Anna Whittington

Anna Whittington

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (2019-2021)

Anna Whittington has accepted fellowships at the Kennan Institute in D.C. in Summer 2021 and the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard starting in Fall 2021.

Anna Whittington, a Mellon fellow at the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis (2019-2021), is a historian of citizenship and inequality across Soviet Eurasia. She is currently working on two books. The first, Repertoires of Citizenship: Inclusion, Inequality, and the Making of the Soviet People, explores the discourses and practices of Soviet citizenship and identity from the October Revolution to the Soviet collapse. The book demonstrates that Soviet elites promoted a civic identity built on active participation in public life, and that people across a wide geographical and cultural spectrum embraced this vision of equal citizenship, even as ethnic, gender, and linguistic differences created disparities in claims to this identity. Chapters investigate both the ideological construction of citizenship and the participatory institutions and practices that shaped citizens’ experience of and participation in Soviet citizenship across a diverse geographic and cultural space.

Her second project, A Mirror for Society: Censuses in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, shifts the attention from qualitative to quantitative studies of citizenship and explores how censuses both reflected and drove social change. As statistical institutions and technological developments improved methodology and processing times, censuses functioned as a means not only to count citizens and measure population changes but also as a tool for modeling future growth.

Both books draw on multilingual research conducted in more than two dozen archives in eight countries, as well as more than a decade of extensive work, travel, and study in the former Soviet Union, including 14 of 15 former Soviet Republics. This integrative approach sheds light on how the Soviet Union (and the Russian Empire before it) operated as a unified whole.

Her teaching interests include Russian, Soviet, and Central Asian history; the history of citizenship, knowledge production, frontiers and borders, and global communism. At WashU, she taught a first-year seminar on “Borders, Walls, and Frontiers” and will teach (with Clare Kim) an interdisciplinary theory and methods course on ideas and practices of (in)equality in Spring 2020.

Prior to coming to WashU, Dr. Whittington worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, and received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan.