Dr. Kirjanov has been teaching Russian language, literature and culture to undergraduates since her graduate school days at Yale University. As a bilingual speaker of Russian and English, she is interested in second language acquisition and in developing courses that prepare students for proficiency in professional Russian. Her research in language also focuses on developing pedagogical texts based on Russian children's literature and lyrics of popular songs. Making language come alive through cultural experience is a primary goal in her classes. To this end students reinforce their linguistic knowledge by singing Russian songs, cooking and eating together, writing toasts, making crafts, watching films, and reading and translating articles from the Russian media. She has traveled to Russia several times for research and has supervised numerous summer study seminars for students.
Her research in Russian literature has focused on constructs of memory and remembering in the prose of Anton Chekhov and his writing as it relates to social, religious, and philosophical trends in Russian culture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The cultural connections between this period and the Russian Diaspora of the 20th century have informed her more recent research on Russia émigré culture and memoir literature, particularly by Russian writers in America.