Dennis Vovchenko

I grew up as part of the Russian minority in Kazakhstan, the former Soviet Union. In 1995 I moved to Russia to study at Moscow State Lomonosov University. Since Gorbachev's Perestroika, Russia has gone through a revival of Orthodox Christianity. To get a better understanding of my religious and cultural heritage, I chose to focus on the origins of the Christian Orthodox tradition in my undergraduate and graduate work in Moscow. In 1999 and 2001, I got my B.A. and M.A. with a major in Byzantine and Modern Greek studies and a minor in German. By that time, I spent several months in Greece for language practice and wanted to do more study abroad. In 2002, I was admitted into the Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota majoring in the history of Modern Europe and the Middle East. The History Department there boasts one of the few Modern Greek studies centers in the United States. So from language and literature, I shifted to the history of Greek and Russian relations. In 2008, I defended my dissertation about the ways the Russian educated society and politicians related to the Orthodox Christian minority in the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1912. My research fascinates me because of its comparative focus and its resonance for all those interested in the themes and concepts of religion, nationalism, empire, Orientalism, and modernity. I am excited at the great opportunities to develop history course at NSU bringing together my personal, teaching, and academic experience. I still have a lot to learn about Oklahoma, but I can say one thing for sure that it is warmer here than in either Russia or Minnesota.