Universiteit Leiden

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Ksenia Robbe

University Lecturer

Dr. K. Robbe
+31 71 527 2358

Ksenia Robbe works in the fields of African, Russian and Comparative literature. Her doctoral research engaged with the possibilities of writing transcultural literary history in South Africa, focusing on dialogues around the imaginations of motherhood, writing and politics in women's writing. The book based on this research, Conversations of Motherhood: South African Women's Writing Across Traditions, was published by the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press in 2015. Her current research explores comparative perspectives on memory and social transformation in contemporary Russian and South African literature, theatre and art. First outcomes of this research have appeared in TNTL, Peripherie and Third Text.

More information about Ksenia Robbe

Fields of interest

  • South African literature, art and theatre
  • Contemporary Russian literature and art
  • Postcolonial and post-socialist memory practices


My current research focuses on practices of memory in post-soviet and post-apartheid literature, film and art. I am approaching contemporary expressions of disillusionment, dissatisfaction and resentment in these post-repressive societies through the lens of nostalgia as a practice of resisting narratives of transition. This research looks into the possibilities of public culture and transnational linkages against the backdrop of persisting Cold-War imaginaries and reinforced social inequalities. 


Courses currently taught
  • Postcolonial Representations (BA Hons)
  • Global Memory Practices (BA)
  • Censorship and Social Transformation (BA)
  • Introduction to Gender Studies (BA Hons)
  • Thesis Seminar ‘Russia & Eurasia’ (BA)
  • Literature, Art and Culture in Africa (MA)
  • Literature and Society, co-teaching (MA)
Courses previously taught
  • Culture: Africa (BA)
  • Globalisation and Cultural Studies (BA)
  • Art of Reading (BA Hons)
  • Postcolonial Intellectuals and Exile (MA)
  • Engendering Transformation: African Women’s Writing (BA)
  • Introduction to South African Literatures (BA)

Curriculum vitae

Research and teaching positions

Since August 2012 - Assistant professor at LUCAS, Leiden University
March -July 2012 - Lecturer at the English Department, Chair of English, Postcolonial and Media Studies, University of Münster, Germany

Jan. - March 2012 Postdoctoral Fellow with the Research Group Universality and the Acceptance Potential of Social Knowledge: On the Circulation of Knowledge between Europe and the Global South, University of Freiburg, Germany

Nov. 2011 – Feb. 2012 Research Assistant in International Affairs at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, University of Giessen, Germany

Oct. 2007 – Sept. 2011 Ph.D. Fellow at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC), Gießen, Germany

Research stays

African Studies Centre, Leiden (2017)
Centre for African Studies, Cape Town (June-July 2013)
Fieldwork in Cape Town (July 2014, January 2017) and St. Petersburg/ Moscow (July 2017)

Academic degrees

November 2011 Ph.D. in English and American Literary and Cultural Studies (summa cum laude), University of Giessen
Thesis: “Dialogics of Motherhood: South African Women’s Writing and the Politics of Translocation”
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Ansgar Nünning (University of Giessen), Prof. Dr. Ena Jansen (University of Amsterdam)

July 2005 M.A. in African Studies/African Literatures (with distinction), Faculty of Oriental and African Studies, St. Petersburg State University

2005 B.A. in Teaching Russian as a Foreign Language, Department of Russian as a Foreign Language, St. Petersburg State University

2004 M.A. in Translation and Interpretation, English-Russian, Department of English Language and Translation/Fedorov Centre for Translation Studies, St. Petersburg State University

2003 B.A. in African Studies, Languages and Cultures of Southern Africa (with distinction), Faculty of Oriental and African Studies, St. Petersburg State University

Grants and awards

  • Part-time research leave grant awarded by the African Studies Centre, Leiden for 2017
  • Prize of the Society for Dutch Literature for the best article published in 2015-16
  • Herbert Stolzenberg Award for an outstanding Ph.D.-thesis in the study of culture, 2012
  • Post-doc scholarship with the Research Group 'Universality and the Acceptance Potential of Social Knowledge: On the Circulation of Knowledge between Europe and the Global South’, University of Freiburg, 4 months in 2012
  • Ph.D. scholarship funded by the German Research Foundation’s (DFG) Excellence Initiative, 2007-2011
  • Award for the best B.A. thesis in philology, St. Petersburg State University, 2004

University Lecturer

  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Centre for the Arts in Society
  • KG Moderne beeldende kunst

Work address

van Wijkplaats
Van Wijkplaats 2
2311 BX Leiden
Room number 1.03a



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