Rethinking "Soviet History": Workshop and Presentation of the Center's New Educational Platform at Princeton University

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On November 3, 2023 the seminar "Rethinking 'Soviet History': Attempts, Compromises, Implications" took place at Princeton University. Dr. Sofia Dyak, the director of the Center for Urban History joined as a co-organizer and Dr. Ivanna Cherchovych, a researcher at the Center, as a participant. The seminar included a presentation of a new educational platform, "REESOURCES. Rethinking Eastern Europe", developed by the Center as a possibility of cooperation between researchers, lecturers, and partner institutions. The presentation was a part of a concluding panel about new resources and changes in teaching Soviet history.

The workshop brought together researchers who work on Soviet history to have a productive discussion and exchange of thoughts about "Soviet history" as a temporal category, a geographical area, or a political notion. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has prompted historians to reconsider the directions of their research and rewrite the curricula of their courses. Historians now face a range of new challenges — ideological, ethical, and logistical. One of the most difficult questions concerns the future of "Soviet studies." Scholars used to think about the Soviet Union as a single state encompassing a multitude of entities — regions and nationalities, former kingdoms turned colonies and republics, and independent countries that were annexed or conquered. Given the diversity of these historical trajectories and experiences, the concept of "Soviet history" may appear now as a misnomer. This seminar invited scholars to discuss the future of "Soviet studies" and to share thoughts and ideas about research and teaching.

Thus, the seminar addressed broad methodological questions of conceptualizing the geographies and chronologies of Soviet history; engaged with the new limitations on research agendas and practices, such as questions of accessibility and ethics in using archives during a time of war, and the use of new kinds of sources, such as oral histories and digital materials. 

Workshop participants:

  • Elissa Bemporad (New York University)
  • Ivanna Cherchovych (Center for Urban History)
  • Michael David-Fox (Georgetown University)
  • Heather De Haan (Binghamton University)
  • Peter Holquist (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Yanni Kotsonis (New York University)
  • Malogosia Mazurek (Columbia University)
  • Elidor Mehilli (Hunter College, New York)
  • Ben Nathans (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Anne O’Donnell (New York University)
  • Serguei Oushakine (Princeton University)
  • Yana Prymachenko (Princeton University)
  • Yana Skorobogatova (Columbia University)
  • Katherine Zubovich (University at Buffalo)


  • Sophia Dyak (Center for Urban History)
  • Mayhill Fowler (Stetson University)
  • Ekaterina Pravilova (Princeton University)
  • Iuliia Skubytska (Princeton University)