Slavic and Eurasian Studies

Dr. Marina Alexandrova Featured Expert in Netflix's The Last Czars

Fri, July 12, 2019
Dr. Marina Alexandrova Featured Expert in Netflix's The Last Czars

CREEES is proud to announce that Dr. Marina Alexandrova is featured in the new Netflix docudrama The Last Czars! The six-part series recalls the reign of Czar Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia (if his brother’s one-day reign doesn’t count), and the terrible fate of the royal family at the hands of Lenin’s henchmen. The story is not only relayed via dramatization, but is also intercut at crucial moments with real footage of the events being portrayed, and is accompanied by knowledgeable commentary from various scholars, including our very own Associate Professor of Instruction in the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, Dr. Marina Alexandrova!

Originally from Saratov, Russia, Dr. Alexandrova has long been a student favorite, garnering recognition as one of Alcalde’s “Texas Ten of 2019,” which is a distinction chosen by alumni to honor their most inspirational professors. With course offerings such as Russian Through Drama (RUS 326) and Rebels and Revolutionaries in Russian History and Literature (REE F325), as well as teaching and coordinating our Russian language curriculum, Dr. Alexandrova always finds interesting ways to apply the learning experience, and her insight on The Last Czars is no exception.

Dr. Alexandrova was first approached by producers in September 2017 with an invitation to give commentary for a documentary thanks to her Rebels and Revolutionaries course and her stated interest in revolutionary movements and dissent. After phone interviews and speaking with production staff about the project, she was ultimately flown to New York where she gave several hours of interviews. She says it was “fascinating to work with such a great team of professionals, the producer was incredible… I’m so grateful for the whole experience. It made me revisit, rethink, and reformulate a very critical period of Russian history, which has informed my teaching, as well. I am now incorporating the most recent research out there in my courses on this topic. I was also glad to have a chance to present a more historically accurate and well-researched version of the events. The fact that it’s not just a costume drama, that they are sticking to the known facts and not making dramatic character embellishments… The series presents these prominent historical figures as complex human beings with their ambitions, weaknesses, and strengths.”

Dr. Alexandrova adds that providing historical commentary on film felt like a natural genre with which to share her interests and knowledge on this crucial period in history, which had implications around the world. “Because of the wide reach of Netflix, it was such a unique opportunity to spread historically accurate account of the events. In an era of ‘fake news,’ the opportunity was even more poignant for me,” she says. If given another opportunity to present Russian history and culture for an appropriate film project, she would gladly consider it. In the meantime, you can catch our resident Netflix star in the classroom this fall, teaching Russian language and culture.

Dr. Alexandrova will be teaching Intensive Russian I and Russian Through Drama in Fall 2019. She will be in Paris in Spring 2020 on a research fellowship with Paris X, teaching two graduate seminars and conducting archival research on another character of deep interest to her: Mme Blavatsky.

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