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History Department at Lehman College

Faculty: Rhiannon Dowling

Rhiannon DowlingAcademic Interests 

Russian history, history of crime and punishment


In my research I focus on the social and cultural history of Russia and the Soviet Union and on the international history of crime and punishment. I am currently finishing a book manuscript entitled “The Soviet War on Crime: The Criminal in Society, 1953-1991," a cultural and intellectual history of crime in the Soviet Union, which offers a new perspective on the Soviet state’s collapse and the effects of cold war ideological conflict on global conceptions of justice. My research has been published in the journals Russian HistoryKritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, and Aspasia: International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women’s and Gender History. I am also working on an article about the first publicly recognized Soviet serial killer, whose trial in 1964 led many to ponder whether socialism truly had improved humanity. My next book project will focus on children’s colonies in the two decades after the Russian Revolution.

Awards and Fellowships

  • Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES)
  • Robert C. Tucker/Stephen F. Cohen Dissertation Prize, 2018
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harvard Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, 2017-2018
  • Mabelle McLeod Lewis Dissertation Write-up Fellowship, UC Berkeley, 2015-2016
  • Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, 2013-2014


  • Book manuscript, "The Soviet War on Crime: The Criminal in Society, 1953-1991"
  • “Love and Other Legacies in Soviet Crime and Punishment,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, Winter 2020.
  • “Soviet Women in Brezhnev's Courts: 'The Case of Two Boys,' Gender, and Justice in Late Soviet Russia,” Russian History 43 (2016), 30-59.
  • “Communism, Consumerism and Gender in Early Cold War Film: The Case of Ninotchka and Russkii vopros.” Aspasia: International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History Vol. 8 (2013).
  • Translator, “No Total Totality: Forced Labor, Stalinism, and De-Stalinization,” Review Essay by Oleg Khlevniuk, Kritika 16, 4 (Fall 2015)