Position title: Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of History
Office: 4125 Mosse Humanities
Mailbox: 4002 Mosse Humanities
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)
Office Hours: TBA
I am a historian of Modern Europe with a specialization in Russia and the Soviet Union. My research and teaching interests include Russian and Soviet History, Modern European History, Comparative Empires, the History of Human Rights, and Russian-American Engagement.
My second book, Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal After World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020) presents the first complete history of the Nuremberg Trials. Drawing on thousands of documents from the former Soviet archives, it reveals the unexpected contribution of Stalin’s Soviet Union to the International Military Tribunal and to the postwar development of international law.
My first book, Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005) examined the role of ethnographers and other former imperial experts in the formation of the Soviet Union. Empire of Nations received the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Association, the Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, and the Council For European Studies Book Award.
I have recently launched a new book project on the history of Russian-American entanglement, which will look at international relations through the lenses of economics, culture, science, and international law.
Videos & Podcasts
- March 26, 2021, Author Interview: Francine Hirsch on Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg
- November 12, 2020, “Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg,” virtual book discussion at the National History Center and the Wilson Center as part of the Washington History Seminar Series.
- November 19, 2020,”Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: Revisiting the International Military Tribunal on its 75th Anniversary,” Area Studies Showcase Lecture Series for the Title VI National Resource Centers.
- July 27, 2020, “Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg,” virtual book talk presented at the Harvard Book Store, co-sponsored by the Harvard Book Store and the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University.
- July 17, 2020, Sean’s Russia Blog Podcast, discussion of Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg.
- July 9, 2020, New Books Network Podcast, discussion of Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg.
- “The Politics of the Nuremberg Trials and the Postwar Moment,” in Political Trials in Theory and History, ed. Devin Pendas and Jens Meierhenrich. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.
- “The Nuremberg Trials as Cold War Competition.” Memory and Postwar Memorials: Confronting the Past as Violence, ed. Marc Silberman and Florence Vatan, 17-40. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2013.
- “The Soviets at Nuremberg: International Law, Propaganda, and the Making of the Postwar Order.” The American Historical Review 113, no. 3 (June 2008): 701-730.
- “Russia is counting on the media to spread propaganda about show trials. How the media can avoid getting lured into a trap,” Washington Post, June 23, 2022.
- “Ukraine and Russia Are Both Looking to the Nuremberg Trials—But Finding Different Lessons in the History,” Time, May 26, 2022.
- “Putin’s Russia has crossed a threshold: It now looks like 1933 Germany,” Boston Globe Ideas, April 28, 2022. (Sunday issue April 31, 2022).
- “De-Ukrainization is genocide: Biden was right to sound the alarm,” The Hill, April 14, 2022.
- “Lessons from the Soviets on how to hold Russia accountable for war crimes,” cowritten with Eugene Finkel, Los Angeles Times, April 13, 2022.
- “What a YouTube Comment Feed Might Tell Us About Dissent in Putin’s Russia,” The New Republic, March 29, 2022.
- “Reading Russian Media Between the Lines: On Kommersant’s ‘Nuremberg’ Photo“, NYU Jordan Center Blog, March 18, 2022.
- “Putin’s Revised Foreign Agent Law Could Enable Mass Repression“, Lawfare, March 14, 2022.
- “How the Soviet Union Helped Establish the Crime of Aggressive War,” Just Security, March 9, 2022.
- “Putin’s Memory Laws Set the Stage for His War in Ukraine,” Lawfare, February 28, 2022.
- “The Nuremberg Judgment,” for Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective, hosted by The Ohio State University and Miami University, October 2021.
- History 200 – Russia and America – Syllabus 2016 (pdf)
- History 201 – Russia and America – Syllabus 2020 (pdf)
- History 201 – Russia Engages America; America Engages Russia – Syllabus 2014 (pdf)
- History 223 – Explorations in European History – Topics: “Revolutionary Russia”
- History 419 – History of Soviet Russia – Syllabus 2020 (pdf)
- History 424 – Soviet Union & World, 1917-1991 – Syllabus 2015 (pdf)
- History 600 – Totalitarianism – Syllabus 2020 (pdf)
- History 600 – History of Idea of Human Rights – Syllabus 2010 (pdf)
- History 600 – Soviet Socialist Revolution through Film
- History 600 – Genocide, Justice, and Postwar Human Rights – Syllabus 2014 (pdf)
- History 600 – Stalin and Hitler – Syllabus 2016 (pdf)
- History 753 – Comparative World History
- History 850 – Graduate Seminar on the History and Historiography of the Soviet Union – Syllabus 2020 (pdf)
- History 891 – Postwar Europe – Syllabus 2013 (pdf)