This is what it feels like to be separated at the border

Victoria Smolkin is associate professor of history at Wesleyan University and author of “A Sacred Space Is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism.”

One November night in 1988, I crossed the Soviet border with my family, leaving behind friends, relatives, property and life as we knew it — forever. I was 8, traveling with my parents and 4-year-old brother. Between the four of us, we had refugee exit papers out of the U.S.S.R.; four suitcases and $360 ($90 per person), which was all that we were allowed to take with us; and our much-coveted tickets for the night train to Vienna, the first stop on the journey to our new life. We did not know what lay ahead, but we had no way back.  read more

Erik Grimmer-Solem is a scholar of modern German history, with specializations in economic and social history. His upcoming second book, Learning Empire: Globalization and the German Quest for World Status 1875–1918, under contract with Cambridge University Press, reinterprets the full arc of Imperial Germany’s history and offers a new perspective on the origins of the First World War and National Socialism. His scholarship on the Holocaust made headlines in Germany and was the subject of parliamentary discussions that led to the renaming of a military base in 2015. He offers courses on a wide range of topics in German history, the history of the welfare state, economic history, and historiography. He received a Binswanger Prize for his teaching in 2013.

Victoria Smolkin, "A Sacred Space is Never Empty"

Link http://eaglet.wesleyan.edu/MasterCalendar/EventDetails.aspx?EventDetailId=83052


When the Bolsheviks set out to build a new world in the wake of the Russian Revolution, they expected religion to die off. Soviet power used a variety of tools--from education to propaganda to terror—to turn its vision of a Communist world without religion into reality. Yet even with its monopoly on ideology and power, the Soviet Communist Party never succeeded in overcoming religion and creating an atheist society. Smolkin presents the first history of Soviet atheism from the 1917 revolution to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. A Sacred Space Is Never Empty explores the meaning of atheism for religious life, for Communist ideology, and for Soviet politics.

Victoria Smolkin is assistant professor of history at Wesleyan University.


Kleinberg Lectures in France, Elected to Historiography Commission


Ethan Kleinberg speaks at Bordeaux Montaigne University’s Doctoral School.

On March 27, Professor Ethan Kleinberg, director of the Center for the Humanities, presented a lecture to the École Doctorale on “The Specters of the Past,” as a distinguished visiting professor at University of Bordeaux Montaigne in Pessac, France.  read more ...

A Body in Fukushima: Recent Work Exhibition on Display in Zilkha Gallery


On Feb. 1, the Center for the Arts hosted a reception for A Body in Fukushima: Recent Work. The exhibition features photographs of dancer/performer Eiko Otake, the Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment, made by Bill Johnston, professor of history, professor of East Asian studies, professor of science in society and professor of environmental studies. On March 11, 2011, a tsunami and earthquake struck Japan causing three nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. More than 15,000 people died as a result of the natural disasters and 34 died while trying to evacuate following the release of radioactive materials.  View more


Elphick Edits Late Professor’s Book on the History of South Africa’s Racial Segregation

The late Jeffrey Butler, professor of history, emeritus, is the author of Cradock: How Segregation and Apartheid came to a South African Town, published by the University of Virginia Press, December 2017. Richard “Rick” Elphick, professor of history, emeritus, co-edited the book with the late Jeannette Hopkins, a former director of Wesleyan University Press.  read more

Book by Jeffrey Butler
Book by Jeffrey Butler

Valerie de la Harpe Butler and Jeffrey Butler, pictured together in San Francisco, Calif., 1986.
Valerie de la Harpe Butler and Jeffrey Butler, pictured together in San Francisco, Calif., 1986.

John Hopkins Program in the History of Science, Medicine & Technology

Interview with Jennifer Tucker, PhD from Wesleyan University about her colloquium talk to the Johns Hopkins Graduate Program in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology.

Haunting History:  For a Deconstructive Approach tothe Past (First Edition)

by Ethan Kleinberg


NYU book panel on Hauntng History

Kleinberg Speaks about Haunting History at Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore


Ethan Kleinberg, director of the Center for the Humanities, presented a talk about his new book,
Haunting History: For a Deconstructive Approach to the Past, at the Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore on
Sept. 28. Haunting History was published in August by Stanford University Press.


Homelands and Empires:  indigenous Spaces, Imperial Fictions, and Competition for Territory in Northeastern North America, 1690-1763

by Jeffers Lennox



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