The Russian History Seminar of Washington, DC, created in the spring of 2004, is the oldest and, some would say, perhaps the most convivial workshop in the Georgetown Institute for Global History series. Its regulars are historians and Slavists, faculty and PhD students who typically meet on Fridays at 5 pm to discuss works in progress—and then to while away the evening hours long after the seminar is done. One distinguishing feature of the Russian History Seminar is that the participants who convene on the Georgetown campus hail from institutions around the entire Washington region, from UVA to UMBC. It is also regularly visited by the many visiting scholars in the Russian/Eurasian field in residence in the area. In recent years, the seminar has become more interdisciplinary and more transnational, including anthropologists and other scholars expanding the borders of Eurasian history.
Originally founded by Eric Lohr of American University, Catherine Evtuhov of Georgetown (now of Columbia), and Michael David-Fox of Georgetown (then of UMD), the seminar has featured presentations of cutting-edge work in the field from scholars at all levels. Over the years, it has maintained a distinctive combination, a relaxed yet intensive mode of discussion. As a result, it has become one of the best known and most active Russian history workshops in the United States. One of the very first papers discussed, on February 13, 2004, was presented by the late Richard Stites, entitled “Russian Images of the Enemy in the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-5.” A devoted member of the seminar, Stites would disappear a bit before the end of the talks in order to capture a stool at Martin’s Tavern before they were all taken.