Eugene M. Avrutin
Eugene M. Avrutin is Associate Professor of modern European Jewish history and Tobor family scholar in the Program of Jewish Culture and Society at the University of Illinois. He is the author and co-editor of seven books, including Jews and the Imperial State: Identification Politics in Tsarist Russia (Cornell University Press, 2010) and Ritual Murder in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Beyond: New Histories of an Old Accusation (Indiana University Press, 2017). Avrutin has published articles on documentation practices, the concept of race, and religious toleration and neighborly coexistence in the East European borderlands. His newest book, The Velizh Affair: Blood Libel in a Russian Town, was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. He is at work on several projects: a short exploration of racial politics and the demographic crisis in modern Russia, and a longer book on crime, criminality, and neighborly relations in the borderlands. His scholarship has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.
- Modern Jewish History, Eastern Europe, Russia
My scholarship explores historical problems that deal primarily with race and ethnicity, toleration and co-existence, legal culture, and the political dimensions of statecraft. Over the years, I have worked on several collaborative projects: on visual culture and ethnography, gender and autobiography, human mobility, ritual murder accusations, and anti-Jewish violence. My work incorporates extensive archival materials, which until the breakup of the Soviet Union have not been available to researchers. As a result, I have spent quite a bit of time in archives in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Minsk, and Vilnius. Most recently, I have turned my attention to how race works in the post-Soviet era, why, in particular, so many people identified (and continue to identify) with the slogan “Russia is for [ethnic] Russians.” As a teacher and scholar of East European Jewish history and culture and modern Russia, I incorporate much of what I write about in my courses on Jewish and European history, borderland violence and encounters, and legal culture.