Current Research

My second historical monograph is tentatively titled Policing Faith: Gendarmes and Mystics in Early Nineteenth Century Russia. It will focus on the Imperial Third Section (secret police) investigations and prosecutions of various religious sectarians, especially women leaders and their adherents, in the period from 1800 to 1830. The book asks why the police were so interested in these activities and how that interest shifted over time, as well as examining the disparate interests of investigators, government leaders, religious leaders, and the ordinary people who denounced sectarians, befriended them, were interrogated about them or coerced into spying on them. It will address gender and religious practice, alternatives to official Orthodoxy, the transmission and reception of ideas relating to unreason from Western Europe to Russia, and the connections between all this and the developing conservatisms and nationalisms of the early and mid-nineteenth century, as well as the effect of involvement in these movements on the reign of Alexander I.

I am especially interested in the activities of Baronness von Krudener, Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna, Roksandra Sturdza, Sofia Svechina, and Ekaterina Tatarinova. I am currently preparing an article manuscript on the persecution of A. P. Dubovitskii, who was accused of being a member of the Tatarinova circle.