Author Archives: Joshua Sanborn

About Joshua Sanborn

Professor and Head, Department of History Chair, Russian and East European Studies Program Lafayette College (Pennsylvania, USA)


“Every extremely shameful, immeasurably humiliating, mean, and, above all, ridiculous position I have happened to get into in my life has always aroused in me, along with boundless wrath, an unbelievable pleasure.” – Nikolai Stavrogin, in Demons (692) I gave … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching Russian History, Terrorism, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

For the Common Good and Their Own Well-Being – Introduction

I’m very pleased to launch the eleventh “issue” of this blog’s book conversation series. Today we begin discussing Alison Smith’s For the Common Good and Their Own Well-Being: Social Estates in Imperial Russia (Oxford University Press, 2014). Alison is well … Continue reading

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How strong was the Russian state in 1914?

OK, after a couple of rambles, this one will be a shorter post, and I’ll frame it around a question for all the panelists and for the readers of this blog. David McDonald remarks in his final point: “Finally, in … Continue reading

Posted in Imperial Apocalypse, World War I | Leave a comment

Mobilization, Motivation, and the Staatsidee

One of the pleasures of a forum like this is that an author can see how his or her work is read and used by colleagues in “real time.” John Paul Newman’s comments about mobilization and ideas, more specifically the … Continue reading

Posted in Imperial Apocalypse, World War I | Leave a comment

Imperial Apocalypse – Response regarding “decolonization”

I too want to begin with more than formulaic thanks to Alison, John Paul, David, and Willard. Alison did a wonderful job of soliciting commentators for this conversation, and (shameless plug #1!) readers should keep an eye out later this … Continue reading

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ASEEES reverses course on Cohen-Tucker Fellowship

I blogged a couple of months ago about the controversy regarding the Cohen-Tucker Fellowship. After hearing from a large number of ASEEES members, the board held a special meeting and reversed its earlier decision. It has also changed its procedures … Continue reading

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Dear Stephen Cohen: I Love You; I’m Sorry; You’re Wrong

Steve, I hope you don’t mind an expression of affection from an admirer of a certain age. We’ve never met, but I’ve known you my entire professional life. I came into the field as a Stanford undergraduate in 1987, scared … Continue reading

Posted in Post-Soviet Russia, Ukraine, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Article Review: William G. Rosenberg, “Reading Soldiers’ Moods: Russian Military Censorship and the Configuration of Feeling in World War I,” American Historical Review 119, no. 3 (June 2014): 714-740.

In this post, I’m hoping to use the Russian History Blog platform to explore a different form of scholarly communication – the article review. Articles are of course reviewed all the time, but normally anonymously and with the aim of … Continue reading

Posted in Reviews, World War I | 2 Comments

Russian Citizenship – A Reaction

Our panel of distinguished commentators have raised a number of very interesting points related to Eric’s book. Alison wonders whether the emotional aspect of citizenship and the decision where to live might well be worth additional consideration. Her post and … Continue reading

Posted in Blog Conversations, Russian Citizenship | 1 Comment

Russian Citizenship – Introduction

Welcome to the Russian History Blog’s fifth “blog conversation.”  The text that has inspired this conversation is Eric Lohr’s excellent book, Russian Citizenship: From Empire to Soviet Union (Harvard UP, 2012). This is Lohr’s second monograph, following his well-received Nationalizing … Continue reading

Posted in Russian Citizenship | 1 Comment

Open Access: A Response to Sean Guillory

My most recent blog post (on MOOCs) dealt with digital teaching. Less than a week after it appeared, Sean Guillory wrote an important piece on Sean’s Russia Blog regarding digital scholarship, to wit, the importance of open access for Russian … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

MOOCs and the Future of Russian History in America

At the most recent Slavic Studies convention, I was talking with an old friend about the advent of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). We teach similar courses at different institutions – he teaches at a university with global name recognition, … Continue reading

Posted in Digital Russian History, Teaching Russian History, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

The Invention of Tradition, or How Military History Was NOT Written

Every few years, military historians in the United States engage in a bout of handwringing about the state of the field. Practitioners argue about whether military history in the academy is threatened, who or what is doing the threatening, and … Continue reading

Posted in Historiography, World War I | Leave a comment

Joe Paterno and the Cossacks: Thoughts on Atrocity and Honor

One of the areas that I study is why soldiers behave the way that they do, especially in the period of World War I and the Russian Civil War.  This has led me repeatedly to the question of atrocity.  Why … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

From the Classroom: Teaching Russian Texts in European History Courses

This semester I’m teaching a new course entitled “Sex in Modern Europe,” which I developed on the basis of some research I did a few years ago when co-authoring a book with Annette Timm. The course has seven two-week units: … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching Russian History, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Russians in East Prussia, 1914, pt. 2

I’ve gotten several interesting responses to the first post on atrocities: on this site, in private communication, and on the listserve of the International Society for First World War Studies.  Many of those comments have related to the issue of … Continue reading

Posted in Imperial Russia, Uncategorized, World War I | Leave a comment

Atrocities in East Prussia, 1914

When Steve Barnes invited me to join this project, I hadn’t given much thought to blogging as a scholarly enterprise.  I have read academic blogs from time to time and I usually enjoy them. Sometimes helpful, sometimes self-indulgent, often stimulating, … Continue reading

Posted in World War I | 10 Comments