Russian History and Culture Workshop Archive



Papers will be posted roughly two weeks before each seminar. All events will be held on Monday at 6:00-7:30pm in 209 College Hall unless otherwise noted.

Contact: Peter Holquist, Department of History

January 22 ***(Tuesday at 12:00PM in CH 219)*** - Alexander Baturo (Government, Dublin City University):

“The New Kremlinology: What Does Russia Really Want?” (PDF)


February 18 - Vladislav Zubok (London School of Economics):

“The Grand Bargain and the Western Impact on the Soviet Dissolution in 1991” 


March 25 - Eleonor Gilburd (History, University of Chicago):

“Russian into Soviet: dialects, newspapers and the making of normative dictionaries in the 1930s-1950s”


April 15 - Jessica Merrill (Slavic Languages, Columbia University):

“Comparative Philology and the Origins of Russian Formalism


April 29 - Alex Valdman (Yad Hanadiv Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History, Penn):


“Non-Revolutionary Rebels: Disobedience and Civic Consciousness in Late Nineteenth-Century Russian Secondary Schools


September 24 - Kristen Ghodsee (Russian and East European Studies, Penn): 

“Vox Populi, Vox Dei?: Public Opinion and the Social Impacts of Transition in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 1990-2017” (PDF)

 Statistical Appendix (PDF)


October 22 - Rossen Djagalov (Russian Studies, NYU):

“Entering LitIntern's Orbit: the Incorporation of non-Western Writers into the Interwar-era Soviet Republic of Letters” (PDF)


November 5 - Juliette Cadiot (History, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociale):

“Prosecuting Soviet Capitalism: The Khain Affair, Kiev, 1952”


December 4 [Tuesday] - Oscar Sanchez-Sibony (History, University of Hong Kong):

“Global Money and Bolshevik Authority: The NEP as the First Socialist Project” [joint session with the Penn Economic History Forum]


Monday, September 25, 2017
Jennifer Wilson, Russian and East European Studies, Penn
“Saint Domingue by Way of Saint Petersburg: Coverage of the Haitian Revolution in Karamzin's Vestnik Evropy” 

Monday, October 23, 2017
Gregory Afinogenov, History, Georgetown U.
“That Scumbag Nessel’rode: Discovery and Deception on the Amur, 1850-1855” 

Friday, December 1, 2017 at 2:00pm, Joint session with the Penn Economic History Forum
Kristy Ironside, History, McGill U.
“Real Returns: State Bonds, Lottery Tickets, and Savings Accounts in the Postwar USSR”

Monday, January 29, 2018
Marc Elie, Research Fellow, Centre d’études des mondes russe, caucasien et centre-européen, CNRS-EHESS
“Desiccated Steppes: Droughts and Climate Change in the USSR, 1960s-1980s” 

Monday, March 12, 2018
Mikhail Dolbilov, History, University of Maryland
“Loyalty, Friendship, and Politics amid the Balkan Crisis: Empress Maria Aleksandrovna’s Intimate Circle” 

Monday, March 26, 2018
Willard Sunderland, History, University of Cincinnati
“The Greatest Emancipator: Abolition and Empire in Imperial Russia”

Monday, April 9, 2018
Gabriel Gorodetsky, Quondam Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford, and emeritus professor of History, Tel Aviv University
“How to Win Friends and Influence People: Ivan Maisky, Soviet Ambassador in London, 1932-43” 

Monday, April 23, 2018
Artemy Magun, Political Science and Sociology, European University at St. Petersburg
“Lenin on Democratic Theory”  (PDF)

*Please note that the event on April 23, 2018  takes place in College Hall room 205*

Fall 2016

Papers will be posted roughly two weeks before each seminar. All events will be held on Monday at 6:00-7:30pm in 209 College Hall unless otherwise noted.

