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Julie Hessler

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I am a historian of the Soviet Union with interests spanning social, economic, cultural, and political history. In my first major project, I explored the social consequences of socialism in the retail sector, including the changing contours of black market activity and shifts in consumption, over three and a half decades of Soviet rule. The project resulted in my book A Social History of Soviet Trade: Trade Policy, Retail Practices, and Consumption, 1917-1953 (Princeton University Press, 2004) and related articles in Slavic Review, Europe-Asia Studies, and the edited volume Stalinism: New Directions.

Following the completion of my book, I began working on two quite different projects. Feeling the absence of historical, as against social scientific, scholarship on the later decades of the Soviet Union, I began a study of Soviet cultural relations with the Third World, including educational exchanges, bilateral “friendship” organizations, the specially-designated university for African, Asian, and Latin American students, Patrice Lumumba People’s Friendship University, and the development of Soviet ideas concerning developing countries and regions. My first article related to this topic, “Death of an African Student in Moscow: Race, Politics, and the Cold War,” (Cahiers du monde russe, Jan.-June 2006) discusses the challenges of multiculturalism and interracial relations in the USSR in the 1960s.

My other current project is a revision of Robert O. Paxton’s classic textbook Europe in the Twentieth Century. My primary role in the revision has been to rewrite the chapters on postwar Europe, as well as a few earlier sections connected to the USSR. Themes that emerge more strongly from my chapters than from the original book include decolonization, consumption and popular culture, the youth movement, terrorism, the Greens, shifting gender roles, feminism, immigration, race relations, religion and secularization, and the social, cultural, and economic history of Eastern Europe. This project has roots in my teaching position at UO, where I have regularly offered advanced courses on various aspects of twentieth-century European history.

Education:  B.A. Yale University, 1988; M.A. University of Chicago, 1989; Ph.D. University of Chicago 1996 (advisor:  Sheila Fitzpatrick).  With UO since 1995.