Kyrill Kunakhovich

Assistant Professor

434 924 6415
Nau Hall 252
Office Hours: Tuesdays 1:30-3:30 and by appointment

Field & Specialties

Modern Europe
Cultural History
Cold War
European Studies


Ph.D. Princeton University, 2013

M.A. Princeton University, 2009

B.A. Yale University, 2005


Articles and Book Chapters

“The Red Director: Karl Kayser and the Evolution of GDR Theater.” The German Studies Review 40:1 (February 2017), 103-121.

“Reconstruction as Revolution: Cultural Life in Post-WWII Kraków and Leipzig.” East European Politics and Societies 30:3 (August 2016), 475-495.

“Postwar Cultures: Art and Communism in Kraków and Leipzig.” Pamięć i Śprawiedliwość [Poland] 25 (1/2015): 163-184.

“Ties that Bind, Ties that Divide: Second World Cultural Exchange at the Grassroots.” In Patryk Babiracki and Austin Jersild (eds.), Exploring the Second World: Socialist Internationalism in the Cold War. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

“The Cultural Cold War on the Home Front: The Political Role of Theaters in Communist Kraków and Leipzig.” In Christopher Balme and Berenika Szymanski (eds.), Theatre, Globalization and the Cold War. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

“Cinema Cultures of Integration: Film Distribution and Exhibition in the GDR and Czechoslovakia from the Perspective of Two Local Cases, 1945-1960.” With Pavel Skopal. In Lars Karl and Pavel Skopal (eds.), Film Industry and Cultural Policy in GDR and Czechoslovakia, 1945-1960. New York: Berghahn Books, 2015.

Internet and Popular Press Publications

I co-edited a special issue of EuropeNow (issue 14, February 2017) with Manuela Achilles and Nicole Shea. The theme is "Nationalism, Nativism, and the Revolt Against Globalization." The issue also featured a Campus Spotlight on UVA and its response to the events of August 11-12. It is available here.

Thanks to the generosity of the Mead Endowment, my students and I reconstructed an East German living room using hundreds of objects that we bought on eBay. You can check out our project website here, or follow us on Facebook.

Media Appearances

I spoke about Poland's Constitutional Crisis in on the Global Inquirer podcast. The episode (#12, October 2017) is available here.

I was a guest on Apropos of Something, on WPVC radio, in November 2017. According to the blurb, "We discussed authoritarianism, the nationalist rally that occurred in Poland on November 11, 2017, how people who live under dictatorships perceive life and what can be learned, and much more." The episode is available here.

Current Research

I am an historian of modern Europe, with a particular focus on central and eastern Europe in the twentieth century. My current book project, entitled Culture for the People: Art and Politics in Communist Poland and East Germany, considers how arts and culture helped to make, and then unmake, the Soviet Bloc. Focusing on two cities, Kraków in Poland and Leipzig in the GDR, it examines art's role in communist politics as well as communism's impact on the arts. 

I am also preparing two future projects. The first, a transnational history of the variety show, will explore the rise of mass politics in early twentieth-century Europe. The second will consider how UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, has developed and popularized global standards for culture.

Courses Taught

I teach courses on twentieth-century Europe, nationalism, communism, and the Cold War. I also teach in the European Studies program.

HIEU 1502, "The Berlin Wall: Lies and Spies in a Cold War City"

HIEU 1502, "Life in Dictatorships: Surviving Authoritarianism in Twentieth-Century Europe"

HIEU 2004, "Nationalism in Europe: From the UK to Ukraine"

HIEU 3670, "The Fall of Communism: How the Soviet Empire Lost the Cold War"

HIEU 4502, "Cold War Europe: One Continent Between Two Superpowers"

EURS 5000, "Europe and the World: An Introduction to European Studies"

HIST 9029, "Tutorial in the History and Theory of Nationalism"