since 1945. Ed. Ramet, S and Crnkovic, G.: Rowman and Littlefield. 2003. 219-33.

Holmgren, B. "Writing the Female Body Politic (1945-1985)." The Cambridge History of Russian Women's Literature. Ed. Barker, A and Gheith, J.: Cambridge University Press. 2002. 225-42.

Holmgren, B. "The Importance of Being Unhappy, or Why She Died." Imitations of Life: Two Centuries of Melodrama in Russia. Ed. McReynolds, L and Neuberger, J.: Duke University Press. 2002. 79-98.


Holmgren, B. "The Blue Angel and blackface: Redeeming entertainment in Aleksandrov's Circus." Russian Review 66.1 (January 1, 2007): 5-22. Full Text

Holmgren, B. "Cossack cowboys, mad Russians: The émigré actor in studio-era Hollywood." Russian Review 64.2 (January 1, 2005): 236-258. Full Text

Holmgren, B. "Introduction." Russian Memoir: History and Literature (December 1, 2003).

Gheith, J, and Holmgren, B. "Art and prostokvasha: Avdot'ia panaeva's work." (December 1, 2003): 128-144. (Chapter)

Holmgren, B. "Nadezhda Mandel'shtam and her american interlocutors." Russian Review 61.4 (January 1, 2002): 531-534. Full Text

Holmgren, B. "Virility and Gentility: How Sienkiewicz and Modjeska Redeemed America." Polish Review XLVI.3 (2001): 283-296.

Holmgren, B. "Patronized saints: The cult of the artist in Poland's illustrated weekly." East European Politics and Societies 10.3 (September 1, 1996): 416-437.

Holmgren, B. "Those Unsettling Slavs, Or There's No Place Like Home." Literary Studies East and West 11 (1996): 98-110.