On Saturday, June 11th Dr. Hilde Hoogenboom presented “How Catherine Became ‘the Great'” as a part of the Russian History Museum’s Second Saturday online lecture series.

Throughout her engaging presentation, Hoogenboom discussed myths and lore surrounding the legendary 18th Century Russian ruler. Hoogenboom, an expert on Catherine’s memoirs and writing, referenced popular cultural adaptations and theories around Catherine’s life, lovers, and overall character. At the heart of this talk was an emphasis on studying Catherine the Great’s political rule and influence over Russia’s enduring role in arts, culture, and critical thought. Other areas of interest included Catherine’s tumultuous rise to the throne, ties to French Philosophical figures such as Voltaire, ties to the Russian History Museum’s collection, and portraits belonging to Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens in Washington, DC.

Dr. Hilde Hoogenboom’s talk concluded with an immersive live question and answer experience with the audience, covering everything from impressions of Helen Mirren’s BBC adaptation to court politics.

The Second Saturday lecture series is supported in part with federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds allocated to the New York State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

About the Speaker

Hilde Hoogenboom, PhD, associate professor of Russian in the School of International Letters and Cultures (SILC) at ASU, researches connections between nineteenth-century Russian literature, history, intellectual history, women’s studies, and digital humanities. She has a PhD from Columbia University. She is an expert on Catherine the Great and her memoirs, which she translated from French for Modern Library at Penguin Random House. The memoirs have sold over 15,000 copies.

Other publications include Noble Sentiment and the Rise of Russian Novels: A European Literary History (forthcoming with University of Toronto Press), supported by the National Humanities Center and Social Sciences Research Council, archival letters by Russian women writers, a collection on gender in Russian literature, and articles on Russian women writers. Her latest work examines the significance of representations of corruption in Russian literature for reimagining Russian writers as nobles and members of civil society. Dr. Hoogenboom was on the board of the Association of Women in Slavic Studies and past president of the Eighteenth-Century Russian Studies Association.