Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Middle Tennessee State University
Website URL
Soviet and Russian history, Jehovah's Witnesses, Pentecostals, Soviet religious history, post-Soviet history, dissent and human rights, postwar Ukraine
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Personal Info

About Me

My research explores the shifting contours of dissent and freedom in the Soviet Empire and its successor states, particularly for marginal religious communities. My first book, Dissent on the Margins (2014) examined the history of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet successor states. Since then, I have been working on two research projects. The first is a case study of Sovietization in postwar Transcarpathia (Ukraine). It uses newly available state security files to reconstruct a 1949 investigation into village life and dissent in one small borderland village. The second project explores the transnational human rights movement on behalf of Soviet Pentecostals seeking emigration rights during the late Cold War. In particular, it charts the forgotten story of the “Siberian Seven,” a group of Pentecostals who spent nearly five years in the American Embassy in Moscow as part of their bid for asylum.

Recent Publications

Dissent on the Margins: How Soviet Jehovah’s Witnesses Defied Communism and Lived to Preach About It. Oxford University Press, 2014.

‘“I Saw the Light:’ Former Believer Testimonials in the Soviet Union, 1957-1987.” Cahiers du Monde russe 52, no. 1 (2011): 163-84.

“Jehovah’s Witnesses and Post-Soviet Religious Policy in Moldova and the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic.” Journal of Church and State 53, no. 3 (2011): 421-41.

“Contested Victims: Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Russian Orthodox Church, 1990 to 2004,” Religion, State and Society 35, no. 3 (2007): 261-78.

“Negotiating the Limits of Religious Pluralism in Post-Soviet Russia: The Anticult Movement in the Russian Orthodox Church, 1990-2004,” Russian Review 65, no. 4 (2006): 637-56.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Russia, Soviet Union, Ukraine, Moldova
Expertise by Geography
Eastern Europe, Russia
Expertise by Chronology
Modern, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Human Rights, Migration & Immigration, Politics, Religion