Visiting Scholars

Edward Cohn

Ed Cohn headshot
Grinnell College

Dr. Cohn specializes in the social and political history of the Soviet Union in the decades after World War II. His first book, The High Title of a Communist, analyzes the Soviet Communist Party’s system of internal discipline in the twenty years after World War II, focusing on investigations of corruption, war-time collaboration with the Nazis, drunkenness, and sexual misconduct among Communists. During his semester at the Obermann Center, he will be at work on a book about the KGB’s efforts to fight dissent and political unrest in the Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. His research will focus on the tactic known as the “prophylactic conversation,” in which the KGB sought to prevent low-level offenders from becoming hardened enemies of the regime by “inviting” them to supposedly informal “conversations” or “chats.”

Irina Patkanian

Headshot of Irina Patkanian
Independent Filmmaker

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Irina Patkanian came to the U.S. in 1991 after graduating from the University of St. Petersburg with a BA in English Philology. After receiving an MA degree in Linguistics from the University of Iowa, she was awarded an American Association of University Women Fellowship to pursue the MFA degree in Film Production. She studied film with Dudley Andrew and Leighton Pierce. In 1999 she moved to New York City with her son Gleb. Irina Patkanian makes hybrid and creative documentary mixing fiction and non fiction; live action and stop motion animation, film and theater. Irina is the president of “In Parenthesis,” a nonprofit film, theater and media arts company. She is a professor of media production at Brooklyn College. Irina is a recipient of grants from New York State Council of the Arts, Tow, Blaustein, Troy and Jerome Foundations. She is a currently working on an experimental film/theater/musical adaptation of...

Manuel Vilas

Headshot of Manuel Vilas

Manuel Vilas was born in Barbastro, in the Huesca region of Spain. Vilas has published 13 books of poetry to date. In addition to Gran Vilas, these include ResurrectionCalor, and more recently El hundimiento. He is the author of numerous novels, including España and El luminoso regalo, and has been widely published in newspapers and literary journals. During his semester at the Obermann Center, he will be working on a new book of nonfiction titled Crónicas americanas (American Chronicles), which will relate the author's confrontations with American culture and myths during his residence in several U.S. cities. 

Marion Schoevaert

Headshot of Marion Schoevaert
Independent Theatre Director

Marion Schoevaert is a French theater director who has translated and directed many works by French contemporary writers for performance in New York City. She also designed illustrations for Androcles and the Lion, at Avery Fisher Hall for a New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concert, as well as Tortoise and the Hare, Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Debussy’ String Quartet, Vivaldi’s The Seasons, Ravel String Quartet, and The Fox and the Sparrow, all for the Very Young People’s Concerts at Merkin Concert Hall. She is a founding member of In Parentheses Theater Company, based in New York, and a member of Nore Nori Kids Concert and Wuturi Company in Seoul, South Korea....