Benjamin Nathans, Department of History
Peter Holquist, Department of History

September 12

Kat Reischl (Slavic, Princeton) 
“Look Left, Young Man!: The International Exchange of Photo-Narratives" 

October 17

Jochen Hellbeck (History, Rutgers)
The Antifascist Pact: Forging a First Experience of Nazi Atrocities in the Wartime Soviet Union

October 24

Ilya Kukulin (Cultural Studies, Higher School of Economics, Moscow)
“Engineering Soviet Selves: Alexander Bogdanov's ‘Philosophy of Living Experience’ and the Emergence of Socialist Realism” 

November 4 **4:30-6:00pm**

Michele Commercio (Political Science, University of Vermont)
“One Consequence of Post-Communist Economic and Political Transitions: Polygyny in Central Asia” 

November 21

Susanne Schattenberg (History, University of Bremen)
From her forthcoming biography of Leonid Brezhnev: “‘How the Steel was Tempered,’ or: Careers in Times of  Terror and War”

Spring 2017

Friday, Feb. 24 at 4:00 

Faith Hillis (History, University of Chicago)
“Laboratories of Liberation,” Chapter One of her new book project, Europe’s Russian Colonies: Tsarist Émigrés and the Quest for Freedom in the Nineteenth Century.  

Friday and Saturday, March 24-25: Workshop 


3:00 - Philip Gleissner (Princeton), “Soviet Union on the Seine:” Kontinent, Sintaksis and the Émigré Life of Journals”  [commentator: Ben Nathans, Penn] 

4:00 - Courtney Doucette (Rutgers), “Empty Shelves, (Im)moral Selves: Shortages and Complaints during Perestroika”  [commentator: Serguei Oushakine, Princeton]

5:00 - Vladimir Ryzhkovskii (Georgetown): “Yeti into Rebel: Boris Porshnev and his Revolutionary Biography of Humanity” [commentator: Peter Holquist, Penn]


10:00 - Elizabeth Banks (NYU), “Renewed Relations, Glasnost in the Embassy and the 1980s as Socialist Necrolog” [commentator: Michael David-Fox, Georgetown]

11:00 - Yelizaveta Raykhlina (Georgetown): “Imperial, Ethnic, Social: Representation of Russian Identities in the Northern Bee and the Library for Reading, 1825-1865”  [commentator: Jane Burbank, NYU]

12:00 - lunch on location (provided by Penn)

1:00 - Yakov Feygin (Penn): “Détente Economics” [commentator : Anne O’Donnell, NYU]

Friday, April 21 at 2:00 

Allesandro Stanziani (Directeur d'études EHESS; Directeur de Recherches CNRS)
“Russia in Global History, 1750-1917” (PDF)
(joint session with the Penn Economic History Forum)

Fall 2015

Papers will be posted roughly two weeks before each seminar. All events will be held on Monday at 6:00pm in 209 College Hall unless otherwise noted.

Benjamin Nathans, Department of History

September 28

Igor Fedyukin (Higher School of Economics, Moscow)
“The Enterprise of the Early Modern School in Russia: The Noble Cadet Corps in the 1730s as a Prozhekt”

October 5

Vera Proskurina (Russian & East Asian Languages and Cultures, Emory University)
“Russia’s Annexation of Crimea in Catherine II’s Time: Politics & Myths”

November 2

Mitchell Orenstein (Slavic Languages and Literatures, Penn)
"The Triumph of Neoliberalism in Post-Communist Europe and Eurasia”

November 23

Yuri Slezkine (History, U.C. Berkeley)
"Bolshevism and Millenarianism" 

Spring 2016

February 29

Elena Sherstoboeva (Department of Communications, Media, and Design, Higher School of Economics, Moscow): 
“The Evolution of the Russian Concept of Free Speech” (PDF)

March 18 *2:30pm in 209 College Hall*

Steven Harris (Department of History and American Studies, University of Mary Washington)
“Cold War Friendly Skies: Pan Am, Aeroflot and the Political Economy of Détente” 
Co-sponsored by the Penn Economic History Forum 

March 29

Joseph Peschio (Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)

"Olin's Complaint or, How Heavenly Smiles Were Banished from Russian Poetry" 

April 18

Masha Kirasirova (New York University Abu Dhabi)
“Arabization, Purges, and Terror in the Communist University of the Toilers of the East (KUTV) Arab Circle, 1929-38”

Fall 2014 

Monday, September 15 (6:00pm) 

Anna Krylova (History, Duke University)
"A History of the 'Soviet': A Lingua Franca of the Socialist Self" 

Monday, October 13 (6:00pm) 

John Randolph (History, U. of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana)
"The Coachman and the Town Square: On the Space of Imperial Communication in Enlightenment Russia" 

