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UW-Eau Claire Hosts Fulbright Visiting Scholar
from Russia

RELEASED: Jan. 25, 2005

EAU CLAIRE — Larisa Mikhaylova, a Fulbright Visiting Scholar from Moscow State University, will conduct research for a book on science fiction during a six-month research appointment at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Mikhaylova, who will be on campus until August, is researching the role of science fiction and science fiction characters in American society. The title of her proposal is "Science Fiction Characters: From Comics to Cult Figures of the 21st Century."

"The figures known as superheroes originally were found in comic books and comic strips and as such were mainly known by those readers," Mikhaylova said. "Now they have become the knowledge of everyone and are a part of popular culture. I want to see how this happened and understand what human needs these figures reflect."

For Mikhaylova the opportunity to do research in this country means she will have ready access to a wide spectrum of images. She is looking forward to viewing films and various primary sources and materials for her book, she said.

"I hope I can publish my book in both languages," she said.

Mikhaylova is on the journalism department faculty at Moscow State University. She earned a doctorate in 1982 from the Moscow State philological department. Her dissertation was titled "New Trends in British and American Science Fiction from 1960-1980."

She first heard of UW-Eau Claire from library professor Janice Bogstad, also a science fiction scholar.

"We met at a science fiction conference a few years ago," Mikhaylova said. "For that reason I made UW-Eau Claire one of my three choices on the Fulbright application."

As a secretary of the Russian Society of American Culture Studies, Mikhaylova coordinates the gender studies section of the group's annual conference. She also serves as the editor of the quarterly Russian science fiction magazine Supernova.

"I will be glad to share my knowledge about the state of American Studies in Russia, the modern situation in Russia, women in Russia, and, of course, science fiction," Mikhaylova said.

Karl Markgraf, director of the Center for International Education at UW-Eau Claire, is the Fulbright faculty adviser on campus. He said the university has hosted four Fulbright scholars in the last two years.

"Fulbright is the biggest international exchange program in the world," Markgraf said. "The basic inspiration for the program grew out of the horror of World War II. Sen. Fulbright wanted to mitigate the possibility of another catastrophic war by establishing the program to demonstrate the United States' commitment to democratic values world wide."

The program's goals are to increase understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchange; strengthen U.S. ties with other nations; promote international cooperation; and to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States and other countries.

Mikhaylova and her family are living in the Kjer House on campus. Her husband Vladimir Gerasimenko is a biophysicist. Their daughter, age 15, attends Memorial High School and their son, age 12, attends De Long Middle School.

To contact Mikhaylova, e-mail mikhayl@uwec.edu or call (715) 836-2616.

-30-

JW/JB

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