Current projects

My first monograph, Writing Fear: Russian Realism and the Gothic (2022), argues that nineteenth-century Russian writers actively engaged with narrative models borrowed from European gothic fiction as they worked out how to write affective experiences such as fear, dread, and anxiety within the realm of realism. Building on my research in realism, I am currently co-editing The Oxford Handbook of Global Realisms with Margarita Vaysman. Building on her work in genre, Dr Bowers’s new book project is about environmental catastrophe, eco-anxiety, and reading climate fiction across the long nineteenth century.

I’m actively involved in Dostoevsky studies. I am Vice-President of the North American Dostoevsky Society and edit the Society’s blog, The Bloggers Karamazov. Building on the collaborative work Kate Holland and I have done in the past, we are currently working on Digital Dostoevsky, a digital humanities research project investigating Dostoevsky’s corpus using computational text analysis methodologies. The project is funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant (2019-25). I am also currently working on a dual literature-“twitterature” edition of Dostoevsky’s 1846 novella The Double, based on the @YakovGolyadkin project (2015).

I’m a member of the The Data-Sitters Club, a feminist collective led by Quinn Dombrowski that is building a comprehensive, colloquial guide to digital humanities computational text analysis using the Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin. The project tied for 1st place for the 2019 DH Award for “Best Use of DH For Fun” and tied for 3rd place for the 2019 DH Award for “Best DH Blog.”

Past projects

Dostoevsky at 200. In 2021 Kate Holland and I marked Dostoevsky’s bicentenary through a number of publications and events. Our edited volume, Dostoevsky at 200: The Novel in Modernity (2021), a collection of essays that engage with Dostoevsky and questions of form and historical context, was published in the summer. We also received a Connection Grant from SSHRC for a public outreach program in the fall. We worked together with an international team of scholars and students to plan and host a series of virtual panels, a virtual speaker series, a birthday party for Dostoevsky, and a blog series on Global Dostoevskys. We were invited to contribute various articles about the events for Literature of the Americas and Dostoevsky Studies. Finally, our co-written review article “Dostoevsky at 200: The State of the Field” appeared in the January 2022 issue of Russian Review.

Crime and Punishment at 150. In 2016 Kate Holland and I received a Connection Grant from SSHRC for a public outreach program celebrating the 150th anniversary of Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and PunishmentComponents of the project included a library exhibit co-written by Dr Bowers and her students, a virtual film festival, an online group read of the novel, a conference, a film screening and director Q&A, and the Twitter project @RodionTweets. Finally the project has led to several publications, among them  A Dostoevskii Companion: Texts and Contexts (2018), which I co-edited with Connor Doak and Kate Holland.

Information Technologies in Russia, 1450-1850. From 2012-2014 I was a postdoctoral Research Associate attached to the project “Information Technologies in Russia, 1450-1850” led by Simon Franklin. An interview about the project can be found here: Text and the Message: Russia’s Early Information Age. The project resulted in a conference, “Information Technologies and Transfer in Russia, 1450-1850,” which was held at Darwin College, Cambridge in September 2014 (program). Related publications include the co-edited volume Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia, 1600-1850 (2017) and several articles (20152017).


My work has been supported through funding for research, study, and collaboration from organizations and institutions including: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada); the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (Canada); the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies (UBC); the Public Humanities Hub (UBC); the University of Exeter; the University of Illinois Open Research Lab; Darwin College, Cambridge; the Centre for Eastern European Language-Based Area Studies (UK); the Fulbright-Hays and Title VI programs of the US Department of Education; the US Department of State’s Critical Languages initiative and Title VIII program; the American Council of Teachers of Russian; the American Councils of Learned Societies; and the American Council for Collaboration in Education and Language Study.