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Elena Rakhimova-Sommers

Provost's Faculty Associate for Non-Tenure Track Faculty and Principal Lecturer in Russian/Global Literature
1315 Liberal Arts
(585) 475-4417
Degree: Comparative Literature; University of Rochester (2001). Dissertation Title: The 'Ona' (She) of Nabokov's Hereafter: Female Characters as Otherworldly Agents in Nabokov's Fiction.
M.A. in International Relations and Conflict Resolution; University of Notre Dame (1993)
M.A. equivalent in English; Moscow State Pedagogical University (1991)

Nabokov, Russian literature, culture, film, and transnational feminism.
Courses Taught:
  • Great Authors: Dostoevsky/Tolstoy
  • Global Cinemas
  • Global Literatures
  • The Novel
  • The Short Story
  • Dangerous Texts (19th-20th century Russian Literature in translation)
  • Women’s and Gender Studies in Language and Literature
  • The Future of Writing



Rakhimova-Sommers, Elena, ed. Nabokov's Women: The Silent Sisterhood of Textual Nomads (Lanham, MD: Roman & Littlefield/Lexington Books)-published September 15th, 2017.








Peer-reviewed articles:

“Seeking Fertile, Patriotic Woman: Russian Public Awareness Advertising and Putin’s ‘Boost the Birthrate’ Campaign.” Törnquist-Plewa, Barbara/Bernsand, Niklas (eds): Cultural Transformations after Communism. Focus on Russia. De Gruyter Mouton Press—forthcoming, 2017.

“The New Woman is a Fertile One: Public Awareness Advertising and Russia’s ‘Boost the Birthrate’ Campaign.” From Russia with Love Open Access On-line Journal-

"Nabokov’s Mermaid: “Spring in Fialta”." Nabokov Studies, vol. 12 no. 1, 2009, pp. 31-48. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/nab.2009.0011.

“Nabokov and the Art of Translation: The Tale of One Sentence.” Лингвистика, лингводидактика, переводоведение: актуальные вопросы и перспективы исследования: сб. материалов Междунар. науч.-практ. конф. (20 ноября 2012) – Чебоксары: Изд-во Чуваш. ун-та, 2012. – c.219-225.

(Conference Proceedings -International Conference on Linguistics and Translation Theory: Current Issues and Research Perspectives (December 2012); Cheboksary: Chuvash University Press, Russia 2012, pp. 219-225)).

“The ‘Right’ versus the ‘Wrong’ Child: Shades of Pain in Bend Sinister and Pnin.Nabokov Studies 6 (2000-2001): 35-51.

“The 'Olgalized' Otherworld of Bend Sinister.” Russian Studies in Literature 35:4 (Fall 1999): 61-94.

    Work in progress:

    Nabokov’s Silent Nomads: Representation of Female Characters in Nabokov’s Fiction (edited collection).

    This volume is the first to focus on the role of the woman in Nabokov, and as such it fills a void in Nabokov scholarship by providing a gender contextualized analysis of his work.  Essays commissioned from distinguished Nabokov scholars explore the multilayered nature of Nabokov’s heroines (genuine and “pseudo chosen ones,” псевдоизбранницы): their voice and voicelessness (muteness), their absentness, the paradigm of power and sacrifice within which they are situated, the paradox of their unattainability, their complex relationship with femininity, fidelity, motherhood, with the travel narrative, and with the author himself. 

    The Globe Goes to the Movies Symposium

    DateApril 24, 2014

    Organized by Dr. Elena Rakhimova-Sommers (Department of English), The Globe at the Movies Symposium aims to celebrate and reflect upon the rich and multifaceted nature of global film. This event features film screenings and invited talks by film scholars and directors. The public forum format is an opportunity for students and faculty to ask probing questions about the film directors’ vision pertaining to complex issues faced by the rapidly changing global community.

    For more information please visit the Symposium website: 

    or contact:

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    Symposium: From Russia with Love: Literature, Music, Art, Film 

    Date: Thursday, April 18th

    Time: 8:30 am- 8:30 pm

    Location: Campus Center Reading Room & Bamboo Room (2nd floor), SAU 1829 (1st floor)

    Sponsored by: College of Liberal Arts, College of Liberal Arts Honors Program, M&T Bank, and Department of English.

    Organized by Dr. Elena Sommers (Dept. of English), From Russia with Love is a multifaceted Symposium that aims to support RIT Strategic Plan which underscores the importance of creating "enhanced opportunities for cross-cultural understanding and global awareness." The Symposium hopes to facilitate new discussions on Russian politics, philosophy, and art and build lasting cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural connections.

    From Russia with Love will include an array of events such as: academic papers, musical performances, a film screening, a stage production of Dostoevsky’s The Grand Inquisitor, and book & poetry readings. Conference proceedings will be published by the RIT Scholarly Publishing Studio.

    For full Program, visit the Symposium website

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