Richard Stites Memorial Lecture Series

Richard Sites

The Richard Stites Memorial Lecture, held biennially is founded as a living memorial to Richard Stites (1931-2010), a giant in the field of Russian history who taught at Georgetown from 1977 until his death.  Every other year, a distinguished scholar will deliver the lecture to celebrate scholarship in the tradition of Richard Stites in the fields of history, Russian studies, cultural history, and the history of popular culture. Richard Stites’ many works in the Russian field swept across the imperial and the Soviet periods and innovated ways of linking cultural explorations to their political, social, and international contexts.

The lecture series is part of the program of the Russian History Seminar of Washington, DC, which Richard enriched as a founding member and treasured participant. It is supported by the Georgetown Institute for Global History and the CERES program also at Georgetown, to which Richard made so many lasting contributions.

The fifth Richard Stites Memorial Lecture, featuring Catherine Evtuhov (Columbia University) will take place on Thursday, May 2, 2024 from 4-6 pm, entitled “Orthodox Enlightenments.”

Summary: Was there an Orthodox Enlightenment? In recent years, a quiet revolution in scholarship has shifted emphasis from familiar themes of Romanticism and Christianity to the interplay of faith and reason in 18th-century Russia and Ukraine, as well as in the larger Orthodox world. In this paper, I turn my attention to two major sets of sources for the mid-eighteenth-century Enlightenment – the published sermons of Gedeon Krinovskii, an extraordinarily popular practitioner of the persuasive art of preaching, and the Monthly Essays for Benefit and Entertainment – Russia’s first, and completely unacknowledged, Enlightenment journal. My goal is to tease out some key themes of the Enlightenment in the Russian empire, moving the chronology significantly earlier than the classic line of demarcation with Catherine the Great. At the same time, this essay is an experiment in practicing history without access to archives – a problem confronting historians anywhere, in times of war.

Catherine Evtuhov is professor of History at Columbia University. She taught in the History Department at Georgetown from 1992 to 2016; for eighteen of those years she had the delight of working closely with the inimitable Richard Stites. Together with David Goldfrank and Lindsey Hughes, they co-authored A History of Russia: Peoples, Legends, Events, Forces (Houghton-Mifflin, 2004). Evtuhov’s publications include The Cross & the Sickle: Sergei Bulgakov and the Fate of Russian Religious Philosophy, 1890-1920 (Cornell UP, 1997; Russian translation 2021) and Portrait of a Russian Province: Economy, Society, and Civilization in 19th-Century Nizhnii Novgorod (2011), which won the Wayne S. Vucinich Prize from the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) in 2012. Her most recent book is Thinking Russia’s History Environmentally (Berghahn, 2023), co-edited with Julia Lajus and David Moon.

Richard’s humanity, humor, joie de vivre, and endless interest in people continue to inspire historians, colleagues, students, and his many friends.  Among the most eloquent memorials to Richard Stites—the man, scholar, friend, colleague, and teacher—were those written and compiled by his colleagues and friends.

Publications from Richard Stites include:

  • The Women’s Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism, 1860-1930 (Princeton University Press, 1978, 2d ed. 1991)
  • Revolutionary Dreams: Utopian Vision and Social Experiment in the Russian Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1989, 2d ed. 1991)
  • Russian Popular Culture: Entertainment and Society since 1900 (Cambridge University Press, 1992)
  • Serfdom Society and the Arts (Yale University Press, 2008)
  • Awarded the Wayne S. Vucinich 1989 prize volume of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies

Your support of the Richard Stites Memorial Lecture fund is most appreciated and honors the memory of Richard and his remarkable life.

Contribute to the Richard Stites Memorial Lecture Fund.  After clicking the link, select “Other” and write “Richard Stites Lecture Fund, Department of History” in the box. Donors may also call Georgetown’s Gift Processing department directly to make a gift by phone at 1-202-687-1789.