Mark D. Steinberg

Professor of History, University of Illinois

Mark Steinberg has specialized for most of his career on the cultural, intellectual, and social history of Russia and the Soviet Union in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His recent and current research focuses on cities, revolutions, emotions, religion, violence, and utopias. He has recently completed Russian Utopia: A Century of Revolutionary Possibilities (series “Russian Shorts” / London: Bloomsbury, 2021) and is working on “Crooked and Straight in the City: Street, Night, and Morality in New York, Odessa, and Bombay in the 1920s and 1930s.”

His most recent books are The Russian Revolution, 1905-1921 (Oxford University Press, 2017) and the extensively revised ninth edition of A History of Russia, with Nicholas Riasanovsky (Oxford, January 2018). Other books include Moral Communities: The Culture of Class Relations in the Russian Printing Industry, 1867-1907 (California 1992); The Fall of the Romanovs: Political Dreams and Personal Struggles in a Time of Revolution, with Vladimir Khrustalev (Yale 1995); Voices of Revolution, 1917 (Yale 2001); Proletarian Imagination: Self, Modernity, and the Sacred in Russia, 1910-1925 (Cornell 2002); Petersburg Fin-de-Siecle (Yale, 2011); plus a video/audio lecture series, A History of Russia: From Peter the Great to Gorbachev. He has also co-edited a number of volumes, including Cultures in Flux: Lower-Class Values, Practices and Resistance in Late Imperial Russia, ed. with Stephen Frank (Princeton 1994); Sacred Stories: Religion and Spirituality in Modern Russia, ed. with Heather Coleman (Indiana 2006); Religion, Morality, and Community in Post-Soviet Societies, ed. with Catherine Wanner (Indiana , 2008); Kul’tury gorodov Rossiiskoi imperii na rubezhe XIX – XX vekov, ed. with Boris Kolonitskii (St. Petersburg, Evropeiskii dom, 2009); Interpreting Emotions in Russia and Eastern Europe, ed. with Valeria Sobol (Northern Illinois, 2011).

From 2006 to 2013, he was editor of the interdisciplinary journal Slavic Review. For three years he was coordinator of the Department of History’s Center for Historical Interpretation, which focused for three years on Global Utopias ( In 2019, he served as the elected President of ASEEES (the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies). He will retire from the University of Illinois in the summer of 2021.

He was born in San Francisco and received his B.A. from U.C. Santa Cruz and his doctoral degree from U.C. Berkeley in 1987. In the 1970s, he worked in New York City as a taxi driver and a printer’s apprentice. And he is the father of the drag artist Sasha Velour.

Official department page (with link to CV):  

Current and recent courses (and links to syllabi)

Recent Interview on the history of protest in Russia, for Russian media project “Russia of the Future,”, by Daria Gavrilova, summer 2020, posted December 8, 2020: . English