Russian History Seminar Series

The Russian History Seminar events take place on selected Friday afternoons, 5-6:30 pm, at Georgetown University ICC 662 (unless otherwise advertised).  All discussions are based on article-length texts pre-circulated one to two weeks in advance. Please contact Prof. Michael David-Fox for more information. If you would like to be added to the seminar’s email list, please email

Additional information is available on the official blog (new window) for this series.

The Russian History Seminar Series also includes the annual Jacques Rossi Memorial Fund Seminar. Click here for more information about the Jacques Rossi Memorial Fund for Gulag Research.


September 21 – Oleg Budnitskii (National Humanities Center, former Institute Director, HSE), “Ten Years of the Former Centre for History and Sociology of WWII and its Consequences/Institute for Advanced Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies in Moscow and Historiographical Trajectories in Putin’s Russia”

October 5 – Aglaya Glebova (University of California, Berkeley), Aleksandr Rodchenko: Photography in the Time of Stalin (Yale University Press)

October 19 – Mikhail Zygar (Independent Scholar, former editor-in-chief of Dozhd’), War and Punishment: Putin, Zelensky, and the Path to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine (2023)

November 2 – David Shearer (University of Delaware), The Secret Police and the Soviet System: New Archival Investigations, ed. Michael David-Fox (Pittsburgh University Press, 2023).
To be held at Mortara Center for International Studies, 3-4:30pm

November 28 – Fabian Baumann (University of Vienna), Dynasty Divided: A Family History of Russian and Ukrainian Nationalism (2023)

December 7 – Marlène Laurelle (George Washington University), “Engineering Ideological Production in Russia: Soviet Legacies and Neoliberal Mechanisms”

January 25 – Anna Graber (University of Minnesota), “Tropical Siberia: Understanding Russia’s Geological Past”

February 15 – Sarah Cameron (University of Maryland), “Aral: Life and Death of a Sea”

March 14 – Simon Belokowsky (Georgetown University), “Urbanization and the Ambitious State: Rural People and Industrialization in the USSR and East Asia”

April 5-6 – East Coast Russian/Eurasian History Graduate Student Conference (“Mega-Kruzhok”) – University of Pennsylvania

May 2 – Fifth Richard Stites Memorial Lecture – Catherine Evtuhov (Columbia University)
Title to be announced; Location: Healy 104

September 16 – Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter (California State Polytechnic University, Pomona), From Victory to Peace Russian Diplomacy after Napoleon  (open access, NIU/Cornell, 2021)

October 7 – Erina Megowan (Tufts University), “‘Are Our Concerts Useful?’ Soviet Frontline Entertainers in Search of a Role on the Eastern Front in WWII”

October 27-28 – International Workshop, “Revolutionary Experiences Compared: Russia and China under Communist Rule”

October 27 – Fourth Richard Stites Lecture – Juliane Fürst (ZZF Potsdam), “The Great Escape: Why Soviet Hippies Did Not Change the World”

October 28 – Roundtable Discussion: “Revolutionary Experiences Compared: Russia and China under Communist Rule”

November 18 – Book Talk: Mark Edele (University of Melbourne), Stalinism at War: The Soviet Union in World War II (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2021)

January 27 – Steve Harris (University of Mary Washington), “’People Die on Aeroflot’: Airplane Crashes and State Secrets in the Soviet Jet Age”
February 17 – Mikhail Dolbilov (University of Maryland), “Managing the Ruling House: Royals,
Bureaucrats and the Emergence of the 1886 Statute on the Imperial Family of the Russian
March 24 – Yurii Kaparulin (University of Michigan), “The Ruined ‘New World’: the Holocaust in
the Village of Nayvelt”
April 28 – Liudmila Novikova (Higher School of Economics, Moscow), “Famine and Survival
Strategies on the Soviet Home Front: Between Centralized Provisioning and Local Initiatives,
May 5 – Laurie Manchester (Arizona State University), “Becoming Soviet People? The Adaptability
of Russian Migrants Born or Raised in China”

November 5 – Yana Skorobogatov (Williams College), “Crime and Punishment at Home: Soviet Women and the Death Penalty after Stalin, 1954-1974”

November 17 – Catriona Kelly (Trinity College, Cambridge), “The Motherland and the Fight with Fascism: War Cult and the Soviet Cinema under Brezhnev”

