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Dr. Christine Varga-Harris

Schroeder Hall - SCH 313
Office Hours
Mondays, 3-4 PM, Thursdays, 3:30-4:30 PM, or by arrangement
  • About
  • Education
  • Awards & Honors
  • Research


Dr. Varga-Harris received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, her M.A. from the Center for Russian and East European Studies at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada), and her B.A. at McGill University (Montreal, Canada). Among the undergraduate courses she teaches at ISU are Imperial Russia, Soviet Russia, and Society and Daily Life in the East Bloc; she also teaches the graduate topics course Modern Russia (468) and the graduate research seminar (497).

Current Courses

102.001Modern Western Civilization

102.002Modern Western Civilization

366.001Soviet Russia

Teaching Interests & Areas

Russian history from the 800s through the 1990s; postwar/Communist/Cold War Eastern Europe through 1989; gender and imperialism; material and consumer culture

Research Interests & Areas

Russia (especially from 1945-1964/the late Stalin and Khrushchev eras); postwar Eastern Europe; daily life and material culture; Communist ideology and society; gender; Soviet cultural relations with non-aligned countries during the 1950s and 1960s.

Ph D History

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, IL

MA Russian and East European Studies

Carleton University
Ottawa, ON, Canada

BA History

McGill University
Montreal, PQ, Canada

Inspirational and Influential Faculty Member


Inspirational and Influential Faculty Member


Honorable Mention, Barbara Heldt Prize for Best Article in Slavic/East European/Eurasian Women’s and Gender Studies

Association of Women in Slavic Studies

Faculty Research Award


Finalist, University Teaching Initiative Award


Pre-Tenure Faculty Initiative Grant

College of Arts and Sciences, ISU

Finalist, University Research Initiative Award


Book Review

Rebecca Friedman, Modernity, Domesticity and Temporality in Russia: Time at Home (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020), Slavic Review 81, no. 4 (Winter 2022): 1100-1101.
"Feminist in Actions if not Name," Kritika 23, no. 3 (Summer 2022): 685-689. (historiographical essay centered on Yulia Gradskova, The Women’s International Democratic Federation, the Global south, and the Cold War: Defending the Rights of Women of the ‘Whole World’? (Routledge, 2021)
Katherine Zubovich, Moscow Monumental: Soviet Skyscrapers and Urban Life in Stalin’s Capital (Princeton University Press, 2021), American Historical Review 126, no. 3 (September 2021): 1343-1344.
Aaron Hale-Dorrell, Corn Crusade: Khrushchev’s Farming Revolution in the Post-Stalin Soviet Union (Oxford University Press, 2019), The Russian Review 78, no. 4 (October 2019): 685-686.
Andy Willimott, Living the Revolution: Urban Communes and Soviet Socialism, 1917-1932 (Oxford University Press, 2017), The English Historical Review 134, no. 567 (April 2019): 495-497.

Book, Authored

Stories of House and Home:  Soviet Apartment Life during the Khrushchev Years (Ithaca:  Cornell University Press, 2015).

Book, Chapter

“Socialist Internationalism Writ Small: Friendship and Sisterhood in Correspondence between Women in the Soviet Union and the Decolonizing World, 1950s-1960s,” in Socialist Internationalism and the Gritty Politics of the Particular: Second-Third World Spaces in the Cold War, ed. Kristin Roth-Ey (Bloomsbury Academic, 2023), 97-118.
“Decorating in Moderation, Moderating Character: Domestic Space and the Soviet Person in the Era of Mass Housing,” in Flying Panels: How Concrete Panels Changed the World , ed. Pedro Ignacio Alonso and Hugo Palmarola (Stockholm, Sweden: ArkDes/The Swedish Center for Architecture and Design, 2019), 198-207. Published in English, Spanish and Swedish editions as an accompaniment to the following art exhibition:

“Moving Toward Utopia:  Soviet Housing in the Atomic Age,” in Divided Dreamworlds?  The Cultural Cold War in East and West, ed. Peter Romijn, Giles Scott-Smith and Joes Segal (Amsterdam, NL:  Amsterdam University Press, 2012), 133-153.

“Forging Citizenship on the Home Front:  Reviving the Socialist Contract and Constructing Soviet Identity During the Thaw,” in The Dilemmas of De-Stalinization:  A Social and Cultural History of Reform in the Khrushchev Era, ed. Polly Jones (London, UK; New York City:  Routledge-Curzon, 2006; 2nd ed., 2009), 101-116.

Journal Article

“Soviet Women and Internationalism in Socialist Travel Itineraries in the 1950s and 1960s,” Diplomatic History 46, no. 3 (June 2022): 486-504.
“Between National Tradition and Western Modernization: Soviet Woman and Representations of Socialist Gender Equality as a ‘Third Way’ for Developing Countries, 1956-1964,” Slavic Review 78, no. 3 (Fall 2019): 758-781.

“Хрущёвка, коммуналка:  социализм и повседневность во время ‘Оттепели’,” Новейшая истoрия России [Contemporary History of Russia], nо. 1 (June 2011): 160-166.

“Homemaking and the Aesthetic and Moral Perimeters of the Soviet Home during the Khrushchev Era,” Journal of Social History 41, no. 3 (Spring 2008): 561-589.


“Cold War Herstories from Across the North-South Divide: Exchanges Between Women in the Soviet Union and the ‘Developing World’,” presented at the conference “The State-Socialist World Turned Global: Cultural Encounters during the Cold War,” University of Bucharest, 5-6 October 2023
“Liberation – Occupation: Navigating the Continuum of Soviet Military Presence in Hungary,” presented (via Zoom) at the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives, Budapest, 11 May 2023
"Women of the World Unite! The Soviet Women’s Committee and Cultural Outreach to Developing Countries during the 1950s and 1960s," Kolloquium zur Osteuropäischen Geschichte/Colloquium on Eastern European History, University of Bremen and Eberhard Karl University of Tübingen, 2021
“Between Friends: The Language of Gender Equality and ‘Sisterhood’ in Encounters among Soviet and ‘Third-World’ Women,” presented at the conference “Languages of Internationalism,” Birkbeck College, University of London, London, U.K., May 2017
“Soviet Hospitality, Counterpropaganda and Intelligence Gathering: The Soviet Women’s Committee and Visiting Delegates from Africa and Asia,” Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, Chicago, IL, November 2017
"Socialist Internationalism Writ Small: Friendship and Solidarity in Correspondence between Women in the Soviet Union and in the Decolonizing World," Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, Washington, D.C., November 2016

“Turning ‘Swamps’ into ‘Flowering Gardens’:  Soviet Woman as a Contact Zone between Women in the Soviet Union and those Transitioning from Colonialism in Africa and South Asia,” presented by invitation at the symposium “Contact Zones:  Articulating and Practicing Difference,” Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ, 23 January 2015

“Orientalism, Soviet-Style:  Cultural Exchange and the Inevitability of Communism in the World of Soviet Woman,” presented at the conference “Alternative Encounters:  The ‘Second World’ and the ‘Global South’, 1945-1991,” Imre Kertész Kolleg, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany, November 2014

“I complain, therefore I am – ‘Soviet’: Petitioning as a Ritual of Belonging to Soviet Society,” presented at the conference “Complaints: Cultures of Grievance in Eastern Europe and Eurasia,” Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 8-9 March 2013
“Researching Soviet Daily Life, Living in Russia: Portraits of Leningrad and St. Petersburg,” presented by invitation at the Annual Meeting of the Vladimir-Canterbury Sister City Association of Bloomington-Normal, Normal, IL, 12 November 2013

Grants & Contracts

Faculty International Travel Grant. College of Arts and Sciences. Illinois State University. (2023)
Visegrad Scholarship. Vera & Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (Budapest, Hungary). Other. (2023)
Jack and Anita Hess Faculty Seminar "Between Enemy Combatant and Racial ‘Other’: Nazi Persecution of Soviet POWs". Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Federal. (2020)