Jessica Saeli is currently conducting research on patriotic education in Russia by reading, organizing, and analyzing data from Soviet and Russian textbooks and teachers' guides, from contemporary news sources from Russia and the United States, and from the manuals and website associated with the Russian military-patriotic youth movement, Yunarmia. The project focuses on the continuities and changes between Soviet patriotic education and contemporary Russian patriotic education under Putin and hopes to clarify the role of civic and political education in non-democracies in promoting loyalty and patriotism in the younger generations.
Saeli is also conducting a joint senior thesis in philosophy and Russian on the 20th-century Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev. The project will focus on Berdyaev's writings on love and death in his first major philosophical work: The Meaning of the Creative Act and his final work and autobiography: Self-Knowledge. The project hopes to show how Berdyaev's views on love are informed by but also inform his metaphysics and his personal life and experiences. Saeli will also translate several key passages from the Russian original of Self-Knowledge in order to create a fuller and more accurate translation of this work with which to conduct her research.
Saeli received a Summer Language Abroad Grant (SLA) to study Russian in an eight-week intensive Russian language program in Kyrgyzstan in the summer of 2018. She also participated in the Notre Dame Graduate School's Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) in the summer of 2019. Saeli worked with Prof. Ann Astell in Theology studying the work of Nikolai Berdyaev.
Thesis Title: Nikolai Berdyaev on Love and Death
Thesis Advisers: Alexander Jech and Emily Wang
I am interested in researching the intersection of philosophical thought with history, culture, politics, and literature. I focus especially on Russian history, culture, politics, and literature, as it provides a counterpoint to the West and Western philosophy.
I am currently researching patriotic education in Russia and in other non-democracies around the world. I have been focusing on researching the Russian military-patriotic movement "Yunarmiya," which promotes love of country and military among Russian youth.