November 30 – CERES Book Discussion: Vladislav Zubok’s Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Union with Vladislav Zubok (London School of Economics); Angela Stent (Georgetown); Serhii Plokhii (Harvard University); Michael David-Fox (Georgetown)

December 6 – CERES Symposium: The Soviet Collapse Thirty Years After. History, Geopolitics, Society, Culture, Memory with Michael David-Fox (Georgetown), Stephen Kotkin (Princeton University), Kathryn Stoner (Stanford University), Olga Shevchenko (Williams College), Elliot Borenstein (NYU), Kathleen Smith (Georgetown)

January 21 – Paul Behrenger (Southern Methodist University), “The Far Eastern Republic, the Japanese Intervention, and the End of the Russian Civil War”

February 11 – Paula Chan (Georgetown University), “Seeing Like the Stalinist State: The First Wave of War Crimes Investigations in Krasnodar, Stavropol, and Orel”

February 25 – Phil Kiffer (Georgetown University), “Defining and Enforcing the Soviet Regime of Secrecy: Postal Perlustration and Censorship during Late Stalinism”

March 25 – Katherine Zubovich (University at Buffalo, SUNY/Wilson Center), “The Art of Soviet Statistics: Data Visualization and the Soviet State”

April 22 – Tatiana Borisova (Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg), “Бессовестный Петербург и дискурс ‘общественной совести’ в 1870е”

May 12 – Adrienne Edgar (University of California, Santa Barbara), Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples: Ethnic Mixing in Soviet Central Asia

September 4 – Eric Lohr (American University), “Down with Tsarism and Tsarist Autocracy

October 22 – Anna Ananieva (University of Tübingen), “The Limits of Europe in the French Revolutionary Era: The Case of Paul I (1754-1801)”

February 26 – Stanislav Tarasov (Georgetown University), “‘A Spark of Citizenship Has Lit Inside Us’: Russian Patriotism at the Turn of the 19th Century”

March 26 – Sara Brinegar (US Memorial Holocaust Museum), “The Bolsheviks Go Into Business: Kefir-Khurian, Ltd. and Soviet Foreign Policy in the 1920s”

May 7 – Alexis Peri (Boston University), “Dear Unknown Friend: Soviet and American Women Discover the Power of the Personal”

Michael David-Fox (September 13) – “Sex and Civilization”

Abby Holekamp (October 18) – “How Not to Write About the Paris Commune: Writing Revolutions in Russia and France, 1905-1936”

Jeffrey Brooks (January 17)The Firebird and the Fox: Russian Culture under Tsars and Bolsheviks

February 28-29 – Fourth Annual East Coast Russian History and Culture Graduate Student Conference (Click here to view Conference Program)

Fourth Richard Stites Memorial Lecture (March 26) with Juliane Fürst (Centre for Contemporary History, Potsdam): “How Underground was the Soviet Underground? Reflections on Late Socialist Worlds of Dissent and Non-Conformism.”

International Conference, “The Political Police and the Soviet System: Insights from Newly Opened KGB Archives in the Former Soviet States,” April 3-4, 2020. Program and cost-free registration TBA.

Mark Edele (April 17) – A Chapter (TBA) from the forthcoming Stalinism at War: A New History

Anna Ananieva (May 8) – “The Limits of Europe in the French Revolutionary Era: The Case of Paul I (1754-1801)”

Fall Semester 2018

September 14 – Kevin F. M. Platt (University of Pennsylvania). “Commemorating the Imperial Past in Post-Soviet Latvia: Between Occupation and Colonization”

October 5 – Sergei Antonov (Yale University), at 228 Battelle-Tompkins Hall, American University. Bankrupts and Usurers of Imperial Russia: Debt, Property, and the Law in the Age of Dostoevsky and TolstoyNo pre-circulated paper.

November 9 – Ronald Grigor Suny (University of Michigan). “Red Flag Wounded: Historians, Stalinism, and the Soviet Experience.” No pre-circulated paper.

