John Randolph, Director
John Randolph is Associate Professor of History at the University of Illinois. He specializes in the cultural history of the early Russian Empire, 1650–1850, focusing on the intersection between intellectual life and communication practices. His publications include The House in the Garden: The Bakunin Family and the Romance of Russian Idealism (Cornell, 2007) and “Communication and Obligation: The Postal System of the Russian Empire, 1700–1850.” John also serves as Editor-in-Chief of SourceLab, a program that explores the future of the historical record and helps students, faculty, and staff develop skills in digital documentary editing. John’s work has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Humanities Without Walls Consortium. He frequently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Russian history and historical method, as well as digital documentary publishing courses for SourceLab. John is currently completing a history of horse relays in the Russian Empire, titled When I Served the Post as a Coachman: Empire and Enlightenment in Russia.
Academic Website

Maureen Marshall, Associate Director
Research Associate Affiliate, Anthropology
Maureen is a bioarchaeologist whose research focuses on early complex polities and empires in the South Caucasus and Eurasia. She is Associate Director of Project ArAGATS and President of ARISC.  She serves on the advisory board for the Aragats Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Armenia’s cultural heritage through heritage preservation, development, and education. Her research interests include political subjectivity, the body, violence, disease and health in ancient populations, the archaeology of Eurasia and the Near East, and the history of physical anthropology.

Stephanie Chung Porter, Outreach and Programming Coordinator
Stephanie is a PhD Candidate in Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois. She received her B.A. in Plan II Honors/Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies in 2007; and her M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures in 2009 from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests are in Soviet literature and culture, Russian women’s writing, and Czech literature. Currently, she is writing a dissertation on Soviet women’s memoirs as literary and media texts. She has also taught first-year Russian courses and was a graduate student program coordinator for the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs.

James Fleener, Office Manager
James has his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois and continues to pursue his graduate work while working at REEEC. He is an avid traveler, hiker, and cyclist who dabbles recklessly in the culinary and musical arts

Ben Bamberger, Outreach and Programming Assistant
Ben recently defended his dissertation, “Mountains of Discontent: Georgian Alpinism and the Limits of Soviet Equality, 1923-1955,” in the Department of History at the University of Illinois. His research interests include Soviet Empire, Twentieth Century Georgia, and Socialist Sport and Touring.

Graduate Assistants

Maria Dorofeeva
Maria is a PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her primary research area is modern art, with an emphasis on issues of gender and sexuality.  Her dissertation, Fantasizing Manhood: Art and Sexual Politics in Spain, 1898-1939, examines the impact of visual culture on the formation of new masculine paradigms in early twentieth-century Spain.

Serenity Stanton Orengo
Serenity is a PhD student in Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois. She received her B.A. in Russian and Slavic Studies and English and American Literature from New York University in 2012, and her M.A. in Slavic Cultures from Columbia University in 2014. Her research interests include medicine in literature, Russian women’s writing, and gender and sexuality in literature and film. Her dissertation will trace acts of rebellion against traditional maternity—such as neglectful or adulterous mothers, abortion, or the use of contraception—in nineteenth-century Russian literature. She also teaches first and second-year Russian.

Danielle Sekel
Danielle is a graduate student in the Department of Musicology. Her research interests include modern interpretations of traditional Balkan musics and the construction of space, place, and belonging as found in Balkan music festivals in diaspora.