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Photo of Mogilner, Marina

Marina Mogilner, PhD

Professor and Edward and Marianna Thaden Chair in Russian and East European History

History (Eurasia (Russian and Soviet imperial formations), Eastern Europe, intellectual, comparative empires)


Building & Room:

UH 1001


601 S Morgan St.

Office Phone:

(312) 996-3141

CV Download:

Marina Mogilner CV

Office Hours

Spring 2024 - Tuesday and Wednesday by appointment
Monday 11:00am – 02:00pm


I am a scholar of the Eurasian (Russian and Soviet) imperial formations, the politics of knowledge production in empires, race and race science, and human sciences broadly defined. As a co-founder and co-editor of the Ab Imperio quarterly, I develop New Imperial History approaches in the field of Eurasian, Russian/Soviet. and Eastern European studies.

In my first book, Mythology of the “Underground Man:” Russian Radical Microcosm in the Early Twentieth Century as an Object of Semiotic Analysis (Moscow, 1999), I traced the genesis, rise, and demise of the intellectual canon of Russian radicalism of the nineteenth−early twentieth centuries in its pan-imperial dimension. My second book, Homo Imperii: A History of Physical Anthropology in Russia (Moscow, 2008), was the result of a decade of research in archives and libraries in five countries. As a history of Russian physical anthropology, it is also a revisionist reading of the Russian imperial experience that is often regarded as “premodern,” based on “non-Western” ideologies and practices that did not need “race” to legitimize regimes of difference and cultural and social stratifications. A substantially revised and extended English version of this book is published in 2013 by Nebraska University Press in its acclaimed “Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology” series. My third book, A Race for the Future: Scientific Visions of Modern Russian Jewishness (Harvard University Press, 2022), is focused on the Russian Jews’ engagement with the concept of “race” as in science and national biopolitics. It reveals how the inability of Russia Jews in the rapidly nationalizing Russian Empire to easily conform to new standards of nationality prompted their turn to self-racializing to resist inevitable assimilation or second-class minority citizenship in the post-imperial future. The solution proposed by Russian Jewish intellectuals was to ground Jewish nationhood in a structure deeper than culture or territory—biology. My next book, Jews, Race, and the Politics of Difference. The Case of Vladimir Jabotinsky against the Russian Empire (Indiana University Press, 2023) extends this analysis into the sphere of Russian Jewish and imperial politics.

Parallel to this, I am engaged in a collective project of writing a new college textbook on Russian/Eurasian history that aims to integrate the most valuable achievements of the new imperial history approach (most important—the idea of studying the process of organizing, rationalizing, and making sense of human diversity).

I am interested in working with graduate students who intend to pursue research on the Russian empire and Soviet Union, comparative history of empires, nationalism, and racism, the history of science and ideas, and Russian/Eastern European-Jewish history.