Milica Ilicic

Milica Ilicic


Milica Iličić is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Slavic Languages affiliated with the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society.

Her dissertation, Joy in Dark Places, puts Mikhail Bakhtin in conversation with contemporary theories of affect, exploring possible connections between ethical actions, aesthetics, and joy. Bakhtin’s concepts of dialogism, polyphony, and carnival are applied to Dostoevsky’s novels as well as films of the Yugoslav director Dušan Makavejev, and extended beyond the literary medium they emerged from. Earlier in her studies, Milica conducted research in multiple areas that explore the topic of embodiment, including world dance traditions and trauma theory.

In Spring 2021, she taught an undergraduate course of her own design, Thinking Bodies: Literature, Film, and Performance. The course description, syllabus, and student final projects can be found on a dedicated website. In the past, she acted as sole instructor for Russian and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language, and as teaching assistant on content courses on Slavic culture and literature.

Over the past five years, she has worked with professor Aleksandar Bošković to create a comprehensive online open educational resource for teaching and learning Elementary Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, now publicly available at this website.

Aside from her academic work, she works as a bidirectional English/Serbian translator and oral interpreter, and as a consultant for tech and venture capital companies.

Areas of Interest

Affect theory

Dostoevsky and Bakhtin

Yugoslav Black Wave film 


MPhil – Slavic Languages and Comparative Literature – Columbia University (2019)

MA – South Slavic Literature – Columbia University (2017) 

BA – Comparative Literature and Linguistics – Queen Mary, University of London (2015)

Courses Taught

Thinking Bodies: Literature, Film, and Performance, Sole Instructor and GSAS Teaching Fellow, Spring 2021

Intermediate Russian, Sole Instructorship, Fall 2020

Beginners Russian, Fall 2018-Spring 2019 (sole instructorship)

Elementary Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Fall 2017-Spring 2018 (sole instructorship) 

Literature and Revolution, Spring 2017 (TA for Edward Tyerman) 

Slavic Cultures, Fall 2016 (TA for Alan Timberlake)

Conference Presentations

  • 2021: “Communism, Capitalism, Carnival: Genre and Ideology in Dušan Makavejev’s Sweet Movie”. American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages 21st Annual Conference, February 25th-28th 
  • 2020: “Anxious Vitalism and the Religious Impulse in Ivan Karamazov’s Rebellion“. Association for Slavic and East European, and Eurasian Studies 52nd Annual Convention, November 5th-8th
  • 2019:    “Ivan Karamazov’s Fuzzy Feelings: Cognitive Possibilites for a Non-Euclidean Mind”. Association for Slavic and East European, and Eurasian Studies 52nd Annual Convention 51st Annual Convention, November 23rd – 26th  
  • "Performative Victimhood and the Right to be Unhappy in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot,” at ASEEES, Boston Copley Marriott Hotel, December 8th 2018
  • “Distant Dialogues: Discovering Affect in Mikhail Bakhtin’s Philosophy of the Creative Self,” at Capacious: Affect Inquiry/Making Space, Millersville University, August 8th-11th 2018
  • “Prince Myshkin’s Bleeding Heart: Towards an Affective Reading of Dostoevsky,” at the Columbia-Princeton Graduate Conference, Columbia University, March 30st 2018
  • “Negotiating Imperial Legacies: Gender, Race, and Nationhood in Borisav Stanković’s Impure Blood,”at NESEEES, NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, April 1st 2017
  • “Privatization, Occupation, Enterprise: A Case Study of Belgrade’s ZvezdaCinema,” at Commons: Public Spaces After Socialism, Harriman Institute, Columbia University, April 29th 2017
  • “Trauma, Displacement, and the Visual Media in Aleksandar Hemon’s The Question of Bruno“, at LANGSA graduate student conference, University of Conneticut, November 11th 2016


Russian, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (native) 

German, Spanish (elementary reading proficiency)