The main reason for my trip to Russia is to continue my research on the emergence of a civil society in the Russian provinces during the decades before the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. A network of voluntary associations developed in certain vibrant Russian regions near Moscow, in the middle Volga, and in Ukraine. Agricultural societies brought together enterprising landlords with liberal economic ideas. These societies became islands of pro-emancipation thought during the Great Reforms. I seek to discover how and why these ideas spread in the regions.
I am an assistant professor at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island, where I teach courses in Russian, European and world history. In 2001, I received my Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I have published articles in Russian History/Histoire Russe, History of Science, Library History and elsewhere. The common thread in my work is the unexpectedly broad view a regional perspective can bring to historical questions. Most Russian subjects lived and worked in the regions, which have their own complex history.
While in Russia, I will work with colleagues in Moscow and Vladimir on the role of society in the emancipation of the serfs. During my stay in Vladimir in 1998-1999 as a Fulbright-Hays and IREX scholar, I worked closely with local historians, publishing several articles in Russian. I look forward to continuing the collaboration.