- Joint Appointment: Jackson School of International Studies
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1989, M.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1983, B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1981
I am a historian of Russia and the Soviet Union. Over the course of my career, I have become increasingly interested in the USSR’s involvement in transnational movements and processes, whether political, social, cultural, or economic. I have also pursued research interests in the history of Communism and world history. In addition to the books mentioned below, I’ve published articles on a number of topics in Soviet social and political history.
My first book, Power and the Sacred in Revolutionary Russia: Religious Activists in the Village (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997), examined the Bolshevik project of cultural transformation through a case study of peasants’ responses to the Soviet anti-religious campaign. In 1999, the book was awarded Honorable Mention for the Hans Rosenhaupt Memorial Book Prize from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.
In 2011, I published The Communist Experience in the Twentieth Century: A Global History through Sources (Oxford University Press. Through a collection of carefully selected documents, some presented for the first time in English translation, the book seeks to provide an inside look at how people around the world subjectively experienced, and contributed to, global communism.
My current book project is entitled Refugee Worlds: The Spanish Civil War, Soviet Socialism, Franco’s Spain, and Memory Politics. The general questions that frame the project are the following: what were the global consequences of the transnational lives set in motion by the defeat of the Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)? How do civil wars, and the refugee movements they propel, transform domestic polities, international systems, and transnational institutions? To address these issues, I examine the “refugee worlds” of the nearly 5000 child refugees, political exiles, and other Spaniards who fled to the USSR during or shortly after the Spanish Civil War. By “refugee worlds,” I mean the political, social, economic and cultural conjunctures that they imported in displacement, the unfamiliar societies in which they found themselves, and the new structures they helped to create.
Mapping these partially overlapping worlds requires attention to the distinct and sometimes intersecting path of Spanish Civil War refugees: to the different fates of the children (niños) who at first resided in 22 well-appointed state-run homes, to the odyssey through the Gulag of some Spaniards, to the political careers of Communist party leaders, to the repatriation of some Spaniards in the mid- to late-1950s, and to the posting of about 200 to Cuba in the early 1960s as Castro’s advisors. Through this careful reconstruction, my project seeks to make original contributions to the historiography of Soviet Union (Soviet dialogue with Western modernities, the cult of World War II, de-Stalinization), to historiography of the Franco and post-Franco eras (state repression, development of civil society, evolution of citizenship), to global communism and anti-communism (Spain’s role in the Cold War and Soviet aid in the Cuban revolution), twentieth-century European and world history (the role of international relief and advocacy organizations), to refugee studies (contingent production of a “refugee” identity), and to history and memory (the role of transnational organizations and advocacy networks). Thus far, I’ve conducted archival research for this project in the Russian Federation, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. I have interviewed former Spanish Civil War exiles, or their children, in Madrid and Moscow.
The Communist Experience: A Global History through Sources, Oxford: Oxford University Press, July 2011.
Power and the Sacred in Revolutionary Russia: Religious Activists in the Village. Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997. Paperback edition published March, 2008.
*Awarded Honorable Mention for the 1998 Hans Rosenhaupt Memorial Book Award of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.
Articles and Book Chapters
"To Russia with 'Spain': Spanish Exiles in the USSR and the Longue Durée of Soviet History," Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, 2014, Vol.15(2), pp.395-419.
"Bolsheviks and Emotional Hermeneutics: The Great Purges, Bukharin, and the February-March Plenum of 1937." Mark D. Steinberg and Valeria Sobol, eds., Interpreting Emotion in Russia and Eastern Europe. (De Kalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2011), pp. 128-151.
"Emotsii, politika osparivaniia i obshchestvennaia pamiat': is istorii Novocherkasskoi tragedii ("In the Realm of Russian Feelings: A Story from the Annals of the Novocherkassk Tragedy")," in Jan Plamper, Schamma Schahadat, and Marc Elie, Rossiiskaia imperiia chuvtsv: podkhody k kul'turnoi istorii emotsii(A Russian Empire of Feelings: Apporaches to a Cultural History of Emotions) Moscow: Novoe literarnoe obozrenie, 2010, pp. 456-479.
"Emotions, Contentious Politics, and Empire: Some Thoughts about the Soviet Case," in Ab Imperio, 2007: 113-150. Russian title, "Emotsii, politika osparivaniia i imperiia: nekotorye razmyshleniia o sovetskoi istorii"; Abstract in Russian, pp. 150-151.
"Fetishizing the Soviet Collapse: Historical Rupture and the Historiography of (Early) Soviet Socialism," in Russian Review, January, 2007.
"Terror in Pravda, 1917-1939: All the News That was Fit to Print," in Catherine Evtuhov and Stephen Kotkin, eds., The Cultural Gradient: The Transmission of Ideas in Europe, 1789-1991 (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2003), pp. 167-185. Peer reviewed. Contribution to a Festschrift for my teacher, the late Martin Malia.
"'Into Church Matters': Lay Identity, Rural Parish Life, and Popular Politics in Late Imperial and Early Soviet Russia, 1864-1928." Russian History/Histoire Russe 23: 1-4 (September 1996): 315-34.
"Trading Icons: Clergy, Laity, and Rural Cooperatives, 1921-28." Canadian-American Slavic Studies(September, 1992).
Co-editor, as series editor of Donald W. Treadgold Studies on Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia, of Reginald E. Zelnik, Perils of Pankratova: Some Stories from the Annals of Soviet Historiography(Seattle: University of Washington Press and Herbert J. Ellison Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia, 2005). This memorial volume is a tribute to my teacher and mentor, Reggie Zelnik. It includes his last manuscript, essays by Laura Engelstein, David A. Hollinger, Benjamin Nathans, Yuri Slezkine, and Glennys Young, as well as other material related to the study of Pankratova, a list of his doctoral students at Berkeley and their publications, and Zelnik's curriculum vitae.
Law in Russia, editor. The Donald W. Treadgold Paper in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies 101 (August 1994). The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington.