Board of Directors
American Friends of Russian Folklore is a California nonprofit public benefit corporation. Our current Board of Directors includes:
Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Stanford University
Gabriella Safran, the Eva Chernov Lokey Professor in Jewish Studies at Stanford University, teaches in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. She is the author and editor of prize-winning books on how Russian novels describe Jewish assimilation and on the relation between Jewish literature and anthropology; her biography of a pioneering Russian-Jewish writer, ethnographer, and revolutionary, Wandering Soul: The Dybbuk’s Creator, S. An-sky, came out with Harvard University Press in 2010. Safran is now finishing a book on the intellectual history of Russian folkloristics, looking at discourse about listening, transcription, and verbal imitation across class lines in the mid 19th century, and beginning another book about the international pre-history of the Jewish joke.
President, American Friends of Russian Folklore
Professor of Russian, Folklore and Linguistics at the University of Kentucky
Jeanmarie Rouhier-Willoughby is a Professor of Russian, Folklore and Linguistics at the University of Kentucky, where she teaches courses in language, linguistics, and folklore. She holds a PhD from the University of Virginia in Slavic Languages and Literatures. She began her study of Russian folklore in graduate school and researches folk religion, legend and ritual. Her favorite part of the country is western Siberia, especially in the winter, and she visits that region annually for her research projects.
Treasurer, American Friends of Russian Folklore
Dr. Ruth Warner just recently retired from a career of teaching high school German, French and Russian and is now teaching occasional classes at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. She has long been interested in folklore, especially Russian. While doing her graduate study at the Ohio State University, she sang with the Rusalka Russian Folk Chorus. Her dissertation topic was folklore in Russian literature, in particular the Russian Yuletide traditions in Pushkin’s Evgenii Onegin, Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Akhmatova’s Poem Without a Hero. She had already traveled to Russia numerous times but was excited to find out about the expeditions to the Russian villages. She has been on three expeditions, two in the summer to Siberia and one winter trip to the Cossack region, and hopes to go on more.
Library Technician, University of Northern Colorado, Archives & Special Collections
Kate Johnson is an archival assistant at the University of Northern Colorado’s Archives and Special Collections. She earned her M.A. in Public History from Loyola University Chicago, her B.A. in History and German from the University of Northern Colorado, and has worked in the field of museums and cultural institutions for over ten years. Her introduction to Russian folklore came through a 2013 AFRF expedition to Lyudinovo led by Dr. Ruth Warner and Dr. Yelena Minyonok.
Professor, Germanic & Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Colorado
Laura Olson Osterman received her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Yale University in 1994 and has an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Indiana University (1990). Her first book, Performing Russia: Folk Revival and Russian Identity (RoutledgeCurzon, 2004), investigated how and why intellectuals, entrepreneurs, and government policymakers reinvented Russian folk music and dance performance from the nineteenth century to the 2000s. When not teaching or researching, she might be found singing Russian or Bulgarian folk songs with Planina folk choir.
Correspondence Secretary, American Friends of Russian Folklore
Reference Librarian, North Seattle College
Margaret McKibben has been involved with Russian folklore as a student, collector and performer ever since she learned her first Russian folksong in seventh grade. She holds a BA in Russian Civilization and a Masters in Library Science. She is the author of Old Believers in North America, an annotated online bibliography. Ms. McKibben works as a reference librarian at North Seattle College in Seattle, Washington. She joins folklore expeditions to Russia every chance she gets.
Major Researcher and Chief Curator of the Folklore Archive
Gorky Institute of World Literature, Moscow
Lena Minyonok is a philologist, folklorist, and Principal Investigator of the American Friends of Russian Folklore. Dr. Minyonok graduated from the Philological Department of the Moscow State University, where she received her M.A. degree from in 1988. Her postgraduate studies were at the Gorky Institute of World Literature (Russian Academy of Sciences, 1988-1991). She received her Ph.D. in Folklore (Moscow, 1998) and now serves as Chief Curator of the Folklore Archive and Major Researcher in the Folklore Division of the Gorky Institute. Dr. Minyonok has been a Principal Investigator for countless folklore expeditions and has published over 60 articles about Russian folklore traditions. Most recently, she has led expeditions for the American Friends of Russian folklore in conjunction with the Institute of World Literature at the Russian Academy of Sciences. She was a visiting professor at the University of Kentucky in 2007, as a Fulbright scholar.