November 30 – Alexei Yurchak (University of California, Berkeley). “Laboratory of the Future: Lenin’s Body between Biochemistry and Art”

Spring Semester 2018

February 1 – Alison Smith (University of Toronto). “The Lived Experience of Autocracy in Tsarist Russia”

February 22-23 – New York University. Third Annual East Coast Russian History and Culture Graduate Student Conference

March 22 – Diana Dumitru (Ion Creangă Pedagogical State University, Moldova). “From Holocaust to GULAG: The Stalinist Penal System and Soviet Jews after WWII.” Sponsored by the Jacques Rossi Fund for Gulag Research

April 5 – Erika Monahan (University of New Mexico). “Commerce, Cartography, and the Early Modern Volga”

April 26 – Faith Hillis (American University), at 228 Battelle-Tompkins Hall, American University. “Russian Emigre Culture and the Birth of Bolshevism”

Fall Semester 2017
September 8. Susan Morrissey, University of California, Irvine. “A ‘Thirst for Vengeance’: Terrorism and Emotion in Revolutionary Russia”

October 13. Location: Mortara Center. Book Launch Symposium: The Soviet Gulag: Evidence, Interpretation, and Comparison. Sponsored by the Jacques Rossi Fund for Gulag Research and CERES. Golfo Alexopoulos (University of Florida); Steven Barnes (George Mason University); Daniel Beer, Royal Holloway, University of London; Wilson Bell (Thompson Rivers University, Canada); Michael David-Fox (Georgetown University); Aidan Forth (Loyola University Chicago); David Shearer (University of Delaware) **Immediately followed by a reception**

November 3. Anton Fedyashin, American University. “Yulian Semyonov: The Conformist Dissident and the Soviet Power Ministries”

December 1. Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov, Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg.“Reassembling History and Anthropology in Post-Soviet Russian Anthropology”

December 11-13 at the Higher School of Economics, Moscow. International Forum for Young Scholars of Soviet and Post-Soviet History and Culture. PhD candidates and post-2013 PhDs apply by Sept. 15 to or

Spring Semester 2018
January 26. Stuart Finkel, University of Florida. “‘A Great Many Will be Glad to Help’: The Transnational Dimensions of Appeals on Behalf of Russian and Soviet Political Prisoners and Exiles”

February 9. Christine Worobec, Northern Illinois University. “Late Imperial Russian Witchcraft Cases in a European Context”

Feb. 23-24 at Princeton University. Second Annual East Coast Russian History and Culture Graduate Student Conference. PhD candidates and recent PhDs contact

March 23. Third Richard Stites Memorial Lecture. Hubertus Jahn, University of Cambridge (UK). Location: Healy 104. “Functions, Feasts, and the Aesthetics of Empire: Russian Tsars Travelling in the Caucasus in the Long Nineteenth Century”

April 20. Stephen Riegg, Texas A&M University. “The Viability of Imperial Rule in the Caucasus: Viceroy I. Vorontsov-Dashkov and Armenians, 1905-15”

May 4. Krista Goff, University of Miami. “Ingilo, Yengiloy, Georgian, Georgian-Ingilo, Azeri: The Politics of Naming and Groupness”

September 9
Sean Gillen, Georgetown University
“The Service Myth of the Petrine Reforms” 

September 30
Vojin Mastorovic, USHMM/University of Toronto
“The Red Army and the Holocaust in the Soviet Union, Balkans, and Central Europe, 1943-1945”

October 14
Brian Boeck, DePaul University
“A Forgery, a Dynastic Fertility Crisis and the Evils of Ivan IV”

November 4
Benjamin Nathans, University of Pennsylvania
“To the Success of Our Hopeless Cause: A History of the Soviet Dissident Movement”

December 9
Curtis Murphy, Georgetown University
“The Lord’s Justice: Blood Libel and Adultery in an Eighteenth-Century Private Town”

January 27
“The Russian Revolution: A Centennial Symposium” 

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies.
Panelists: Sarah Cameron (University of Maryland), Michael David-Fox (Georgetown), Evgeny Finkel (George Washington), Peter Holquist (U Penn), Eric Lohr (American), and Ekaterina Pravilova (Princeton).

