Alison Smith

Alison Smith is professor in the Department of History at the University of Toronto.  Her early research focused on the production and consumption of food in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Russia, leading to several articles, a book, Recipes for Russia: Food and Nationhood under the Tsars (NIU Press, 2008), and an article on national cuisines in the Oxford Handbook of Food History, Jeffrey Pilcher, ed.

More recently, she has examined social identities and social mobility in Imperial Russia, through an investigation of how individual Russians negotiated their soslovie (social estate) membership through interactions with local and central authorities. She has published a book (For the Common Good and Their Own Well-Being: Social Estates in Imperial Russia (Oxford University Press, 2014)) and several articles on this subject. She is also taking advantage of her Canadian location to think about Russia as a northern power, initially through co-teaching a course on, essentially,  Arctic world history.

Now, she has begun a new project focusing on the palace, town, and larger rural world of Gatchina, and particularly on the many people who lived or passed through the area. The story of the dead cheese master presented here is just the start.

She also tweets occasionally @profaks

Additional publications:

  • “Freed Serfs without Free People: Manumission in Imperial Russia,” The American Historical Review 118, no. 4 (October 2013): 1029-51
  • “The Freedom to Choose a Way of Life:  Fugitives, Borders, and Imperial Amnesties in Russia,” Journal of Modern History 83, no. 2 (June 2011): 243-71
  • “Authority in a Serf Village:  Peasants, Managers, and the Role of Writing in Early Nineteenth Century Russia,” Journal of Social History 43, no. 1 (Fall 2009): 157-73
  • “National Cuisine and Nationalist Politics:  V. F. Odoevskii and ‘Doctor Puf,’ 1844-5,” Kritika 10, no. 2 (Spring 2009): 1-22
  • “Eating Out in Imperial Russia:  Class, Nationality and Dining before the Great Reforms,” Slavic Review 65, no. 4 (Winter 2006):  747-68
  • “Public Works in an Autocratic State:  Water Supplies in an Imperial Russian Town,” Environment and History 11 (2005): 319-42

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