My research has focused on the processes of social and cultural change and the interaction between the state and society in tsarist Russia. My first two books studied the strains on urban infrastructure posed by massive peasant immigration as well as government efforts to transform the Russian small arms industry. My third book examined the role of voluntary associations in the development of civil society in imperial Russia. Using some of Russia’s most prominent learned societies as case studies, I analyzed the ways in which educated Russians took initiative, formed a public, and broke down the sense of isolation inherent in authoritarian regimes. This study of associations allows us to examine afresh the relationship between state and society and to understand the process by which subjects were becoming citizens.
My training in Russian and modern European history informs a comparative approach in my teaching and scholarship on Russia. My comparative training and interests have allowed me to teach seminars on the European middle class, themes in European history and literature, and on the role of civic organizations in American history. I have had extensive experience living and working in Russia and the former Soviet Union, including a stint as an editor in a Moscow publishing house. This experience helped me to teach, in the 1980s, a popular class titled “The Soviet Union Today.” Beginning in the 1990s, I have returned to Russia almost every summer to continue research and keep up with current developments.
My current research project is a history of the Moscow Polytechnical Museum, the nation’s premier site for popularizing science and technology from its founding in 1872, through revolution and Stalinism, up to the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
Education and Degrees Earned
- Ph.D. Harvard University, 1978
- A.M. Harvard University, 1971
- B.A. University of Wisconsin, 1968
Previous Teaching Experience
Visiting Associate Professor of History 1989-90
Visiting Associate Professor of History 1987-88
Visiting Fellow 1985, 1992
- Russian Research Center, Harvard University
- Harriman Institute, Columbia University
Visiting Fellow 1983-84
- School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London
Visiting Assistant Professor 1977-78
Adjunct professor 1975
Previous Relevant Work Experience
Translator and Style Editor for Mir Publishers, Moscow 1975-76
Editor, Kritika, Russian Research Center, Harvard 1971-72
Co-editor, Russian Studies in History, 1993-present
Contributing editor, AHA Guide to Historical Literature, vol. 2, section 34 (Oxford University Press, 1995)
- American Historical Association
- American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies