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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Erika Haber

Haber portrait


Russian Program Coordinator and Undergraduate Advisor

Russian Language ,Literature, and Culture

Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics

Russian Language Literature and Culture

Russian and Central European Studies

324 HB Crouse Hall

Research and Teaching Interests

Professor Haber's most recent research interests are in the fields of Russian children's literature, poetry, and fairy tales. She is currently working on a project that asks the questions: what exactly makes a poem a children's poem? What is the purpose of children's poetry? And, is it the same across cultures? Her latest book Oz behind the Iron Curtain: Aleksandr Volkov and his Magic Land Series was published in the Children's Literature Association Series by UP Mississippi in Dec. 2017. It received the LLL Faculty Outstanding Research Achievement Award in 2018. A paperback edition of the book arrives 2019. Previously, she specialized in the stylistics and verbal art of Russian post-Stalinist fantastic literature. The Myth of the Non-Russian: Iskander and Aitmatov's Magical Universe (2003) focused on the use and integration of native myth in the subtlety subversive magical realism of non-Russian Russian writers, Chingiz Aitmatov and Fazil Iskander. Her dissertation and earliest scholarship used Structuralist and Russian Formalist theories to investigate the fantastic realism of Siniavsky-Tertz, who was sentenced to hard labor in 1966 for the words of his fictional characters. Haber has also used her extensive language-teaching experience to compose three language texts, including a Russian self-study course, Mastering Russian (1994) and her Russian Phrasebook and Dictionary (1994). The fall of the Soviet Union caused significant cultural changes to Russian society, which necessitated composing a new text for the traveler, entitled Russian-English/English-Russian Dictionary & Phrasebook (2003/2007).


  • Ph.D., Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan, 1993
  • C.A.S. (Certificate of Advanced Study), Russian Translation, University at Albany, 1988
  • M.A., Slavic Languages and Literatures, University at Albany, 1987
  • Graduate study at Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1986-1987
  • Intensive graduate classes at the Russian School of Norwich University, 6-7/1985
  • B.A., magna cum laude, Russian major/double minor in German and History, U. at Albany, 1985
  • Intensive language classes at the Russian School of Norwich University, 6-7/1984



Road to Oz Leads to Russia

(Jan. 26, 2018)

Book highlights link between iconic American tale and Soviet adaptation

LLL Professors Rack up National, University Awards

(June 21, 2017)

Faculty bring distinction to Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics


  • Professor of Russian Language, Literature & Culture. Syracuse University, 2019-.
  • Associate Professor of Russian Language, Literature & Culture. Syracuse University, 2001-2019.
  • Assistant Professor of Russian Language, Literature & Culture. Syracuse University, 1995-2001.
  • Lecturer in Russian Language and Literature. Pomona College, 1994-1995.
  • Bilingual Lexicographer, 1986-1988. Helped to research, evaluate, and write entries. Input data and worked on typesetting of Dr. Sophia Lubensky's Russian-English Dictionary of Idioms, New York: Random House, 1995, 1117 pp. A revised and updated version was published by Yale UP in 2013.

Awards and Honors

Presented with the LLL Faculty Outstanding Research Achievement Award in 2018 for the book Oz behind the Iron Curtain. Aleksandr Volkov and his Magic Land Series (2017).

Selected as "Mentor of the Year,"" by Syracuse University’s Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising, 2017.

Appointed by the Institute for International Education to the National Screening Committee to evaluate Fulbright Scholar Research Awards for Russia and Armenia, 2015-16, for Russia, 2016-17, & for Russia and the Baltics, 2017-18.

Chosen one of Ten Outstanding Faculty Members in the Nation, 2012-13, by Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity. Selected from faculty representing over 120 colleges and universities.


