Twentieth-century Russian literature, particularly the 1920's and 1930's; definitions of individual and national identity; how writers made sense—and art—of the radical reshaping of society following the Bolshevik Revolution; the fiction of Isaac Babel (1894-1940) and the transformations of his time.
Adjunct Fellow, University of Pennsylvania Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, 2002-2003.
Fellow, Northwestern University Center for the Humanities, 1993-94
Isaac Babel, 1920 Diary, edited and with an introduction and notes by Carol J. Avins, trans. H.T. Willetts (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995).
Border Crossings: The West and Russian Identity in Soviet Literature, 1917-1934 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983).
Articles and book chapters (selected):
“Isaac Babel and the Jewish Experience of Revolution,” in The Enigma of Isaac Babel, ed. Gregory Freidin (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009), 82-99.
"Isaac Babel's Tales of Collectivization: Rites of Transition in the New Soviet Village," Slavic Review 64, no.3 (Fall 2005)
" Jewish Ritual and Soviet Context in Two Stories of Isaac Babel," in American Contributions to the Twelfth International Congress of Slavists, Cracow, August-September 1998, ed. Robert A. Maguire and Alan Timber lake (Bloomington, IN: Slavica, 1998), 11-20.
" Yurii Zhivago's Readers: Literary Reception in Pasternak's Novel and in His Time," in Freedom and Responsibility in Russian Literature, ed. Elizabeth Cheresh Allen and Gary Saul Morson (Evanston: Northwestern University Press and The Yale Center for International and Area Studies, 1995), 213-20. Reprinted in slightly different form in Doctor Zhivago: A Critical Companion, ed. Edith W. Clowes (Evanston: Northwestern University Press and The American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, 1995), 49-61.
" Kinship and Concealment in Red Cavalry and Babel's 1920 Diary,"Slavic Review 53:3 (Fall 1994): 694-710.
"Reaching a Reader: The Master's Audience in The Master and Margarita,” Slavic Review 45 (Summer 1986): 272-85.
"Freedom and Emigration in Two Novels of Milan Kundera," Humanities in Society 7, nos.3-4 (Summer-Fall 1984): 151-60.
Irina Ratushinskaya, Beyond the Limit, co-translated with Frances Padorr Brent, Translator's Introduction by Carol J. Avins (Evanston, IL.: Northwestern University Press, 1987).
Professional Activities (selected):
Academic Council, Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1992-1996
SSRC-ACLS Review Committee on Soviet Studies, 1990-1991
Advisory Board, Slavic and East European Journal, 1985-1989
Program Committee, American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, 1989