Mr. Aaron Michael Thompson
Aaron M. Thompson is a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures. His research interests include Modernist literature in Russia, the history of Slavic Orthodox Christianity and the Russian Orthodox Church, the influence of religious and secular philosophy on Russian literary culture, Natural Language Processing for Slavic languages, and computational approaches to digital textual analytics. His dissertation, “A Revolutionary Gospel: Secular Transpositions of Orthodox Narrative and the Post-Christian New Soviet Person (1905-1917)” investigates how pro-revolution literature recontextualized elements of traditional Christian written culture (Bible, hagiographies, Church Fathers) to create a novel, secular cultural narrative for a post-revolutionary, post-Christian society. In addition to providing evidence for its literary arguments, the project aims to contribute a digital methodology and platform for understanding intertextuality and characterization in fiction using Machine/Deep Learning approaches.
In addition, he is currently working as a research assistant on Mapping Imagined Geographies of Revolutionary Russia (1914-1922), an IATH-supported project on changing place-based identity around the territories of the Russian Empire during World War I, the 1917 Russian Revolution, and the Russian Civil War. Aaron is also helping develop the first completely digital Russian-language textbook using the H5P suite of tools. He previously worked with UVA’s Learning, Design & Technology to manage the Language Commons and develop training materials for digital pedagogy. In 2020-2021, he was a fellow of the Scholars’ Lab Praxis program, during which he collaborated with 5 other doctoral students to build Connection Established, a resource for learning and teaching in the 21st century. Prior to UVA, Aaron received bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology and Russian from the University of Arizona and worked as an education director for a private school in Almaty, Kazakhstan.