Hilah Kohen

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Ph.D. Student

Hilah Kohen's research centers Juhuri (Kavkazi Jewish) history to engage with international relationships among grassroots literary movements from the late nineteenth century to the present. They are particularly interested in how socialist and post-socialist literary communities navigate questions of language choice, and how writers from small language communities that were marginalized by Soviet colonialism used socialist networks to form international ties. These questions relate to broader concerns such as the linguistic homogenization of literary studies, language and gender, environmental theories of language, theories of political organization, and relationships between Marxism and decolonization. In addition to Juhuri and Russophone texts, Hilah's work relates to Hebrew, Turkic, and Anglophone literatures.

Along with Valeriya Nakshun, they lead a biweekly Juhuri language and culture study group that aims to circumvent the lack of language-learning materials available to English-speaking Juhurho (Kavkazi Jews). With fellow COML student Liz Rose, Hilah also organizes the literary translation collective Transversal.

They previously covered current events in the Russian Federation as an editor for the international edition of Meduza, an independent Russian news and culture outlet. Their areas of focus there included contemporary literature, the climate crisis, and regional politics. These interests continue to shape their translations, which include excerpts from Olga Breininger's half sci-fi, half autofictional novella There Was No Adderall in the Soviet Union. You can find some of Hilah's recent work in the "Russophonia" issue of Words Without Borders (co-edited with Josephine von Zitzewitz) and the Winter/Spring 2022 issue of Gulf Coast.

Hilah has been involved in the following scholarly collaborations:

  • Kohen, Hilah, Irina Sadovina, Tetyana Dzyadevych, Dylan Charter, Anna Gomboeva, Lenore A. Grenoble, Jessica Kantarovich, and Rossina Soyan. “Teaching and Learning Indigenous Languages of the Russian Federation.” Russian Language Journal / Русский язык 71, no. 3 (2021): 89–115.
  • Kohen, Hilah, Katherine M. H. Reischl, Andrew Janco, Susan Grunewald, and Antonina Puchkovskaia. “Reading Race in Slavic Studies Scholarship through a Digital Lens.” Slavic Review 80, no. 2 (Summer 2021): 234–44.