Waiting Long Enough for 1917: Reflections of an Imperial Russian Historian

Laura Engelstein, Yale University
Tuesday, March 27, 2018 -
4:30pm to 6:00pm
A71 Louis A. Simpson International Building
Tuesday, March 27, 2018 -
4:30pm to 6:00pm

REEES Lecture Series

The fall of the Soviet Union was a revolution that inaugurated an “archival revolution” in its wake. Historians in Russia were now free to challenge or abandon the officially mandated version of 1917 and the civil wars that ensued. They gained access to formerly closed or restricted archives and were able to engage foreign colleagues in scholarly debate. This talk explores three new perspectives that have emerged from this historiographic shift, reshaping narratives of the revolution and its aftermath. It complements this discussion with an example of how these monumental events were experienced by an ordinary inhabitant of the Russian Empire, in this case the speaker’s own grandfather.

Laura Engelstein joined the history faculty in the fall of 2002 as professor in the field of modern Russian and European history. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford in 1976 and taught at Cornell and at Princeton before coming to Yale. Her research has focused on the social and cultural history of late imperial Russia, with attention to the role of law, medicine, and the arts in public life. She has also explored themes in the history of gender, sexuality, and religion.

Among her publications are Moscow, 1905: Working-Class Organization and Political Conflict (1982); The Keys to Happiness: Sex and the Search for Modernity in Fin-de-Siecle Russia (1992); Castration and the Heavenly Kingdom: A Russian Folktale (1999); and Slavophile Empire: Imperial Russia’s Illiberal Path (2009); as well as an essay collection edited with Stephanie Sandler, Self and Story in Russian History (2000).

Professor Engelstein has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Humanities Center, and the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

For more information on the series, please visit:

Sponsored by
Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies