Austin Jersild is Associate Professor of History at Old Dominion University, where he has taught since 1995. He finished a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in 1994, a M.A. from the University of Michigan in 1989, and a B.A. from St. Olaf College in 1984. He is the author of Orientalism and Empire: North Caucasus Mountain Peoples and the Georgian Frontier (2002), the editor of an issue of Russian Studies in History on Russian expansion into the Caucasus, and journal articles in Slavic Review, Russian Review, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian Studies, Nationalities Papers, and other publications. Over the years his research projects have taken him to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tbilisi, and Beijing.
In archives and libraries in Moscow he will study the diverse forms of exchange and cooperation characteristic of the socialist bloc from 1945-1960, with special attention to Sino-Soviet relations. He is interested in the increasingly important debates over consumerism and standards of living within the socialist world, which he will explore through exhibits and other forms of exchange. In Prague he will study the early forms of socialist bloc collaboration that served as the starting point for the Sino-Soviet relationship.
Along with his wife, Heather (former Fulbrighter to Costa Rica, 1984) and two children, Annika and Kirsten, he lives in Norfolk, Virginia.