Tuesday, November 4 (6:00pm) 

Sam Casper (History, Penn)
"Resurrecting Levan Davydovich: Truth, Justice, and Gulag Rumors, 1953-1956" 

Spring 2015 

Friday, January 30 (2:00pm) 

Anne O'Donnell (History, Harvard University)
"Building a Visible Hand: The Search for Value in Revolutionary Russia, 1917-1921" 
This event is jointly sponsored with the Penn Economic History Forum 

Monday, February 23 (6:00pm)

Bruce Grant (Anthropology, NYU)
“The Donkey Wars: Authority, Satire, and Political Imagination in the Caucasus”

Monday, March 23 (6:00pm)

Adam Leeds (Anthropology, Penn)
“Dreams in Cybernetic Fugue: Cold War Technoscience, the Intelligentsia, and the Birth of Soviet Mathematical Economics” 

Monday, April 13 (6:00pm)

Maya Vinokour (Comparative Literature, Penn)
"The Masochistic Aesthetic in its Stalinist Phase"


Monday, September 16 (6:00PM)
Ronald Suny (History, University of Michigan)
“The Making of a Bolshevik: Stalin from Koba to Commisar"

Monday, October 21 (6:00PM)
Kevin Platt (Slavic / Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania)
"Secret Speech: Wounding, Disavowal and Social Belonging in the USSR"

Wednesday, November 6 (4:30PM)
Andrei Markevich (New Economic School, Moscow)
"Economic Consequences of Emancipation of Serfs: Evidence from Russia" (co-authored with Ekaterina Zhuravskaya)
This event is jointly sponsored with the Penn Economic History Forum.

Tuesday, November 12 (4:30PM)
Alfred Rieber (Central European University, Budapest / University of Pennsylvania)
“Nationalizing Armies: A Comparative Study of the Hapsburg, Ottoman, and Imperial Russian Cases"
This event is sponsored by the Annenberg Seminar in History

Tuesday, November 19 (6:00PM)
Ilya Kalinin (Neprekosnovennyi zapas and Smolnyi College, St. Petersburg)
"Нарциссизм и меланхолия: советские фантазии постсоветского субъекта"
*Paper and discussion in Russian

Monday, December 2 (6:00PM)
Lisa Kirschenbaum (History, West Chester University) 
“Learning to be a Bolshevik: Solidarity and Suspicion at the International Lenin School"

Tuesday, January 21 (6:00PM) Cancelled
John Randolph (History, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana)
"The Coachman and the Town Square: On the Space of Imperial Communication in Enlightenment Russia"

Monday, February 3 (5:30)
Nina Gourianova (Art History, Northwestern University)|
"Revolution is Creativity: Some aspects of Malevich’s avant-garde aesthetics in the context of Moscow anarchist periodicals (1917-1918)"

Monday, March 24 (6:00PM)
Alex Hazanov (History, University of Pennsylvania)
"Serving Mister Tvister, or the Political Economy of Intourist"

Thursday, April 10 (6:00PM)
Claire Pogue Kaiser (History, University of Pennsylvania)
"What Makes a (Soviet) Georgian? The Campaigns for Fereydan and Saingilo"


Papers will be posted 10 to 15 days in advance of each seminar. All events will be held in 209 College Hall, followed by dutch-treat dinner at a local eatery. 

Contact Person
Benjamin Nathans, Department of History

Monday, September 24 (6:00PM)
Rossen Djagalov, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, University of pennsylvania
“The Anti-Populism of Late-/Post-Socialist Intellectuals”

Tuesday, October 23 (4:30PM)
Yoram Gorlizki, University of Manchester
“Structures of Trust after Stalin”

Monday, November 12 (6:00PM)
Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov, University of Cambridge
“Two Lenins: Time as Change, Time as Exchange, and the Gift of Modernity”

Monday, November 19 (6:00PM)
Nikolai Mitrokhin, Bremen/Moscow
"Современная Русская православная церковь и реформы патриарха Кирилла: безуспешная попытка преоделения кризиса российского православия" (lecture in Russian)

Monday, January 28 (6:00PM)
Peter Holquist, University of Pennsylvania
“Fedor Martens (1845-1909) and the Development of International Law in the Russian Empire”

Friday, February 22 (2:00PM)
Doug Rogers, Yale University 
“Oil Culture: Producing the New Russia”
This event is jointly sponsored with the Penn Economic History Forum.

