Professor Catherine Merridale
Location: Arts Two 3.04
Professor of Contemporary History
Professor Merridale is on sabbatical leave until 2013
Catherine Merridale took her first degree in history at King’s College Cambridge and then moved to the Centre for Russian Studies, University of Birmingham, where she worked under the supervision of RW Davies for her PhD. The topic was the Communist Party in Moscow during the formative years 1925-1932, and her research involved spending an extended period at Moscow University during the earliest stages of Gorbachev’s reforms in 1986.
Returning to Britain, Merridale was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship in History at King’s College, Cambridge in 1987 and to a Senior Research Fellowship at the same college in 1990. In 1993, she began teaching at the University of Bristol, where she remained until joining Queen Mary as Professor of Contemporary History in January 2005.
Her work, which has been translated into eleven languages, continues to attract both academic and more general audiences. In 2001, her book, Night of Stone: Death and Memory in Russia, was awarded the Heinemann Prize for Literature, and the same book was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize.
Professor Merridale has a range of research interests in the general area of cultural and inter-disciplinary history. Currently, she is working on a major cultural history of the Moscow Kremlin, the aim of which is to explore the role of memory, myth and real or imagined continuity in Russia’s history across extended time as well as to investigate the cultures of elites and their representation to a wider public.
This work is intended to complement her publications on popular culture, trauma and collective memory by turning from the victims – the subjects of her earlier work – to what might be called the perpetrators. It also aims, in the post-Soviet context, to challenge existing paradigms of periodisation in Russia’s history. The project is funded by a Leverhulme major research grant to run from 2009-12.
Professor Merridale continues to be interested in all aspects of Russia’s cultural history, the history of warfare, and oral history. She has also published on the challenges of cross-cultural misunderstanding, the changing nature of history in the post-communist context, and on oral history.
Professor Merridale has supervised graduate students working on the Red Army and on Red Army veterans. She has also supervised students working on oral history and trauma. She would be delighted to discuss the research plans of PhD candidates looking for supervision in these and other areas of twentieth-century Russian and Soviet history, the history of the Soviet Union’s wars, and more generally on questions of Russian cultural history.
Ivan’s War: The Red Army, 1939-1945 (2005)
‘Redesigning History in Contemporary Russia’ (Journal of Contemporary History, vol 38, January 2003)
Night of Stone: Death and Memory in Russia (2000)
Moscow Politics and the Rise of Stalin (1990)