  • 10 Language courses:

First- through Fourth-Year Russian language & grammar classes (RUS 101/102, 201/202, 301/302, 405/406); Also, Press Readings in Russian (RUS 319); Contemporary Russian Media (RUS 320);

  • 10 Literature courses (RUS 351 and 352), taught in Russian:

Introduction to 19th-C. Russian Literature; Introduction to 20th-Century Russian Literature; 19th-Century Russian Short Story; Avant-garde Russian Literature of the Twenties; Contemporary Russian Prose and Poetry; Aitmatov’s И дольше века длится день; The Poetic Language of Pushkin; Love and Death in 19th-Century Russian Fiction; Post-Stalinist Prose; The Golden Age of Russian Literature;

  • 6 Culture courses (RUS/LIT cross-listed):

Russian Culture Through Fiction and Film (RUS 331); Russian Fairy Tales and Folklore (RUS 332); Russian Literary Film Adaptations (RUS 361); Russia Today (RUS 362); Siberia: Indigenous, Environment & the Gulag (RUS 400); Revolution and the Russian Avant-garde (RUS 400);

  • Other: RUS 620: Russian for Graduate Research; RUS 499: Russian Honors Capstone; RUS 470: Experience credit; CAS 101: Freshman Forum.

More than four-dozen independent studies ranging from art history to scientific translation, from Russian science fiction to landscape architecture in Moscow;

Recent Scholarship

«Яркие образы и прекрасный язык: наследие футуризма в детских стихах В. Маяковского». (“Bright Images and Beautiful Language: The Legacy of Futurism in Maiakovskii’s Children’s Verse.”) Детские чтения (Children’s Readings). 12.2 (2017): 20-38. Peer-reviewed journal of the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House), Russian Academy of Sciences, published in St. Petersburg, Russia.

“Surrogate Fathers and Sons: Aleksandr Volkov’s Historical Novels for Children.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly. 42.2 (Summer 2017): 169-184. Peer-reviewed.

«Детская литература: обмен мнениями» (Children’s literature: an exchange of opinions) a joint project with Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie (New Literary Observer), published in Сноб 25.10.2016. (11,661 views). Solicited interview.

“Is Magic Land Oz? A.M. Volkov and the Question of Originality” Детские чтения (Children’s Readings). 6.2 (2014): 255-268. Peer-reviewed.

Recent Presentations and Participation

“Для чего поэзия нужна?: The Critics and Maiakovskii’s Children’s Verses,” American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages conference, 3 February 2018, Washington, D.C.

“A.M. Volkov’s Urfin Dzhius: Playful Fairy Tale or Post-Stalinist Allegory?” for the conference, “The High Stakes and Dark Sides of Children’s Literature,” sponsored by the Children’s Literature Association, Richmond, VA, 18-20 June 2015.

«The Conflict of Texts: A.M. Volkov's Magic Land Series» for the conference «Children's Literature as a Territory of Conflicts: Texts, Personalities, and Institutions» at the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House), the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia, 1 June 2014.

“Служить родине! Peter the Great in Aleksandr Volkov’s Два брата” for the panel History Through the Lens of Soviet Children’s Literature and Illustration at the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies Conference, Boston, MA. 21 November 2013.

“A Translator is More than a Translator: The Importance of Translations in Russian Children’s Literature,” Chair of the roundtable panel including participation by Olga Bukhina, Judith Inggs, and Michael Patrick Hearn at the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies Conference, Boston, MA. 23 November 2013.

“Alexander Volkov and The Wizard of Oz: or What Happens when a Mathematician becomes a Children’s Author” for the panel “Western Influence and Cultural Translation in East Slavic Popular Culture” at the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies conference, New Orleans, LA, 18 November 2012.

“Adaptation or Appropriation: How The Wizard of Oz was transformed into The Wizard of the Emerald City” American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, Philadelphia, PA, 29 December 2009.

“Communist Utopia Reconsidered: The Subversive Soviet Fairy Tales of Shvarts and Shukshin.” American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, Philadelphia, PA 23 November 2008.