Polina A. Maksimovich

Teaching Assistant Professor

  • Faculty

What I do

At DU I teach Elementary Russian language sequence, as well as courses in Russian literature and culture.


proficiency-based instruction<br>curriculum design<br>Soviet theater and drama

Professional Biography

A native of Lipetsk, Russia, Polina’s research lies at the intersection of drama, performance, and contemporary Russian politics. She received her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Northwestern University, where she studied 20th-century drama and theater, as well as gained experience in curriculum design and second language pedagogy. She joined the University of Denver in 2021 where she works closely with colleagues within the Center for World Languages and Cultures to further develop and promote the Russian program. Before coming to DU, Polina taught at Northwestern University, Loyola University Chicago, and Arizona State University. Her academic interests include project-based learning, instructional technologies, and the ‘New Drama’ movement.


  • Ph.D., Slavic Languages and Literatures, Northwestern University, 2020
  • MA, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Northwestern University, 2014
  • BA, Linguistics and Teaching English Language, State Classical Maimonides Academy, 2008

Professional Affiliations

  • American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European
  • American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators, and Directors of Language Programs
  • American Council of Teachers of Russian
  • American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
  • Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies
  • Canadian Association of Slavists
  • Central Association of Russian Teachers of America
  • International Association for Language Learning Technology
  • Modern Language Association
  • National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages


My current work in progress is the analysis of the play "Duck Hunting" by the Soviet dramatist Aleksandr Vamilov. This paper focuses on the re-invention of the superfluous man tradition in the 20th-century modernist drama, in which the tragicomic protagonist functions as an artistic figuration of the concealed conflict between the individual and the Soviet system. In particular, I investigate the playwright-protagonist relationship and the role of self-fashioning in cultivating the author’s image of the self through the theatrical device of fake suicide. In my analysis, a complex understanding of selfhood in the Soviet period is refracted through the performative optic, in which the protagonist’s attentiveness to self-presentation becomes the author’s mechanism to fashion and disfigure himself in his writing.