Location: Mortara Center Conference Room, 3600 N Street, NW (corner of 36th and N), Washington, DC 20057

Time: 5:15-7:00 pm, to be followed by a reception

February 17
Steven Barnes, George Mason University
“Gulag Wives: Women, Family, and Survival in Stalin’s Terror”

March 24 & 25
In Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania campus. The debut of the new, rotating East Coast Kruzhok, featuring new work from PhD candidates and recent PhDs, with faculty commentators from Georgetown, Penn, Columbia, and Princeton

April 21
Michael D. Gordin, Princeton University
“The Forgetting and Rediscovery of Soviet Machine Translation”

ASEEES in Washington, DC, November 17-20, 2016
Southern Slavic Conference in Alexandria, April 6-8, 2017

September 4   NB: 4 pm
Robert I. Frost, University of Aberdeen
“On Unions:  The Polish-Lithuanian Union (1385 –1795) and the Composite States in Early Modern Europe,” a talk (no paper) co-sponsored with the Early Modern Seminar

September 11
Igor Fediukin, Higher School of Economics (Moscow)
“The Projecteurs: The Enterprise of the Early Modern School in Russia”

September 25, NB: 4 pm. Mortara Center Conference Room (3600 N Street, N.W.)
Second Richard Stites Memorial Lecture
Jeffrey Veidlinger, University of Michigan. “Six Million Jews in Peril: The Pogroms of 1919 in Ukraine.” Reception to follow.
Watch the lecture: “Six Million Jews in Peril: The Pogroms of 1919 in Ukraine (new window).”

October 16
Oksana Kornilova, Memorial “Katyn,” Smolensk Oblast
“Гулаг от Москвы до Минска: строительство первой автомагистрали (1930-е гг.)” [The Gulag from Moscow to Minsk: The Construction of the First Soviet Highway in the 1930s]
Co-sponsored by the Jacques Rossi Gulag Research Fund

November 6
Willard Sunderland, University of Cincinnati
“The Imperial Emancipations: Abolition and Empire in Tsarist Russia”

December 4, ICC 462
Mikail Mamedov, Independent Scholar in Washington D.C., PhD Georgetown University 2010
“Reading Akram Aylisli’s Stone Dreams on the 100th Anniversary of the Great Catastrophe” 

February 12
John Randolph, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana
“Peter and the Post: Empire and Communication in Russia’s Eighteenth Century”

April 1
Barbara Skinner, Indiana State University
 “In the Orthodox Fold: Conversion and Culture in Russia’s Western Borderlands, 1800-1855”

April 22
Mariya Amelicheva
“Ottomans in Russia: The Eighteenth-Century Embassies to the Russian Court”

September 19
Stephen Kotkin, Princeton University
Selection from “Stalin: Waiting for Hitler” (the forthcoming vol. 2 of Stalin)
NB: This paper cannot be distributed electronically; instructions for receiving a hard copy will be emailed.

October 10
Andy Jenks, California Long Beach
“Hot Tubs, Hippies, and Space Cadets: Cold War Passages into Inner and Outer Space”

October 24
Timothy Snyder, Yale University
“Double Occupation”, a draft chapter from his forthcoming book Black Earth: the Holocaust as History and Warning.

October 31 and November 1
International Workshop: Occupations and Liberations in World War II: New Research on the Soviet Experience

November 7
Eric Lohr, American University, with Mustafa Aksakal, Georgetown University, as respondent.
“Confiscation & Violence: A Comparison of Ottoman & Russian Economic Persecution in WWI”

February 13
Mikhail Dolbilov, University of Maryland
“Loyalty and Emotion in Nineteenth-Century Russian Imperial Politics”

March 27
Masha Kirasirova, NYU Abu Dhabi
“The Eastern International: the ‘Domestic East’ and the ‘Foreign East’ in Soviet Arab Relations, 1917-1968”

May 8
Nicole Eaton, Kennan Institute/Wesleyan
“Between Rehabilitation and Revenge: The Fate of Kaliningrad’s Germans, 1945-1948”

September 13
Bob Geraci, University of Virginia
“Imperial Bazaar: Ethno-National Dimensions of Commerce in Russian Eurasia”

October 4
Borislav Chernev, American University
“National Statehood in Eastern Europe: Ukrainization and Its Contradictions in the Context of the Brest-Litovsk System, 1917-1918”

October 25
Paul Bushkovitch, Yale University
“Change and Culture in Early Modern Russia”

Thursday, November 7
First Richard Stites Memorial Lecture
Alfred J. Rieber, Central European University
“The Struggle over the Eurasian Borderlands: La longue durée”