Wednesday, March 20 (6:00PM)
Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock, Wesleyan University
“The Ticket to the Soviet Soul: Nauka i religiia and the Spiritual Crisis of Late Soviet Atheism”

Thursday, April 11 (6:00PM)
Harley Balzer, Georgetown University
“State and Private Funding for Higher Education: Tsarist Russia, the RSFSR, and the Russian Federation”


Kristin Roth-Ey, University College London
Moscow Prime Time: How the Soviet Union Built the Media Empire that Lost the Cultural Cold War

Steven Nafziger, Williams College
Bill Whitney, University of Pennsylvania
Peter Kolchin, University of Delaware

The Economics of Russian Serfdom and Emancipation: New Empirical Evidence
This event was a joint session with the Penn Economic History Forum.

Polly Jones, Oxford University
Stalinism as Myth, Memory and History: Konstantin Simonov and his Readers in the Khrushchev and Brezhnev Eras

Christina Kiaer, Northwestern University
A Biography of the USSR in Pictures: Aleksandr Deineka and the Problem of Socialist Realism 

Malte Rolf, Universität Hannover-Germany
Imperial Biographies in Multiethnic Empires. The Habsburg and Russian Empires in Comparison

Alla Rosenfeld, Research Associate for European Evaluators, New York
'Life or Death to the Fairytale?': The Soviet Production Book for Children, 1920s-30s

Ben Nathans, University of Pennsylvania
Talking Fish: On Soviet Dissident Memoirs


Katherine Verdery, City University of New York
Pedagogies of Persuasion: Collectivization in Romania

Peter Steiner, University of Pennsylvania
Dialogism: Bakhtin and Game Theory

James Heinzen, Rowan University
Bribery and the 'Campaigns' against it in Late Stalinism

Ilya Kalinin, editor Of Neprikosnovennyi zapas
Nostalgic Modernization: Contemporary Russian Policy in Historical Perspective

Denis Kozlov, Dalhousie University
A Barometer of the Epoch: Vladimir Pomerantsev, Soviet Readers, and the Debate on Sincerity in Literature, 1953-54

Robert Geraci, University of Virginia
Faith Hillis, University of Chicago
Jessica Goldberg, University of Pennsylvania

Foreign Trade, Foreign Capital, and Low Economic Self-Esteem in Late Tsarist Russia
This event was a joint session with the Penn Economic History Forum.


Michael David-Fox, University of Maryland
Inside the ‘Great Experiment’: Western Visitors to the Soviet Union, 1921-1941

Ekaterina Pravilova, Princeton University
Jonathan Steinberg, University of Pennsylvania
Yanni Katsonis, New York University

Public Goods and the Censure of Private Property in Imperial Russia
This event was a joint session with the Penn Economic History Forum.

Nathaniel Knight, Seton Hall University
“Science and ‘the People’: The Emergence of the Concept of the Narod, 1820-1845”

Katerina Clark, Yale University
“Moscow as Fourth Rome”


Vladislav Zubok, Temple University
The Idea of the Intelligentsia after Stalin

Alexei Miller, Central European University-Budapest
Narodnost’ i natsiia v russkom iazyke XIX veka: podgotovitel’nye nabroski k istorii poniatii

Yanni Kotsonis, New York University
James Heinzen, Rowan University
Carol Leonard, St. Anthony's, Oxford Univeristy

People, Places, and Things: The Old Regime, Economic Liberalism, and Tax Reform before 1881
This event was a joint session with the Penn Economic History Forum.

Claudia Verhoeven (History, George Mason University)
Modernity by the Stars: Nikolai Morozov's Scientific Revolution


Paul Werth, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
Freedom of Conscience in Imperial Russia: A Begriffsgeshchichte

Yitzhak Brudny, Hebrew University
National Identity Choice and the Emergence of an Illiberal State in Post-Communist Russia

Catherine Evtuhov, Georgetown University
Portrait of a Russian Province: Nizhnii Novgorod in the 19th Century

Richard Stites, Georgetown University
Decembrists with a Spanish Accent: The Impact of the Mediterranean Uprisings