My area of interest is the history of the Soviet Union, especially the history of Central Asia in the Soviet period.  My research has focused on the making of nations in early Soviet Central Asia and on nationality, race, and intermarriage in the postwar USSR.

  • Russian and Soviet history
  • Modern Central Asia
  • Borderlands, empires, and nations
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Genealogy and family history
  • Women and gender
  • Oral history


The Soviet Kitchen: A Cultural History

Benjamin Franklin’s Descendants and the American Romance with Genealogy

“Nationalism and Communism in Everyday Life,” chapter for Routledge History of Communism




•  Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples:  Ethnic Mixing in Soviet Central Asia.  (Ithaca:  Cornell University Press, 2022). Co-winner of 2023 Joseph Rothschild Prize in Nationalism and Ethnic Studies.

•  Intermarriage from Central Europe to Central Asia:  Mixed Families in the Age of Extremes, co-edited with Benjamin Frommer (Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press, 2020).

•  Tribal Nation: The Making of Soviet Turkmenistan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004; paperback edition 2007).


Selected recent articles and chapters

       “Crossing Boundaries: Maya Peterson’s Pipe Dreams,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and       Eurasian History, vol. 23, no. 2 (Spring 2022), pp. 350-355.

        “Introduction” (co-written with Benjamin Frommer), in Adrienne Edgar and Benjamin Frommer,    eds., Intermarriage from Central Europe to Central Asia:  Mixed Families in the Age of Extremes (Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press, 2020).

  • “Children of Mixed Marriage in Soviet Central Asia:  Dilemmas of Identity and Belonging,” in David Rainbow, ed., Ideologies of Race: Russia and the Soviet Union in Global Context (Montreal and Kingston:  McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019).

  •  “What to Name the Children?  Oral Histories of Ethnically Mixed Families in Soviet Central Asia,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, vol. 20, no. 2 (Spring 2019)

  • “Central Asian History as Soviet History,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, vol. 17, no. 3 (Summer 2016).

  • Nation Making and National Conflict under Communism,” in Stephen A. Smith, ed., The Oxford Handbook of World Communism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 522-541.
  • History 4C, Western Civilization, 1715-present
  • 123C  History of Europe, 1945-present
  • 135B History of Russia, 1800-1917
  • 135C History of the Soviet Union, 1917-1991
  •  201C Advanced Historical Literature (Comparative)
  •  135R Research Seminar in Russian History
  • 183DR  Readings in Central Asian History
  • 200E Historical Literature (20th Century Europe)
  • 223A/B  Research Seminar in Modern European History
  • 209A  The Academic Profession of History
  • Member of editorial board, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History (2021- )
  • Member, Board of Directors, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (2016-2019).
  • Member of editorial board, Central Asian Studies (London) 2014-present.
  • Member of editorial board, Forschungen zur Osteuropaeischen Geschichte, Harrassowitz Verlag, Germany (2012-2017)
  •  Karl Jaspers Center for Transcultural Relations, University of Heidelberg  (Germany)   Visiting research fellowship,  Sept.-Dec.  2015.
  • Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation) Central Asia Research and Training Initiative grant (with Nazykbek Kydyrmyshev), 2012-2014; with Saule Ualieyeva (2009-2010)
  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Bonn, Germany    Humboldt Advanced Research Fellowship, 2009-10
  • Berkshire Conference Article Prize, 2006