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Dr. Christine Varga-Harris

Associate Professor
History
Office
Schroeder Hall - SCH 313
Office Hours
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30-4:30 PM; or by arrangement
  • About
  • Education
  • Awards & Honors
  • Research

Biography

Dr. Varga-Harris received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, her M.A. from the Center for Russian and East European Studies at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada), and her B.A. at McGill University (Montreal, Canada). Among the undergraduate courses she teaches at ISU are Imperial Russia, Soviet Russia, and Society and Daily Life in the East Bloc; she also teaches the graduate topics course Modern Russia (468) and the graduate research seminar (497).

Teaching Interests & Areas

Russian history from the 800s through the 1990s; postwar/Communist/Cold War Eastern Europe through 1989; gender and imperialism; material and consumer culture

Research Interests & Areas

Russia (especially from 1945-1964/the postwar, late Stalin and Khrushchev eras); daily life and material culture; Communist ideology and society; gender; Soviet cultural relations with non-aligned countries during the 1950s and 1960s

Ph D History

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, IL

MA Russian and East European Studies

Carleton University
Ottawa, ON, Canada

BA History

McGill University
Montreal, PQ, Canada

Inspirational and Influential Faculty Member

2021

Honorable Mention, Barbara Heldt Prize for Best Article in Slavic/East European/Eurasian Women’s and Gender Studies

Association of Women in Slavic Studies
2020

Inspirational and Influential Faculty Member

2018

Faculty International Travel Grant

CAS
2017

Faculty Research Award

CAS
2017

Faculty International Travel Grant

CAS
2014

Finalist, University Teaching Initiative Award

ISU
2010

Pre-Tenure Faculty Initiative Grant

College of Arts and Sciences, ISU
2010

Finalist, University Research Initiative Award

ISU
2009

Domestic Supplemental Travel Grant

College of Arts and Sciences, ISU
2008

Book Review

Katherine Zubovich, Moscow Monumental: Soviet Skyscrapers and Urban Life in Stalin’s Capital (Princeton University Press, 2021), American Historical Review 126, no. 3 (September 2021): 1343-1344.
Aaron Hale-Dorrell, Corn Crusade: Khrushchev’s Farming Revolution in the Post-Stalin Soviet Union (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), The Russian Review 78, no. 4 (October 2019): 685-686.
Andy Willimott, Living the Revolution: Urban Communes and Soviet Socialism, 1917-1932 (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2017), The English Historical Review 134, no. 567 (April 2019): 495-497.
Kristen Ghodsee, Second World, Second Sex: Socialist Women’s Activism and Global Solidarity during the Cold War (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018), Slavic Review 78, no. 4 (October 2019): 1049-1050.

Mark G. Meerovich, Gradostroitel'naia Politika v SSSR, 1917-1929:  Ot goroda-sada k vedomstvennomu rabochemu poselku (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2017), Slavic Review 77, no. 3 (Fall 2018): 850-851.

Book, Authored

Stories of House and Home:  Soviet Apartment Life during the Khrushchev Years (Ithaca:  Cornell University Press, 2015).

Book, Chapter

“Decorating in Moderation, Moderating Character: Domestic Space and the Soviet Person in the Era of Mass Housing,” in Flying Panels: How Concrete Panels Changed the World , ed. Pedro Ignacio Alonso and Hugo Palmarola (Stockholm, Sweden: ArkDes/The Swedish Center for Architecture and Design, 2019), 198-207. Published in English, Spanish and Swedish editions as an accompaniment to the following art exhibition: https://arkdes.se/en/utstallning/flygande-betong-byggelementen-som-forandrade-varlden/

“Moving Toward Utopia:  Soviet Housing in the Atomic Age,” in Divided Dreamworlds?  The Cultural Cold War in East and West, ed. Peter Romijn, Giles Scott-Smith and Joes Segal (Amsterdam, NL:  Amsterdam University Press, 2012), 133-153.

“Forging Citizenship on the Home Front:  Reviving the Socialist Contract and Constructing Soviet Identity During the Thaw,” in The Dilemmas of De-Stalinization:  A Social and Cultural History of Reform in the Khrushchev Era, ed. Polly Jones (London, UK; New York City:  Routledge-Curzon, 2006; 2nd ed., 2009), 101-116.

Journal Article

“Soviet Women and Internationalism in Socialist Travel Itineraries in the 1950s and 1960s,” Diplomatic History 46, no. 3 (June 2022): 486-504.
“Between National Tradition and Western Modernization: Soviet Woman and Representations of Socialist Gender Equality as a ‘Third Way’ for Developing Countries, 1956-1964,” Slavic Review 78, no. 3 (Fall 2019): 758-781.

“Хрущёвка, коммуналка:  социализм и повседневность во время ‘Оттепели’,” Новейшая истoрия России [Contemporary History of Russia], nо. 1 (June 2011): 160-166.

“Homemaking and the Aesthetic and Moral Perimeters of the Soviet Home during the Khrushchev Era,” Journal of Social History 41, no. 3 (Spring 2008): 561-589.

“Green is the Colour of Hope?:  The Crumbling Façade of Postwar Byt Through the Public Eyes of Vecherniaia Moskva,” Canadian Journal of History XXXIV, no. 2 (August 1999):  193-219.

Presentations

"Women of the World Unite! The Soviet Women’s Committee and Cultural Outreach to Developing Countries during the 1950s and 1960s," Kolloquium zur Osteuropäischen Geschichte/Colloquium on Eastern European History, University of Bremen and Eberhard Karl University of Tübingen, 2021
"Exporting the Russian Revolution: Soviet Women and Cultural Outreach to ‘Developing Countries’ during the 1950s and 1960s," International Seminar Series “Europe in a Global Context,” Office of International Studies and Programs, Illinois State University, 2018
“Between Friends: The Language of Gender Equality and ‘Sisterhood’ in Encounters among Soviet and ‘Third-World’ Women,” presented at the conference “Languages of Internationalism,” Birkbeck College, University of London, London, U.K., May 2017
“Dmitry Shostakovich’s ‘Muddle instead of music’ in the Context of the Schizophrenic Soviet 1930s,” presented by invitation as a pre-concert lecture for Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts, Normal, IL, 23 April 2017
“Soviet Hospitality, Counterpropaganda and Intelligence Gathering: The Soviet Women’s Committee and Visiting Delegates from Africa and Asia,” Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, Chicago, IL, November 2017
"Socialist Internationalism Writ Small: Friendship and Solidarity in Correspondence between Women in the Soviet Union and in the Decolonizing World," Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, Washington, D.C., November 2016

“Turning ‘Swamps’ into ‘Flowering Gardens’:  Soviet Woman as a Contact Zone between Women in the Soviet Union and those Transitioning from Colonialism in Africa and South Asia,” presented by invitation at the symposium “Contact Zones:  Articulating and Practicing Difference,” Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ, 23 January 2015

“Orientalism, Soviet-Style:  Cultural Exchange and the Inevitability of Communism in the World of Soviet Woman,” presented at the conference “Alternative Encounters:  The ‘Second World’ and the ‘Global South’, 1945-1991,” Imre Kertész Kolleg, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany, November 2014

“Apartment Stories: Communist Construction and Daily Life during the Khrushchev Years,” presented by invitation at the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Students, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2 October 2014
“‘The Life Everyone Would Like to Live’: Soviet Outreach to Women of Developing Countries,” Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, San Antonio, TX, November 2014

Grants & Contracts

Jack and Anita Hess Faculty Seminar "Between Enemy Combatant and Racial ‘Other’: Nazi Persecution of Soviet POWs". Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Federal. (2020)