Robyn Jensen

Visiting Assistant Professor of German and Russian
With Pomona Since: 2019
  • Expertise


    Robyn Jensen specializes in 20th-century Russian literature and culture, with a particular interest in the relationship between literature and the visual arts, theories of self-representation, theater and performance studies, as well as prison literature and abolitionist theories. She is currently working on two book projects. The first is a study of the novelist Vladimir Nabokov’s engagement with photography and visual culture. The second explores the skeptical fascination with photography in late and post-Soviet narratives of the self. She has written several articles (published and forthcoming) on Nabokov and visual culture, and her essays and reviews have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

    Research Interests

    • Photography and Visual Culture
    • Aesthetics and Interart Studies
    • Russian Theater
    • Vladimir Nabokov
    • Moscow Conceptualism
    • Prison Literature and Theories of Abolition

    Areas of Expertise

    Russian Literature and Culture

    • Photography Theory
    • Autobiography Studies
  • Work



    “Patterns and Paratexts: Teaching Nabokov’s Autobiography,” in Teaching Nabokov to Generation Z, eds. José Vergara and Sara Karpukhin (forthcoming from Amherst College Press)

    “Authorizing the Image: Photography in Nabokov’s Speak, Memory,” Slavic and East European Journal 63.2 (Summer 2019)

    Film Reviews

    Core of the World (Serdtse mira), dir. Natalia Meshchaninova, Kino Kultura 65 (July 2019)

    Pomegranate Orchard (Nar bağı), dir. Ilgar Najaf, Kino Kultura 60 (April 2018)

    Dream-fish (Ryba-mechta), dir. Anton Bilzho, Kino Kultura 56 (April 2017)

    Anna Karenina, dir. David Blair, Tolstoy Studies Journal: Anna Karenina for the Twenty-First Century (2016)

    Kurai-Kurai: Tales on the Wind, dir. Marjoleine Boonstra, Kino Kultura 52 (April 2016)

    “Indictment or Endorsement: Leviathan in Putin’s Russia” (Roundtable), Ulbandus Online (Spring 2015)

    Public Writing

    Written in the Face: On Sergei Lebedev’s Untraceable,” Los Angeles Review of Books, April 9, 2021

    “‘More Chekhov than Chekhov’: The Seagull on The Sims,” Los Angeles Review of Books. November 24, 2020.

    On Photography, Protests, and Citizenship,” Los Angeles Review of Books Blog. July 14, 2020

    Moscow-Beijing: A Journey Across Eurasia,” Harriman Magazine. Winter 2015.

  • Education


    Ph.D., Columbia University

    M.Phil., Columbia University

    M.A., Columbia University                                           

    B.A., Barnard College

    Recent Courses Taught

    • Crimes and Punishments: Prison Literature in Russia and America
    • Modern Russian Culture: From Pagan Rus to Pussy Riot
    • Building the Future: Revolution, Imagination, Utopia (Critical Inquiry Seminar)
    • Women in Soviet Film
    • Elementary Russian
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    Robert L. Belknap Dissertation Prize, Columbia University, 2019

    Summer Teaching Scholar, Columbia University, 2016

    Lead Teaching Fellow, Columbia University, 2015–16