Professor Simon Dixon
Sir Bernard Pares Professor of Russian History
020 7679 8815
Having started to learn Russian at Bolton School in the 1970s, when my imagination was caught by two visits to Moscow at New Year, I read History at Cambridge before taking a doctorate at SSEES under the supervision of my predecessor in the chair, Geoffrey Hosking. I returned here in 2008 after an interval of over twenty years, during which I was successively Junior Research Fellow at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Glasgow, and Professor of Modern History at the University of Leeds. My main job at SSEES is as Head of Arts and Humanities Research, a role which allows me to maintain wide-ranging interests in a variety of disciplines and approaches. With Mark Mazower (Columbia) and James Retallack (Toronto), I edit the OUP monograph series Oxford Studies in Modern European History, and I am a member of the Council of the Royal Historical Society (2010-14). I am also an associate editor of the American journal, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History.
Though my longer publications over the past decade or so have been on the eighteenth century - these include The Modernisation of Russia, 1676-1825 (1999) and Catherine the Great (2009) - I have now returned to the subject of my original doctoral research, the Russian Orthodox Church in late imperial Russia. The aim is to show why an institution that was far from the moribund hulk of historiographical tradition nevertheless found it hard to respond not only to modernist intellectuals and popular spiritual need, but even to the tsarist regime. Recent products of this project include 'The "mad monk" Iliodor in Tsaritsyn', in Simon Dixon, Personality and Place in Russian Culture: Essays in memory of Lindsey Hughes (2010), a companion piece to my article on 'Archimandrite Mikhail (Semenov) and Russian Christian Socialism' in Historical Journal, 51, 3 (2008), 689-718.
Teaching and supervision
At undergraduate level, I teach all aspects of Russian history from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries with a particular concentration on the early-modern period (History of Russia, 1598-1856 and a Group 3 Special Subject on Monarchs and the Enlightenment in Russia and Central Europe, taught jointly with Dr Richard Butterwick). Since I have never believed in rigid boundaries between 'political', 'economic', 'cultural' or 'intellectual' history, I am keen to supervise interesting and original research projects on any aspect of the modern Russian past.
This page last modified
Wednesday 8 September 2010.