Katherine Bowers grew up in Germany and the United States, and went on to attend the University of Virginia, where she completed a double major in German and Russian and received an MA in Slavic Studies. She completed a second MA and a PhD in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Northwestern University. Dr Bowers came to UBC from the University of Cambridge, where she was a postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Slavonic Studies and a Research Fellow of Darwin College.
Dr Bowers is an expert in Russian literature and culture. Her research interests include genre, narrative, and imagined geography. Her first monograph, Writing Fear: Russian Realism and the Gothic (University of Toronto Press, under contract), examines the way Russian realist writers used narrative models from European gothic fiction in their work. She is also working on two collaborative projects with Kate Holland (Toronto): Dostoevsky at 200: The Novel in Modernity (University of Toronto Press, forthcoming), an edited volume to mark Dostoevsky’s bicentenary in 2021, and Digital Dostoevsky, a SSHRC-funded digital humanities project investigating Dostoevsky’s corpus. Dr Bowers is the Vice-President of the North American Dostoevsky Society and serves as a Member-at-Large on the Executive Board of the Canadian Association of Slavists.
At UBC Dr Bowers is the lead and founder of the Eurasia Research Cluster. She is a Faculty Affiliate of the Institute for European Studies and the Science and Technology Studies Graduate Program and a faculty Member of the Green College Common Room. From 2015-17 she was a Green College Leading Scholar. In 2019-20 Dr Bowers was a Wall Scholar in residence at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.
CENS 201 “European Magic Tales” (Contrasts and Conflicts: the Cultures of Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe)
CENS 202 “Science Fiction in Eastern Europe” (Great Works of Literature from Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe)
RUSS 306A “The 19th-Century Russian Novel” (Russian Literature in Translation)
RUSS 306B “20th- and 21st-Century Russian Literature” (Russian Literature in Translation)
RUSS 321A “Petersburg: Text and Cityscape” (Imagining Location in Russian Literature)
RUSS 321B “Imagining Siberia” (Imagining Location in Russian Literature)
RUSS 323A “Science Fiction in Russia and Eastern Europe” (Fantastic Worlds of Russian Fiction)
RUSS 412 “Dostoevsky”
In addition to genre, narrative, and the gothic, Dr Bowers’s research interests include: travel and exploration narratives, imagined and cultural geography, the history of science and technology and its reflection in literature, early modern information circulation, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literary culture, women’s writing, urban representation, environmental humanities, poetry, and comparative studies—especially German, Scandinavian, and English texts in the context of Russian literary history.
Currently Dr Bowers is finishing a book about the influence of gothic writing on Russian realism. Her new research project is about the Arctic in the Russian imperial imagination.
Dr Bowers is actively involved in Dostoevsky studies. With Kate Holland she is co-editing a volume marking the bicentenary of Dostoevsky’s birth in 2021. Additionally Drs Holland and Bowers have received a SSHRC Insight Grant (2019-24) for a digital humanities research project investigating Dostoevsky’s corpus.
Crime and Punishment at 150.
In 2016 Katherine Bowers and Kate Holland received a Connection Grant from SSHRC for a public outreach program celebrating the 150th anniversary of Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment. Components of the project included a library exhibit co-written by Dr Bowers and her students, a virtual film festival, an online group read of the novel, a conference, a film screening and director Q&A, and the Twitter project @RodionTweets. Finally the project has led to several publications, among them A Dostoevskii Companion: Texts and Contexts (2018), which Dr Bowers co-edited with Connor Doak and Kate Holland.
Information Technologies in Russia, 1450-1850.
From 2012-2014 Dr Bowers was a postdoctoral Research Associate attached to the project “Information Technologies in Russia, 1450-1850” led by Prof Simon Franklin. An interview about the project can be found here: Text and the Message: Russia’s Early Information Age. The project resulted in a conference, “Information Technologies and Transfer in Russia, 1450-1850,” which was held at Darwin College, Cambridge in September 2014 (program). Related publications include the co-edited volume Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia, 1600-1850 (2017) and several articles (2015, 2017).
Dr Bowers’s work has been supported through funding for research, study, and collaboration from organizations and institutions including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada); the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies (UBC); the University of Exeter; the University of Illinois Open Research Lab; Darwin College, Cambridge; the Centre for Eastern European Language-Based Area Studies (UK); the Fulbright-Hays and Title VI programs of the US Department of Education; the US Department of State’s Critical Languages initiative and Title VIII program; the American Council of Teachers of Russian; the American Councils of Learned Societies; and the American Council for Collaboration in Education and Language Study.
This is a list of academic publications; for digital outreach projects, blog posts, interviews, and other features, see the Media section.
Writing Fear: Russian Realism and the Gothic. Monograph (University of Toronto Press, under contract).
Dostoevsky at 200: The Novel in Modernity. Volume edited with Kate Holland (University of Toronto Press, forthcoming 2021).
A Dostoevskii Companion: Texts and Contexts. Volume edited with Connor Doak and Kate Holland (Academic Studies Press, 2018).
Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia, 1600-1850. Volume edited with Simon Franklin (Open Book Publishers, 2017). [Open Access]
Russian Writers and the Fin de Siècle: The Twilight of Realism. Volume edited with Ani Kokobobo (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
New UK Research in Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature. Article cluster edited with Sarah J. Young, with introduction by Katherine Bowers. Modern Languages Open. 27 October 2014. [Open Access]
“Plotting the Ending: Generic Expectation and the Uncanny Epilogue of Crime and Punishment.” Canadian Slavonic Papers 62.2 (2020): 95-108. [CORE deposit]
“Haunted Ice, Fearful Sounds, and the Arctic Sublime: Exploring Nineteenth-Century Polar Gothic Space.” Gothic Studies 19.2 (2017): 71-84. [CORE deposit]
“Unpacking Viazemskii’s Khalat: The Technologies of Dilettantism in Early Nineteenth-Century Russian Literary Culture.” Slavic Review 74.3 (2015): 529-552. [CORE deposit]
“The City through a Glass, Darkly: Use of the Gothic in Early Russian Realism.” The Modern Language Review 108.4 (2013): 1237-1253. [CORE deposit]
“The Three-Dimensional Heroine: The Intertextual Relationship between Three Sisters and Hedda Gabler.” Studies in Slavic Cultures VII (2008): 9-27. [CORE deposit]
“Under the Floorboards, Over the Door: The Gothic Corpse and Writing Fear in The Idiot” in Dostoevsky at 200: The Novel in Modernity, Bowers and Holland, eds. (University of Toronto Press, forthcoming 2021).
“Experiencing Information: An Early Nineteenth-Century Stroll Along Nevskii Prospekt” in Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia, 1600-1850, Franklin and Bowers, eds. (Open Book Publishers, 2017), 369-407. [Open Access]
“Through the Opaque Veil: the Gothic and Death in Russian Realism” in The Gothic and Death, Carol Davison, ed. (Manchester University Press, 2017), 157-173. [CORE deposit]
“The Fall of the House: Gothic Narrative and the Decline of the Russian Family” in Russian Writers and the Fin de Siècle: The Twilight of Realism, Bowers and Kokobobo, eds. (Cambridge University Press, 2015), 145-161. [CORE deposit]
Reviews in: The Modern Language Review, Slavic Review, The Russian Review, Slavic and East European Journal, Canadian Slavonic Papers, KinoKultura, Journal of Soviet & Post-Soviet Politics and Society, Journal of European Studies, Revenant: Critical and Creative Studies of the Supernatural, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Translation & Literature
Translations in: The Early Chekhov Translation Project (Vol 1), The Norton Critical Edition of The Brothers Karamazov (2nd edition, 2011), Studies in East European Thought
At UBC she created and co-administers the Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia UBC Event listserv.
Digital humanities projects
The Data-Sitters Club, a comprehensive, colloquial guide to digital humanities computational text analysis, with Quinn Dombrowski, Lee Skallerup Bessette, Maria Cecire, Anouk Lang and Roopika Risam, 2019-present.
Digital media projects
Crime and Punishment at 150 (or #CP150), a SSHRC-funded public engagement project and conference co-organized with Kate Holland celebrating 150 years of Dostoevsky’s novel. 2016.
#TheDoubleEvent, a public outreach project co-organized with Brian Armstrong for the North American Dostoevsky Society. November 2015.
Digital pedagogy projects and tools
Imagining St Petersburg: Digital Mapping in the Literature Classroom, a talk for UBC Arts ISIT about using StoryMapJS and other digital mapping tools in my Petersburg class (Dr Bowers is the first speaker). Sept 2018.
Dosto-Wiki, a collaborative student research Wiki on Dostoevsky made by RUSS 412 students. On-going since spring 2017.
Crime and Punishment at 150, a library exhibit co-curated with Mel Bach (Cambridge University Library), and written by RUSS 412 students from spring 2016. Physical exhibit, Oct-Nov 2016. Virtual exhibit, online since Oct 2016.
European Magic Tales, a collection of students’ magic tales from CENS 201-003 “European Magic Tales.” On-going since fall 2016.
Twine, Forward!, a socialist realist story generator developed for RUSS 306B with John Ayliff. February 2016.
Research-led blog posts
“Rodion Raskolnikov, Your Tweet Archive is Ready,” The Bloggers Karamazov, 9 May 2018.
“Raskolnikov in the Fog: Time and the Crime and Punishment End Game,” The Bloggers Karamazov, 17 July 2016.
“Introducing @RodionTweets: Translating Raskolnikov into 140 Characters or Less,” The Bloggers Karamazov, 5 July 2016.
“A Recipe for a Gothic Novel,” The Recipes Project, 10 December 2015.
“Gothic Doubles and The Double, Gothically,” All the Russias, 6 November 2015.
Features and interviews
“The Data-Sitters Club”. Feature by Elizabeth Redden. Inside Higher Ed, 15 April 2020
“A New Companion for Readers of Dostoevskii”. Interview with Katherine Bowers, Connor Doak, and Kate Holland. Bloggers Karamazov, 19 November 2018.
“How do People Know Things?” Open Book Publishers Blog, 11 December 2017.
Simon Franklin introduces the Franklin and Bowers co-edited volume Information and Empire (2017):
“Celebrating Crime and Punishment at 150.” Co-written with Kate Holland. ASEEESNewsNet. Vol. 57. No. 2 (March 2017). pp. 15-16.
“Crime and Punishment at 150.” UBC Faculty of Arts Spotlight interview. October 2016.
Crime and Punishment at 150 video interview:
“Katherine Bowers.” ASEEES Membership Spotlight. February 2014.
“Text and the Message: Russia’s Early ‘Information Age’.” Interview with Simon Franklin and Katherine Bowers. Research Horizons 22 (Oct. 2013): 8-9.