Robert P. Geraci

Associate Professor

(434) 924-6984
254 Nau Hall
Office Hours: Th 10:00 - 12:00 & by appt.

Field & Specialties

Modern Russia and Russian Empire
history of nationality, ethnicity, and race
history of imperialism
history of commerce


B.A. Swarthmore 1984

M.A. U.C. Berkeley 1989

Ph.D. U.C. Berkeley 1995



Window on the East: National and Imperial Identities in Late Tsarist Russia, Cornell University Press, 2001.  Paperback, 2008.  Russian translation:  Okno na vostok: Imperiia, orientalizm, natsiia i religiia v Rossii (Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, Moscow), 2013.


Coeditor (with Michael Khodarkovsky), Of Religion and Empire: Missions, Conversion and Tolerance in Tsarist Russia, Cornell University Press, 2001.  


Selected Articles and Book Chapters


"Pragmatism and Prejudice:  Revisiting the Origin of the Pale of Jewish Settlement and Its Historiography," Journal of Modern History (forthcoming).


"Dostoevsky and Islam," in Olga Maiorova and Deborah Martinsen,  eds., Dostoevsky in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2016), pp. 209-218.


"Empire and Ethnicity," in Simon Dixon, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Russian History (Oxford University Press, 2015).


"Economic Nationalism in Tsarist Russia: The Fluidity between International and Intra-Imperial Rivalries" (National Council for Eurasian and East European Research Working Paper, 2013).


"Did climate change controversy cause UVA's sacking of Teresa Sullivan?" The Guardian (November 14, 2012).


"On 'Colonial' Forms and Functions," Slavic Review (Spring 2010), 180-184.


"Capitalist Stereotypes and the Economic Organization of the Russian Empire: The Case of the Tiflis Armenians,” in Michael Branch, ed., Defining Self:  Essays on Emergent Identities in Russia, Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries (Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2009), pp. 365-383.  


“Minorities and Empire,” in Abbott Gleason, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Russian History (Basil Blackwell, 2009), pp. 243-260.


“Genocidal Impulses and Fantasies in Imperial Russia,” in A. Dirk Moses, ed. Genocide and Colonialism (Berghahn, 2008), pp. 343-371.


“Sunday Laws and Ethno-Commercial Rivalry in the Russian Empire, 1880s-1914” (National Council for Eurasian and East European Research Working Paper, 2006).


“Civilization and Civilizing Mission,” in John Merriman and Jay Winter, eds., Encyclopedia of Europe 1789-1914 (Scribner, 2006).


“Kul’turnaia sud’ba imperii pod voprosom: musul’manskii Vostok v rossiiskoi etnografii XIX veka” (Manifest Cultural Destiny in Question: The Muslim East in 19th-Century Russian Ethnography) in I. Gerasimov, S. Glebov, A. Kaplunovskii, M. Mogil’ner, and A. Semenov, eds., Novaia imperskaia istoriia v postsovetskom prostranstve [New Imperial History of Russian and Eurasia] (Ab Imperio, 2004), pp. 271- 306.


"Going Abroad or Going to Russia?: Orthodox Missionaries in the Kazakh Steppe, 1881-1917,” in Robert P. Geraci and Michael Khodarkovsky, eds., Of Religion and Empire: Missions, Conversion, and Tolerance in Tsarist Russia (Cornell University Press, 2001), pp. 274-310.


"Ethnic Minorities, Anthropology, and Russian National Identity on Trial: The Multan Case, 1892- 1896," Russian Review (October 2000): 530-554. Russian translation: “Etnicheskie men’shinstva, etnografiia, i russkaia natsional’naia identichnost’ pered litsom suda: Multanskoe delo 1892-1896 gg.,” in Aleksei Miller, Petr Kabytov and Paul Werth, eds., Rossiiskaia imperiia v sovremennoi zarubezhnoi literature [The Russian Empire in Contemporary Foreign Literature], (Moscow, 2005).


"Russian Orientalism at an Impasse: Tsarist Education Policy and the 1910 Conference on Islam," in Daniel Brower and Edward Lazzerini, eds. Russia's Orient: Imperial Borderlands and Peoples, 1700-1917 (Indiana University Press, 1997), pp. 138-167.


"The Il'minskii System and the Controversy over Non-Russian Teachers and Priests in the Middle Volga," in Catherine Evtuhov, Boris Gasparov, Alexander Ospovat, and Mark Von Hagen, eds.,Kazan, Moscow, St. Petersburg: Multiple Faces of the Russian Empire (Moscow: OGI, 1997), pp. 325-348.

Current Research

I am presently researching and writing a book called Imperial Bazaar:  Ethno-National Dimensions of Commerce in Russian Eurasia.  The book explores the implications of the extraordinary ethnic diversity of Russia’s urban trading and entrepreneurial classes primarily from the 18th century to the 1917 revolution, with an epilogue on the Soviet and post-Soviet periods.  It addresses the ways in which ethnic Russians often struggled in the world of commerce to hold their own against successful merchants and producers from minority groups such as Germans, Tatars, Jews, Armenians, Greeks, and foreigners; the expression of economic nationalism to support Russians’ putative role as the empire’s dominant group; stereotypes about the commercial capabilities and behavior of different ethnic groups; and state policies defining the commercial rights of these groups.  The book also compares the ethnic dimensions of commercial life in several major cities of the empire.  Research on the project has taken me to archives and libraries not only around the Russian Federation but also (so far) in Ukraine, Latvia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.

Awards & Honors

Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), Member, School of Historical Studies, Elizabeth and J. Richardson Dilworth Fellowship, 2011-2012.

National Council on Eurasian and East European Research, Title VIII Research Grant, 2011-2013.

National Council on Eurasian and East European Research, Title VIII Research Grant, 2004-2005.

International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) Individual  Advanced Research Opportunity Grant (Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan), 2003-2004.

Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Post-Doctoral Fellowship,  1996.

Davis Center for Russian Studies, Harvard University, Post- Doctoral Fellowship, 1995-1996.

Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Research Scholar,  1994-1995.

Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Dissertation Fellowship,  1992-1993.

International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) Long-Term  Research Exchange, Russia, 1991-1992.

Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, 1987-1989, 1993-1994.