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Alison Rowley, PhD

Professor, History


B.A. Carleton University (Ottawa), Ph.D.Duke University (Durham, North Carolina)

Alison Rowley received her B.A. Honours in History from Carleton University in 1993 and then went on to get her Ph.D. from Duke University in 2000. Her research interests include Russian-American soft power relations, Russian social & revolutionary history, women's history, and Russia's depiction in popular culture.

Her current book projects are entitled Imagining Russia in America: Depicting the Other - from the Tsars to the Soviets (advanced contract with Bloomsbury Academic) and Reading the Romanovs: Historical Fiction's Enduring Fascination with the Russian Royal Family.

In 2016 Professor Rowley won a Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Faculty of Arts and Science.

Dr. Rowley served as President of the Canadian Association of Slavists from 2016 to 2021, and she co-chaired the organizing committee for the 10th ICCEES World Congress which was hosted by Concordia University in August 2021.  She is presently a member of the Education Advisory Council of the Blavatnik Archive Foundation.

Open Letters: Russian Popular Culture and the Picture Postcard, 1880-1922
Putin Kitsch in America

Teaching activities


2024 Fall Semester Teaching:

HIST 377 History of Russia

2025 Winter Semester Teaching:

HIST 202 History of Modern Europe

Courses taught

HIST 202 History of Modern Europe

HIST 371 History of the Russian Revolutionary Movement

HIST 377 History of Russia

HIST 378 History of Soviet Union

HIST 437 Confronting Stalin's Legacy, 1953-1991 

HIST 437 Narratives of the Stalin Era 

HIST 437 20th Century Russian Women

HIST 347 Soviet Women & World War II

HIST 437 Putin and the Global Public Sphere

(These 400-level seminars are cross-listed at the 600-level for MA students.)


Recent publications


Putin Kitsch in America (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2019).

Open Letters:  Russian Popular Culture and the Picture Postcard, 1880-1922 (University of Toronto Press, hardcover 2013; paperback 2021).

Articles & Book Chapters

"An Ephemeral Look at Russian Anarchist Life in the United States," Slavonic and East European Review, Vol 102, No. 1 (January 2024), pp. 43-65.

"Emma Goes to the Arctic: An American Socialite's Trip on a Soviet Icebreaker, 1931," Journal of Russian American Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1 (May 2024), pp. 1-16.

"Chained to a Wheelbarrow: Hard Labor on an 1890s Picture Postcard from Siberia," in Picturing Russian Empire, eds. V. Kivelson, J. Neuberger & S. Kozlov (Oxford University Press, 2024), pp. 241-47.

"Old Tricks for a New Dog: Toilet Humor, Politicized Kitsch and the Trump Presidency," in The Changing Meaning of Kitsch: From Rejection to Acceptance, eds. M. Ryynanen & Paco Barragan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023), pp. 143-164.

"An American in Magnitogorsk, 1930: Clare F. Saltz's Letter and a Half to His Aunt Hazel in La Crosse, WI," Journal of Russian American Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1 (May 2022), pp 40-51

"Feminine Majesty on an International Stage: French Postcards and Russian Empress Alexandra Feodorovna," in Empresses and Queens in Courtly Public Spheres  from the 17th to the 20th Century, ed Marion Romberg (Brill, 2021)

"Portraits of Putin: An installation reflecting on his twenty years in power and his presence in the global public sphere," Journal of Arts & Communities, Vol 12, Nos 1-2 (2020), pp 57-84

"Visiting Lenin: The Impressions of Foreign Visitors to the Mausoleums, 1924-1928," The Historian, Vol 82, No 4 (2020), pp 434-462

With AltheaThompson, “The Sisterhood of the Trump/Putin Cross-Stitch,” in Crafting Dissent: Handicraft as Protest fromthe American Revolution to the Pussyhats, ed. H. Mandell (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), pp. 319-322.

"Russian Revolutionary as American Celebrity: a Case Study of Yekaterina Breshko-Breshkovskaya," in The Palgrave Handbook on Women and Gender in Twentieth-Century Russia, ed. M. Ilic (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), pp. 7-23.

"'Trump and Putin sittin’ in a Tree': Material Culture, Slash and the Pornographication of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election," Porn Studies, Vol. 4, No. 4 (2017), pp. 381-405.

"Dark Tourism and the Death of Russian Emperor Alexander II, 1881-1891," The Historian, Vol. 79, No. 2 (Summer 2017), pp. 229-55.

"Picture Postcards as Recorders of the Changing Cult of Lenin, 1918-1930," The NEP Era: Soviet Russia, 1921-1928, Vol. 4 (2010), pp. 11-29 .

"The New Soviet Woman at the 1939 New York's World Fair," in T.J. Boisseau and A.M. Markwyn, eds., Gendering the Fair: Histories of Women and Gender at World's Fairs (University of Illinois Press, 2010), pp. 37-55.

"Monarchy and the Mundane: Picture Postcards and Images of the Romanovs, 1890-1917," Revolutionary Russia, Vol. 22, No. 2 (2009), pp. 125-152.

"Where Are All the Mother-Heroines? Images of Maternity in Soviet Films of the 1930s," Canadian Journal of History, Vol. 44, (Spring/Summer 2009), pp. 25-38.

"Popular Culture and Visual Narratives of Revolution: Russian Postcards, 1905-1922," Revolutionary Russia, Vol. 21, No. 1 (June 2008), pp. 1-31.

"Masha Grab Your Gun: 1930s Images of Soviet Women and the Defense of Their Country," MINERVA: Women and War  2/1 (Spring 2008), pp. 34-69.

"A Third Wave Writer and the Prose Tradition of the Soviet 1920s: The Similarities Between Zinovii Zinik's 'Cricket' and Iuri Olesha's Envy," Canadian Slavonic Papers, Vol. 49, Nos. 3-4 (2007), pp. 9-23.

"Sport in the Service of the State: Images of Physical Culture and Soviet Women, 1917-1941," The International Journal of the History of Sport, Vol 23, No 8 (2006), pp. 1314-1340.

"Spreading the Bolshevik Message? Soviet Regional Periodicals for Women in the 1920s and 1930s," Canadian Slavonic Papers, Vol. 47, Nos. 1-2 (2005), pp. 1-16.

"Beyond the Archives and Into Cyberspace: e-Bay as a Source For Historical Research and Teaching Materials," Women-East-West, No. 77 (2003), pp. 2-3.

"Kandinsky's Theory of Color and Olesha's Envy,"  Canadian Slavonic Papers, Vol. 44, Nos. 3-4 (2002), pp. 251-261.

"From the Concerns of Women to the Concerns of the State: Soviet Women's Magazines 1917-1941," Solanus: International Journal for Russian and East European Bibliographic, Library and Publishing Studies, Vol. 16 (2002), pp.85-97.

"Miniature Propaganda: Self-Definition and Soviet Postage Stamps, 1917-1941," Slavonica, Vol. 8, No. 2 (2002), pp. 135-157.

"Ready for Work and Defence: visual Progaganda and Soviet Women's Military Preparedness in the 1930s," Minerva: Quarterly Report on Women and the Military, Special Issue: Soviet and Russian Women's Experience of War and the Military, Vol. 18, Nos. 3-4 (2000), pp. 3-15.

Work in progress

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