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Anna Krylova, Associate Professor

Anna Krylova

Anna Krylova is Associate Professor of Modern Russian History. She works on twentieth-century Russia and the challenges posed in envisioning and building a socialist alternative in the age of industrial and post-industrial modernity and globalization. Questions of historical theory, gender theory, and practice in contemporary historical writing propel her work, with a special focus on historiographical problematics in Western scholarship on the Soviet Union and within the emergent field of transnational socialist history.

In addition to articles and book chapters, she is the author of Soviet Women in Combat: A History of Violence on the Eastern Front (Cambridge University Press, 2010) which won the 2011 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Association. Soviet Women in Combat interrogates historical and theoretical ways of conceptualizing heterosexual subjectivity, sexual difference, and gender forms by investigating the unprecedented historical phenomenon of Soviet young women’s en masse volunteering for World War II combat. Rather than reducing the story of Soviet women in combat to a narrative of desperate emergency on the Eastern front, the book asks how Stalinist Russia, reputedly a patriarchal society, managed to merge notions of soldierhood, womanhood, and motherhood first into a conceivable and then realizable agenda for the cohort of young female volunteers and for its prewar society and wartime armed forces. It pursues this question through such varied sources as state and military records, prewar and wartime press, fiction, films, interviews, diaries, as well as memoirs and letters written by men and women. So doing, the book advances reading strategies that allow us not only to trace the cultural tenacity of gender conventions, but also to analyze the possibilities for reimagining gender and heterosexual subjectivity other than along imperatives of oppositional and asymmetrical binarity. Soviet Women in Combat reveals a world in which neither women nor their male contemporaries had to consider the “woman soldier” to be an oxymoron. The book, as well, posits a question to the field of Women’s and Gender history about the definitional parameters of its foundational category––gender––and the kind of conceptual and interpretive habits such parameters have produced.

Her article “The Tenacious Liberal Subject in Soviet Studies” which appeared in the first Winter 2000 issue of Kritika has since been used in graduate courses. The article is an attempt to grasp the metahistory of US Soviet and Russian studies through the conception of “Soviet man” in American scholarly writings and popular culture.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  209 Carr Building
Office Phone:  (919) 684-3871
Email Address: send me a message

Teaching (Spring 2015):

    Social Sciences 311, WF 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
    (also cross-listed as AMI 286.01, LIT 286.01, RUSSIAN 352.01)
    Carr 229, W 03:05 PM-05:30 PM
Office Hours:

On leave, 2013-2014

PhDJohns Hopkins University2001
MA in HistoryThe Johns Hopkins University1998
MA in Political ScienceThe Johns Hopkins University1995

Cultural History
Intellectual History
European and Russia
Global Transnational History
War, Military and Society
Research Interests:

Her second book project, “Socialist Imaginaries of the Soviet Century,” reexamines the boundaries that scholars of modern Russia have assigned to Soviet socialism. It begins by inviting scholars to reflect whether the Bolshevik “basic tenets” that informed the imagination of a new type of industrial modernity in the 1900s-1930s could become the actual language of the industrial (even if non-market) society once it came into being. How, I ask, was this anti-individualist cultural paradigm of Bolshevism to address the profound social transformation brought about by the 1930s industrialization, namely, the appearance of an urban and professionally differentiated middle class defined by the alienating and self-centered character of intellectual labor and expectations of urban privacy? To answer this question, I undertake a rethinking of the dynamics of social and cultural change in twentieth century Russia. This monograph aims to make possible a new cultural history of Soviet Russia by historicizing the ways in which normative conceptions of socialist society, sociality and self evolved in Russia and the Soviet Union from the First Russian Revolution into the postwar and post-Stalinist years. It also expands analytics with which scholars approach the study of Soviet socialist modernity.

Professor Krylova is a co-organizer with Tani Barlow (Rice University) of the 2012-2015 Duke-Rice International Faculty-Graduate Workshop Series “COMMUNIST LEGACIES AND POST-COMMUNIST REALITIES IN THE TWENTIETH AND TWENTY-FIRST CENTURIES." Since 2009, she has been directing the History Department Colloquium. She also serves on the advisory board of the Research Triangle Seminar Series "History of the Military, War, and Society" and of the Carolina Seminar "Russia and Its Empire, East and West" (Duke, UNC at Chapel Hill).

She has delivered public talks on Soviet and European experiences in World War II, Soviet Cold War culture, and peculiarities of Russia’s capitalism and failing democracy. In 2009-2010, she participated in a CBC six-hour documentary series on World War II, which was broadcasted in Canada and France in May of 2010.

Awards and Honors

Fellow, National Humanities Center, 2013-2014.

Member, School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Spring Term, 2013.

2011 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Association, awarded for the best first book in European history.

2008-2009 Mellon Faculty Book Manuscript Workshop Fellowship, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University.

2006-2010 Hunt Family Assistant Professor of History, Duke University.

2005-2002 Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University.

1998-1999 Social Science Research Council Dissertation Write-up Grant.

1999 Stulman Graduate Student, Department of History, Johns Hopkins University.

1997-1998 IREX Individual Advanced Research Opportunities Fellowship.

1997-1998 Pre-Dissertation Fellowship Award, Association for Women in Slavic Studies.

Current Ph.D. Students  

  • Tom Jay Cinq-Mars  
  • Nina Arutyunyan  
  • Rachel Bessner  
Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. A. Krylova, Soviet Women in Combat: A History of Violence on the Eastern Front (Cambridge University Press) (2010)
  2. A. Krylova, “Soviet Modernity: Stephen Kotkin and The Bolshevik Predicament”, Contemporary European History (May, 2014)
  3. A. Krylova, “Neither Erased nor Remembered: Soviet “Women Combatants” and Cultural Strategies of Forgetting In Soviet Russia, 1940s-1980s", in Histories of the Aftermath: The European Postwar in Comparative Perspective, edited by Frank Biess and Robert G. Moeller (2010), Berghahn Books
  4. A. Krylova, Identity, Agency, and the First Soviet Generation, in Stephen Lovell (ed.), Generations in 20th Century Europe (2007), Palgrave Macmillan
  5. Beyond the Spontaneity-Consciousness Paradigm: 'Class Instinct' as a Promising Category of Historical Analysis, Slavic Review (Spring, 2003) [pdf]
  6. 'Healers of Wounded Souls': The Crisis of Private Life in Soviet Literature and Society, 1944-46, Journal of Modern History (June, 2001) [pdf]
  7. The Tenacious Liberal Subject in Soviet Studies, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, vol. 1 no. 1 (Winter, 2000) [pdf]

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