Beth Holmgren

Beth Holmgren

Professor of Polish and Russian Studies

External address: 
316 Languages Building, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90259, Durham, NC 27708-0259
(919) 660-3140

Beth Holmgren, a full professor of Polish Studies and Russian Studies, has published widely on Polish literature, theater, popular culture, and film; Russian literature, film, and women's studies; and Russian and Polish artists and performers in the North American diaspora.  Her recent scholarship focuses on Polish Jewish cultural history of the interwar period.  Her most recent book, Warsaw is My Country (2018), is a cultural biography of Krystyna Bierzynska, an acculturated Jewish Varsovian who survived the Holocaust and served as a 16-year-old orderly in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. Holmgren was elected President of the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies in 2008 (this is the largest organization in the Slavic field outside the region) and elected President of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies for the 2003-2005 term.  She is currently finishing her second stint as chair of Duke's Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies (2010-2015, 2016-2019).  Holmgren holds secondary appointments in Theater Studies and Gender/Sexuality/Feminist Studies. She is listed as a core faculty member for Jewish Studies.  For her updated curriculum vitae. see her site at


  • Ph.D., Harvard University 1987
  • B.A., Grinnell College 1975

Holmgren, B. “Writing the Female Body Politic (1945-1985).” In The Cambridge History of Russian Women’s Literature, edited by Adele Barker and Jehanne Gheith, 225–42. Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Holmgren, B. “The Importance of Being Unhappy, or Why She Died.” In Imitations of Life: Two Centuries of Melodrama in Russia, edited by Louise McReynolds and Joan Neuberger, 79–98. Duke University Press, 2002.

Holmgren, B. “Ameryka, Ameryka, czyli jak zyc w przekladzie.” In Zycie W Przekladzie, edited by Halina Stephan, 17–33. Wydawnictwo Literackie, Krakow, Poland, 2002.

Holmgren, B. “At Home with Sienkiewicz.” In Framing the Polish Home: Postwar Cultural Constructions of Hearth, Nation, and Self, edited by Bozena Shallcross, 219–36. Ohio University Press, 2002.

Holmgren, B. “Helena Modjeska on the American Stage.” edited by Anna Litak and Bianka Kurylczyk, 2–3. The Helena Modrzejewska Theatre in Krakow, Poland, n.d.

Holmgren, B. “"Nadezhda Mandelstam".” In YIVO ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JEWS IN EASTERN EUROPE, edited by Gershon D. Hundert. Yale UP, n.d.


Holmgren, B. “Those Unsettling Slavs, Or There's No Place Like Home.” Literary Studies East and West 11 (1996): 98–110.

Holmgren, Beth. “Why Russian Girls Loved Charskaia.” Russian Review 54, no. 1 (January 1995): 91–91. Full Text

Holmgren, B. “The Heart of the Matter? Nationalizing the Russian and Polish Romance.” Teksty Drugie (Texts 2) 3/4 (1995): 68–86.

Holmgren, Beth. “The Transfiguring of Context in the Work of Abram Terts.” Slavic Review 50, no. 4 (1991): 965–77. Full Text

Holmgren, B. “Rozmowy z Gombrowiczem.(Gombrowicz’s A Kind of Testament).” Pamiętnik Literacki (The Literary Journal) 1 (1990): 75–106.

Holmgren, Beth. “Witold Gombrowicz within the Wieszcz Tradition.” The Slavic and East European Journal 33, no. 4 (1989): 556–556. Full Text