Susan Smith-Peter


Susan Smith-Peter works on Russian history beyond the two capitals of Moscow and St. Petersburg.  Beginning with a study of identity in the provinces of European (or central) Russia, she has branched out to investigate the regional identity of the Russian North and Siberia as well.  She has published articles on topics related to civil society and regional identity in such journals as The Russian Review, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History and Russian History/ Histoire Russe.  
Professor Smith-Peter joined the CSI faculty in 2001 and teaches classes on Russian history, European intellectual and political history, and world civilization, among others.  She has served as the history department representative to Faculty Senate and on various campus-wide committees.  She is former chair of the Columbia University Seminar on Slavic History and Culture and has received a Fulbright for study in Russia, as well as grants and awards from the American Historical Association, IREX, Fulbright-Hays, the University of Illinois and CUNY.


Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

B.A., Ohio University

Scholarship and Publications

“Pozharskii’s Grave and the Search for the Russian Nation in the Nineteenth Century,” Slavic Review 82, no. 1 (Spring 2023): 69-89.

Aleksei Evstaf’ev, The Great Republic Tested by the Touch of Truth, edited by Susan Smith-Peter. Bloomington, IN: Slavic Publishers, 2022. For more information, see:

“Rethinking ‘the Russian Archives,’” Ab Imperio 2, 2022: 63-69.

“The Struggle to Create a Regional Public in the Early Nineteenth-Century Russian Empire: The Case of Kazanskie izvestiia,” in Reading Russia: A History of Reading in Modern Russia, vol. 2, ed. Damiano Rebecchini and Raffaella Vassena (Milan: di/signi, 2020), 347-376.

“Pre-Revolutionary Russian Photography at the New York Public Library: An Introduction,” Slavic and East European Information Resources 19, no. 3-4 (2018): 263-268.

“Communism and Regionalism,” in Regionalism and Modern Europe: Identity Construction and Movements from 1890 to the Present Day, ed. Xose M. Nunez Seixas and Eric Storm (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), 137-149.

Imagining Russian Regions: Civil Society and Subnational Identity in Nineteenth-Century Russia,  Leiden: Brill, 2018. 328 pp.

Watch my book talk at NYU and read the story about it:

Listen to the interview with the New Books Network about the book:

And on Sean's Russia Blog:

“The Six Waves of Russian Regionalism in European Context, 1830-2000,” in Russia’s Regional Identities: The Power of the Provinces, ed. Edith Clowes, Gisela Erbsloh and Ani Kokobobo (London: Routledge, 2018), 15-43.

The Siberian Letters of George Kennan the Elder, 1866-1867.  Kennan Institute Occasional Papers, no. 310.  Washington, DC: The Kennan Institute, 2016. 21 pp.

Translated into Russian as: “Sibirskie pis’ma Dzhordzha Kennan-starshego, 1866-1867 gg.,” Sibirskie istoricheskie issledovaniia [Siberian Historical Research] 2016, no. 3: 28-42.

Co-authored with Vyacheslav Shevtsov. “Russian Society at a Provincial Scale: Ideas of Society in Provincial Newspapers,” Canadian-American Slavic Studies 50 (2016): 439-464.

“Sweet Development: The Sugar Beet Industry, Agricultural Societies and Agrarian Transformations in the Russian Empire, 1818-1913.” Cahiers du Monde Russe 57, vol. 1 (January-March 2016): 101-123.

“Making Empty Provinces: Eighteenth-Century Enlightenment Regionalism in Russian Provincial Journals.” REGION: Regional Studies of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia 4, 1 (Winter 2015): 7-29.

“'A Class of People Admitted to the Better Ranks': The First Generation of Creoles in Russian America, 1810s-1820s.” Ethnohistory 60, 3 (Summer 2013): 363-384.

“Russian America in Russian and American Historiography.” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 14, no. 1 (Winter 2013): 95-102.

“Bringing the Provinces into Focus: Subnational Spaces in the Recent Historiography of Russia.” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 12, no. 4 (Fall 2011): 835-848.

“Creating a Creole Estate in early Nineteenth-Century Russian America.” Cahiers du Monde Russe 51, no. 2-3 (April-September 2010): 441-459.

The Russian Provincial Newspaper and Its Public, 1788-1864. The Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European Studies, no. 1908.  Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008.  60 pp.

“Educating Peasant Girls for Motherhood: Religion and Primary Education in Mid-Nineteenth Century Russia.” The Russian Review 66, no. 3 (July 2007): 391-405.

“Defining the Russian People: Konstantin Arsen'ev and Russian Statistics before 1861.” History of Science 45, no. 1 (March 2007): 47-64.

“Russkaia statistika pervoi poloviny XIX v. v obshcheevropeiskom kontekste” [Russian statistics of the first half of the nineteenth century in the European context]. Voprosy istorii estestvoznanii i tekniki. no. 4 (Fall 2005): 125-136.

“Provincial Public Libraries and the Law in Nicholas I's Russia.” Library History 21 (July 2005): 103-119.

“Books Behind the Altar: Religion, Village Libraries, and the Moscow Agricultural Society.” Russian History/ Histoire Russe 31, no. 3 (Fall 2004): 213-233 (lead article).

Susan Smith-Peter photo

Contact Information

Office: Building 2N Room 204
Fax: 718.982.2864