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USC Dornsife alumnus Bill Altaffer is among the most traveled people in the world. He has exhausted 12 passports and 130 visas, visiting all 192 United Nations countries plus 300 island groups. Here he is pictured on the summit of China's Mount Hua Shan surrounded by red Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags. Photo courtesy of Bill Altaffer.

Trojan Globetrotter

November 15, 2013

William “Bill” Altaffer has feasted on boiled cobra washed down with warm snake’s blood from a street stall in Bangkok, Thailand. He’s polished off a plate of baked crocodile skewered on a Masai sword…

In <em>The Russian Avant-garde, Siberia and the East</em> exhibition, abstract imagery from Russian Avant-garde artist Wassily Kandinsky’s 1919 oil painting <em>White Oval</em> was inspired by shamanistic artifacts from Siberia. Image courtesy of the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Shamans and the Russian Avant-garde

September 26, 2013

White Oval is an enigmatic canvas of bright colors and intricate, abstract shapes on a pale background. Considering Wassily Kandinsky’s 1919 oil painting might leave you groping for context. Indeed, the artist himself…

In March, students traveled to Russia, where they crossed five time zones on the Trans-Siberian Railroad en route from Moscow to Lake Baikal in central Siberia. The trip included cultural sightseeing in Moscow and on-site lectures by the Russian Academy of Sciences on environmental issues affecting the lake. Photo by Francesca Martens.

Breaking the Ice in Siberia

June 5, 2013

Spring break tends to conjure up images of tropical beaches, sunshine and around-the-clock swimsuit fashion. There’s one thing it definitely does not bring to mind: Siberia. Putting the “alternative” in…

Problems Without Passports: Politics and Security in the Arctic

North Pole Politics

August 31, 2012

The Arctic is the land of the midnight sun, ice-covered ocean and permafrost. Here, at the tippy top of the northern hemisphere, is a remote and beautiful landscape at the heart of a complex situation. As polar ice caps are…

Two Russian satirical journal covers from the Institute of Modern Russian Culture’s vast collection. A selection of journals will be featured in the new USC Libraries exhibition “Demonocracy: All Hell Breaks Loose in 1905 Russia,” held in the library’s Treasure Room through Dec. 16, 2011.

Illustrated Evils

September 23, 2011

A winged vampire feeds on a girl’s lifeless body. A skeleton dressed in a black cape and epaulettes juggles a knife, two pistols and a cannon ball. A woman holding a red flag emblazoned with the word svoboda…

Institute of Modern Russian Culture Director John Bowlt stands next to a phonograph collection and original sound recordings of music and historic voices of Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Leo Tolstoy. Bowlt has been awarded the Russian Federation Order of Friendship for his considerable contributions to disseminate Russian cultural accomplishments. Photo credit Taylor Foust.

President Medvedev Awards John Bowlt Friendship Order

October 5, 2010

John Bowlt, professor of Slavic languages and literatures in USC College, has been awarded the prestigious Russian Federation Order of Friendship. Bowlt received the official certificate signed by Russian Federation President…

The Institute for Modern Russian Culture’s rare collections were recently opened to undergraduates. Students, faculty and researchers include (top row, from left) Adele Di Ruoco, Sarah Mogen, Marc McKinnon, Mark Konecny, Tiffany Schallert, Melissa Choi, Philip Meyer, Haley Reed, Oleg Minin, John E. Bowlt, (bottom row, from left) Nicholas Davis, Richard Kitterman and Nicoeta Misle. Photo credit Emily Cavalcanti.

Undergrads Open a Window to Russia's Past

February 26, 2010

The rare collections of Soviet-era artifacts, Russian literature, phonograph recordings, and Perestroika kitsch possessed by the Institute for Modern Russian Culture (IMRC) were only available for study to graduate students…

Jeri Chase Ferris and Oleg Minine stand next to a handmade hooked rug of poet and playwright Vladimir Mayakovsky, which Ferris and her late husband bought from an elderly woman standing in the snow in Izmailova. Photo credit Taylor Foust.

From Russia With Love

April 15, 2009

Opening in 1926, the historic Shrine Auditorium Building with its Moroccan architecture and golden dome cupolas has been most famously a venue for the Oscars. Now it's a venue for scholarly research. The Institute of Modern…