#ElliottExpert: Peter Rollberg

#EE Rollberg

Peter Rollberg is Professor of Slavic Languages, Film Studies, and International Affairs and Director of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at George Washington University. Rollberg studied at Lomonosov University in Moscow and at the University of Leipzig where he earned his Ph.D. in 1988. He came to GWU in 1991 after teaching at Duke University. His main field of expertise is Russian literature and film, as well as Georgian and Kazakh cinema. His publications include articles in Russian, English, and German on Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Bulgakov, and filmmakers such as Yakov Protazanov and Sergei Bondarchuk. His Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Cinema was published in 2009 (second, enlarged edition 2016). In 2018, Rollberg coedited the volume Mass Media in the Post-Soviet World (with Marlene Laruelle). Peter Rollberg won the Bender Teaching Award in 1999 and the Trachtenberg Teaching Award in 2001.

  • Program/Institute: Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies
  • Area(s) of expertise: Film History (especially Russia and the former Soviet Union, Georgia, Kazakhstan); Russian and Soviet Literature and Culture
  • Undergrad Institution & Degree: University of Leipzig, M.A.
  • Ph.D. Institution & Thesis: University of Leipzig, “Vasilii Belov: Weltbild und Werk”
  • Fall 2019 Courses: Modern Russian Literature I and II


What made you interested in your field of study/expertise?

As a child, I lived for four years in Moscow and attended a Russian high school, which awakened my interest in Russian literature and culture. Furthermore, I was cast in a lead part in Soviet children’s film, Hurray! We Have Holidays! (Ура! У нас каникулы!), 1971.

What courses did you enjoy the most while still in school and why?

I always enjoyed history and literature, but also physics.

What do you wish more people knew about your field?

Film and literature are more than entertainment – when taken seriously, they are an excellent way to engage with both social, emotional, and aesthetic aspects of life.

What advice do you have for prospective students who are on the fence about applying to a graduate program at the Elliott school?

Europe and Eurasia are comprised of rich and profound cultures that shape their societies and politics. Studying International Affairs without immersing yourselves in particular cultures means to just deal with the surface of these countries. Architecture, music, cinema, and literature are pathways leading to essential insights about the countries whose politics you study!

 Favorite place to unwind after class?

Walking home to Arlington, crossing Key Bridge and enjoying the sunset.

The #ElliottExpert series highlights current Elliott School professors and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective, current, and incoming students. The views expressed by professors profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.

For more information or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu.