Karen Petrone

petrone's picture
  • Professor and Department Chair
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • History
  • Jewish Studies
1715 Patterson Office Tower (enter through 1719)
Research Interests:

Spring 2018 Office Hours: Wednesday 11:00-12:30, Thursday 2:00-3:15, and by appointment.


Ph.D., Michigan, 1994



Karen Petrone's primary research interests are cultural history, gender history, propaganda, representations of war, and the history of subjectivity and everyday life, especially in Russia and the Soviet Union.

Her new book The Great War in Russian Memory (Indiana University Press, 2011) challenges the notion that World War I was a forgotten war in the Soviet Union.  She argues that although the war was not officially commemorated by the Soviet state, it was the subject of lively discouse about religion, heroism, violence and patriotism during the interwar period.  The book then traces how this discourse disappeared due to the growing militarization of the Soviet state in the 1930s.  This work broadens Petrone's expertise on the culture of the Soviet interwar period, a subject she first explored in her book on Stalinist celebrations in the 1930s, Life Has Become More Joyous, Comrades: Celebrations in the Time of Stalin (Indiana University Press, 2000).

Both in the project on World War I memory and in a series of other on-going projects, Petrone explores issues of gender. She has co-edited a volume of essays in comparative history with Jie-Hyun Lim of Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea, entitled Gender Politics in Mass Dictatorship: Global Perspectives (Palgrave, 2011).  She is co-writing an article (with Choi Chatterjee) on the development of gender history in post-Soviet Russia.  In her next project on the Soviet domestic perceptions of the  Soviet Afghan war (1979-1989), she hopes to explore the role of gender in Soviet justifications of and the population’s resistance to the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

Karen Petrone is also currently working (with Kenneth Slepyan) on a textbook project for Oxford University Press, using primary documents to narrate Soviet history from 1939-2000. She is co-editing a book on Everyday Life in Russia (with Choi Chatterjee, Mollie Cavender, and David Ransel) as well. 

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