Professor, Associate Chair
Office: SOC 265
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1996
M.A., Yale University, 1988
I teach a variety of courses on topics related to the history of modern Europe, Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, and historical methods and historiography. My undergraduate and graduate courses on the history of the Soviet Union, Stalinism, and twentieth-century Europe tend to focus on the problems of war and revolution, genocide and human rights, as well as culture and everyday life. When possible, I try to engage student interest by incorporating a variety of media (art, film, music) and assigning diverse readings (primary sources, literature, memoirs, poetry). In particular, I enjoy showing students my slides from when I lived in the Soviet Union and Russia under Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and Putin. Over the years, I have advised many bright USF students, both graduate and undergraduate. Some of them have been accepted into first-rate doctoral programs in Russian/Soviet history, others have joined the Peace Corps or pursued careers in international law and business, the military, diplomacy, teaching, and journalism.
I have authored one book and co-edited another. My first book, Stalin’s Outcasts: Aliens, Citizens, and the Soviet State, 1926-1936 (Cornell, 2003), examines Stalin’s disenfranchisement policy, and the lives and voices of those deprived of rights (lishentsy). The work describes the violence of social exclusion and the risky and painstaking rites of political rehabilitation to which many lishentsy were subjected. At the center of the work is an analysis of over five hundred petitions to Soviet officials for the reinstatement of rights. I discovered these letters from lishentsy in a closed archive in western Siberia just months after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
I am now writing my second historical monograph, which examines the Gulag under Stalin. The book draws upon recently declassified archives of the central Gulag administration to explore the systemic and routine violence of Stalin’s labor camp system. I was awarded a NEH fellowship for 2011-2012 to complete the book, and it is currently under contract with Yale University Press. It will appear in the Yale-Hoover series on Stalin, Stalinism, and the Cold War.
The volume I co-edited, Writing the Stalin Era: Sheila Fitzpatrick and Soviet Historiography (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) includes my article, “A Torture Memo: Reading Violence in the Gulag.” I have published several articles including, most recently: “Exiting the Gulag after War: Women, Invalids, and the Family,” published in Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas (2009); “Stalin and the Politics of Kinship: Practices of Collective Punishment, 1920s-1940s,” published in Comparative Studies in Society and History (2008); “Soviet Citizenship, More or Less: Rights, Emotions and States of Civic Belonging,” for the journal Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History (2006); and “Amnesty 1945: The Revolving Door of Stalin’s Gulag,” which appeared in Slavic Review (2005).
Modern Europe, Russia and the Soviet Union, Stalin and Stalinism