Although born and raised near Chicago, Professor Richards has lived in Rome for nearly a decade, where she teaches literature at John Cabot. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in English at Hunter College in New York, Professor Richards pursued her passion for Russian literature by living in Moscow for nearly three years of cultural immersion in preparation for graduate studies. She received her PhD from the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016. With over fifteen years of teaching language and literature classes at higher education institutions in both the United States and Italy (University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Texas at Austin, Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”), she is happy to call John Cabot her home.
Having completed her dissertation on Alexander Pushkin’s engagement with world history in 2016, Professor Richards has continued to publish primarily on his work. The same year she received her PhD, she published an article in the premiere Russian journal for discoveries about Pushkin entitled “About a source for ‘A Tale from Roman Life’,” in which she revealed Pushkin’s use of an English novel for his descriptions of an Italian villa in an unfinished work. The next year, an analysis of Pushkin’s portrayal of Cleopatra as a multi-layered femme fatale, “Aleksandr Puškin’s Killer-Cleopatra: A Poetic Emblem of Historical Change,” came out in the Italian journal Russica Romana. In 2021 she published an overview of Pushkin scholarship coming out of the US in Vremennik pushkinskoj komissii (The Pushkin Commission Chronicle). She is currently finishing a book on Pushkin and Western European history. Professor Richards maintains membership in both the American and Italian professional associations for Slavic studies, and collaborates with various Italian Slavic studies journals in the capacity of English language editor.
At John Cabot Professor Richards has had the opportunity to teach a variety of courses, ranging from Shakespeare to Radicalism in Literature to English Romanticism to The Russian Novel. Whether it’s William Blake, Mary Shelley or Leo Tolstoy, it is always her goal to transmit the joy of reading to her students, and to ignite in them the desire to dig deeper and think more critically, not only about the text, but also themselves and the world they live in. Professor Richards pushes her students to grapple with challenging issues of race, gender, and class in their discussions and writing. She opens students’ eyes to various modes of expression and helps them appreciate the beauty of the written word. Learning to read and understand a text gets to the core of what it means to have a liberal arts education, which she sees as an integral part of preparing students to live well and fully in today’s changing world.