Dr Andy Willimott
Lecturer in Modern Russian History
I am a historian of modern Russia and the Soviet Union, with a particular interest in the formation and popular experience of revolution, radical discourse, and utopian models. My book 'Living the Revolution: Urban Communes & Soviet Socialism, 1917-1932' (Oxford University Press)—recipient of the Alexander Nove Book Prize and Honorable Mention W. Bruce Lincoln Book Prize—tells the story of fiery-eyed, bed-headed youths determined to throw their lot in with the Bolsheviks after October 1917. Challenging established readings of the Bolshevik project, 'Living the Revolution' shows that Soviet ideology could both frame and fire the imagination. Reviewers called it ‘Essential’, ‘original and engaging,’ ‘Beautifully written, meticulously researched, and bursting with narrative appeal.’
In addition, I co-edited (with Matthias Neumann) 'Rethinking the Russian Revolution as Historical Divide' (Routledge), offering a pioneering examination of how Russian tradition and pan-European socialist ideas came together to forge the Soviet experience 'across 1917'. Bridging historiographical divisions that have come to stress ‘change’ or ‘continuity’ when assessing Russian-Soviet political culture, this book seeks to help reshape the way we study 1917 and the resultant Soviet project. Among other things, this book examines the social and cultural frameworks that helped determine Soviet perceptions of social duty, justice, and governance.
I have also published, and continue to publish, on the Soviet urban environment, community-based blueprints for socialism, radical models of domesticity, the concept of ‘socialist civil society,’ as well as revolutionary experience and memory. My research has been funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the Leverhulme Trust. And, in 2017, I was awarded a British Academy Rising Star Award and elected to Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
I have served as Postgraduates Representative on the National Committee of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES). In this capacity, I organised and co-organised a number of conferences and workshops designed to facilitate further postgraduate research into Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. This culminated in the production of the co-authored guide 'Using Archives and Libraries in the Former Soviet Union' (BASEES).
I joined QMUL as a 2020 Fellow of the Institute for the Humanities & Social Sciences and Lecturer in Modern Russian History in the School of History. Previously, I taught at the University of Reading, UCL School of Slavonic & East European History, and the University of East Anglia.
The Russian Revolution in global context
Community-based blueprints for socialism
Popular / lived experience of revolution
Soviet everyday life
Socialist urban environment
Living the Revolution: Urban Communes and Soviet Socialism, 1917-1932 (Oxford University Press, 2017). ISBN: 9780198725824
Rethinking the Russian Revolution as Historical Divide, co-ed. with M. Neumann, (Routledge, 2018). ISBN: 9781138945623
Using Archives and Libraries in the Former Soviet Union, co-ed with Samantha Sherry and Jonathan Waterlow, (BASEES).
‘“How do you live?”: Experiments in Revolutionary Living after 1917,” Journal of Architecture, vol. 22, issue 3 (June, 2017): 437-457
‘“The Russian Revolution: People of the Future,” History Today, vol. 67, issue 10 (October, 2017): 24-35
‘“Perestroika of Life,” The Architectural Review, issue 1445 (2017): 24-30
“The Kommuna Impulse: Collective Mechanisms and Commune-ists in the Early Soviet State,” Revolutionary Russia vol. 24, no.1 (June, 2011): 59-78.
“Revolutionary Participation, Youthful Civic-Mindedness,” in James Harris, Peter Whitewood and Lara Douds, (eds.) The Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution: Illiberal Liberation, 1917-1941 (Bloomsbury, In press).
“‘Read all about it!’: Soviet Press and Periodicals,” in Routledge Companion to Sources in Russian History ed. George Gilbert. (Routledge, In press)
“Utopia at Home: Inventing a Socialist Lifestyle,” in Rebecca Freidman & Deirdre Ruscitti Harshman (eds.) The Soviet Home: Domestic Ideology and Practice (Pittsburgh University Press, In press)
“Crossing the divide: Tradition, rupture, and modernity in revolutionary Russia,” co-author with Matthias Neumann, Rethinking the Russian Revolution as Historical Divide, (Routledge).
“Everyday Revolution: The Making the Soviet Urban Communes,” eds. Adele Lindenmeyr, Christopher Read & Peter Waldron, Russia’s Home Front in War and Revolution, 1914-1922: Book 2. The Experience of War and Revolution (Slavica, 2016)
Enquiries for postgraduate supervision are welcome, especially on the following themes:
Community-based blueprints for socialism
Utopian and socialist experimentation
Lived experience of Russian modernity / the Russian Revolution, / Soviet history.
Subjects studied by past students and postdocs include:
Soviet penal policy in transnational perspective
Socialist Fashion in the Early Soviet State
RA Lates Lecture: “New Soviet World,” Royal Academy of Arts, 18 February 2017
[Exhibition event for “Revolution: Russian Art, 1917-1932”]
RA Discussion Panel: “A New Communal: быт—way of life”, Royal Academy of Arts, 10 April 2017
Organiser: The Annual Stenton Lecture, 2017: “The Russian Revolution: A Hundred Years On,” 23 November 2017 [Live audience: 280; Live-stream audience: 2,437; users reached: 53,836]
‘Living Revolutionary Dreams: Utopia and the Vanguard of 1917,’ Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, 16 November 2017
‘Living the Revolution: Inventing a Socialist Lifestyle,’ Institute of Historical Research, The Russian Revolution Centenary Lecture Series, London, 26 September 2017
‘A Century of Revolution in Architecture and Urbanism,’ Calvert Gallery, London, 14 June 2017
‘Living the Revolution,’ Social Histories of the Russian Revolution, Birkbeck Public Lecture Series, London, 15 December 2016
On-screen expert - BBC 4 TimeWatch – Russia: A Century of Suspicion, (2017)
Sean’s Russia Blog Podcast, University of Pittsburgh—author interview, (2018)
Listed guest expert for 360 Productions (producer for BBC)
Interview source for: Talita Marchao, “Communistas no poder,” [Communists in Power] UOL Notícias, São Paulo, (7 November 2017)