Every summer, to bring the rain, the people of Shutilovo make effigies of “Stroma” and her daughter. The pair are laid out as for a funeral, and the villagers gather round to perform traditional laments and discuss the cause of death. The “mourners” come up with hilariously crazy explanations, often drawing on themes in the news (gender dysphoria, inadequate pensions, etc.) In the end Stroma and her daughter are torn to pieces, and rain follows soon after. Join this expedition team to document the ritual and interview the locals to uncover Stroma’s history and contemporary meaning for the people of Shutilovo.

Photo by Lily Posner.

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About This Expedition

  • Dates:

    June 8, 2020 to June 20, 2020

  • Location:

    NIzhnii Novgorod province of Russia, Shutilovo village

Meet The Team

  • head shot Yelena Minyonok

    Dr. Yelena Minyonok

    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.

Applications are now closed.
Please view our other upcoming trips!