Gabriella Safran

Gabriella Safran

Faculty Webpage

(650) 723-4414

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Building 40, Room 42K
Stanford, CA 94305-2006

Eva Chernov Lokey Professor in Jewish Studies

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures


Gabriella Safran has written on Russian, Polish, Yiddish, and French literatures and cultures.  Her most recent book, Wandering Soul:  The Dybbuk's Creator, S. An-sky (Harvard, 2010), is a biography of an early-twentieth-century Russian-Yiddish writer who was also an ethnographer, a revolutionary, and a wartime relief worker.

Safran teaches and writes on Russian literature, Yiddish literature, folklore, and folkloristics.  She is now working on a set of projects  investigating nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian and Yiddish fiction and theory in the context of the history of listening,. 

As the chair of the DLCL, Safran is increasingly interested in the reorganization of humanities departments and the implications of that for teaching, learning, and scholarship.


SLAVIC 194/394 Russia: Literature, Film, Identity, Alterity


How do Russian literature and film imagine Russian identity – and, in contrast, the ethnic or national Other?  Does political and literary theory analyzing national identity and the literary imagination elsewhere hold true in the Russian context? Texts include works by Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Blok, Mayakovsky, Platonov; Soviet and post-Soviet films; theory and history.  Recommended for returnees from Moscow, Slavic majors, and CREEES MA students.  Accepted for IR credit.  Readings in English and films subtitled; additional section for Russian readers. Taught in English.


SLAVIC 225 Readings in Russian Realism


For graduate students or upper-level undergraduates. What did Realism mean for late imperial Russian writers?  What has it meant for twentieth-century literary theory?  As we seek to answer these questions, we read Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, and Chekhov, alongside their brilliant but less often taught contemporaries such as Goncharov, Saltykov-Shchedrin, Leskov, Garshin, Korolenko, Gorky, Andreev, and Bunin.  Reading in Russian; discussion in English.


“History, Voice, Money, and Trees: ‘Rothschild’s Fiddle’ and the Jews,” co-written with Ben Knelman, in Approaches to Teaching the Works of Anton Chekhov, ed. Michael Finke and Michael Holquist, an MLA teaching volume, 2016.

Writing Jewish Culture: Paradoxes in Ethnography, volume of scholarly articles and source texts, co-edited with Andreas Kilcher and with co-written introduction, Indiana University Press, 2016.

“Listening in the Dark: The Yiddish Folklorists’ Claim of a Russian Genealogy,” in Writing Jewish Culture, 2016.

“Jewish Argument Style among Russian Revolutionaries,” in Journal of Jewish Languages, 2016.

Nathans, Benjamin, and Gabriella Safran Culture front : representing Jews in Eastern Europe. Philadelphia Pa. {;Bristol}: University of Pennsylvania Press {;;University} Presses Marketing [distributor], 2007.

Safran, Gabriella, et al. The worlds of S. An-sky : a Russian Jewish intellectual at the turn of the century. Stanford Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2006.

Safran, Gabriella. "Jews as Siberian Natives: Primitivism and S. An-sky's Dybbuk." Modernism/modernity. 13 (2006): 635-655.

Safran, Gabriella. "Andrei Makine's Literary Bilingualism and the Critics." Comparative Literature. 55 (2003): 246-265.

Safran, Gabriella. "Isaak Babel's El'ia Isaakovich as a New Jewish Type." Slavic Review. 61 (2002): 253-272. Abstract

Safran, Gabriella Rewriting the Jew: Assimilation Narratives in the Russian Empire (Contraversions). Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001.

Safran, Gabriella. "Ethnography, Judaism, and the Art of Nikolai Leskov." Russian Review. 59 (2000): 235-251.

Safran, Gabriella. "Dancing with Death and Salvaging Jewish Culture in Austeria and The Dybbuk." Slavic Review. 59 (2000): 761-781.

Safran, Gabriella. "Love Songs between the Sacred and the Vernacular: Pushkin's "Podrazhaniia" in the Context of Bible Translation." The Slavic and East European Journal. 39 (1995): 165-183.


Safran received the Ellen Andrews Wright Fellowship, Stanford Humanities Center in 2016.