February 7
Anne O’Donnell, Harvard University
“Revolutionary Value: Money and Things in Socialist Russia, 1917-1922”

February 28
Matthew Romaniello, University of Hawai’i
“Seeding the Habit: Tobacco in the Reigns of Anna Ivanovna and Elizaveta Petrovna”

March 21
Don Ostrowski, Harvard University
“Principles of Misattribution: The Kurbskii and Shakespeare Authorship Controversies Compared”

April 4
David Brandenberger, University of Richmond
“Stalin, the Short Course, and the Rewriting of the Soviet Experience”

April 11 and 12
International Conference: “Second World Urbanity: Between Capitalist and Communist Utopias”
Organized by Daria Bocharnikova (European University Institute, Florence Italy, and St. Petersburg State University) and Steven E. Harris (University of Mary Washington).  
Four panels, each with three papers, will explore the theme of “foundations” in the history of socialist cities’ conceptualization, planning, and construction.
Detailed scheduling to follow. 

April 25
Sabine Dullin, Université de Lille 3
“USSR at the Border, 1920-1940: The Politics, Imaginaire, and Everyday Life of a New State”

September 21
Mayhill Fowler, University of Toronto
“The Turbins in Moscow: Center-Periphery Dynamics in Soviet Culture”

October 19
Alexander Martin, University of Notre Dame
“Constructing a New Life in an Age of Revolution: The German-Russian Odyssey of the Actor, Freemason, Merchant, and Pastor J.A. Rosenstrauch, 1768-1835”

November 2
Steve Bittner, Sonoma State University
“American Roots, European Varietals, Russian Science: The Great Wine Blight in Bessarabia”

November 30
Katerina Clark, Yale University
“Soviet-Indian Cultural Relations and India in the Soviet Cultural Imagination, the 1920s and 1930s” 

January 18
Peter Holquist, University of Pennsylvania
“Fedor Martens, 1845-1909, and the Crystallization of international law in Imperial Russia

February 8
Jeffrey Brooks, Johns Hopkins University
“The Early Chekhov: Master of Popular Realism”

March 29
Robert Geraci, University of Virginia
Discusses his book Imperial Bazaar: Ethno-National Dimensions of Commerce in Russian Eurasia 

April 12
Galin Tihanov, School of Languages Linguistics and Film, Queen Mary University of London
“Thinking World Literature: Stalinism Into the Thaw and Early Stagnation”

April 25-27
The Soviet Gulag: New Research and New Interpretations

May 3
Catriona Kelly, New College, Oxford University
“St. Petersburg: Shadows of the Past”

May 10
Adrienne Edgar, University of California Santa Barbara
“Ethnos, Nationality, and the Soviet People: Intermarriage in Brezhnev-Era Central Asia”

September 16
Mie Nakachi, Hokkaido University
“Replacing the Dead: The Politics of Reproduction and Demography in the Postwar Soviet Union”

October 7
Valerie Kivelson, University of Michigan
“Mapping Magic: The Sites of Witchcraft in 17th century Russia”

November 4
Golfo Alexopoulos, University of Southern Florida
“Rethinking the ‘Sewage-Disposal System’: Health Care in Stalin’s Gulag.”

December 2
Tarik Amar, Columbia University
“Different but the Same, or the Same but Different: The Re-Making of Public Memory in Post-Soviet Lviv”

January 20
David Goldfrank, Georgetown University
“Litigious, Pedagogical, Redemptive, Deadly: Iosef Volotskii’s Calculated Insults”

February 10
Jeffrey Veidlinger, Indiana University
“In the Shadow of the Shtetl: Jewish Memory in Eastern Europe”

February 17
Marlene Laruelle, George Washington University, Sarah Fainberg,  Georgetown University, and Celine Marange
“The Dark Side of the Friendship of Peoples”

April 13
Sarah Cameron, a research scholar at Kennan Institute
A Draft chapter from The Hungry Steppe: Mass Violence, Famine & Making of Soviet Kazakhstan.

April 27
Lev Lurie
“Capitalism Came to Russia: 19th Century Petersburg as the Crucible of New Developments”

May 11
Mikail Mamedov
“Korikos, the Crown Prince of Armenia, or, the Story of an Impostor”