Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: Slavic Literature
Competition: US & Canada
Nancy Ruttenburg is a Professor in and Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature at New York University. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor of English at Harvard University (1987-90) and an Assistant (1990-96) and then Associate (1996-2001) Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her B.A. in English literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz (1980), and her M.A. (1982) and Ph.D. (1987) in comparative literature from Stanford University.
Her interests in American literature from the colonial to the antebellum periods and in nineteenth-century literature and culture are evidenced by her two monographs: Democratic Personality: Popular Voice and the Trial of American Authorship (Stanford UP, 1998), which, among other elements, examines the rise of an American popular voice in both religion and politics; and Dostoevsky’s Democracy (Princeton UP, 2008), which focused on the Russian author’s work after his Siberian exile and how that period of penal servitude among the serfs whose cause he had championed shaped his subsequent thinking and writings. Ms. Ruttenburg’s Guggenheim Fellowship project can be seen as a third and culminating volume in this series: in her study of Dostoevsky and the culture of American democracy she will trace the similarities in the national consciousnesses of the two apparently diametrically opposed cultures by juxtaposing the work of Dostoevsky with such seminal American authors as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, and Marilynne Robinson.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Ruttenburg has been a NEH Summer Fellow, ACLS Fellow, SSRC Russian and East European Studies/NEH Postdoctoral Fellow, and a University of California President’s Research Fellow.