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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Professor Catriona Kelly

Honorary Professor of Russian and Soviet Culture; Senior Research Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge
Slavonic Studies
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 765113

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom


Catriona Kelly was brought up in London, and studied Russian at the University of Oxford and the University of Voronezh, USSR. After holding a Junior Research Fellowship and a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Christ Church, Oxford, she was employed from 1993 at the University of London (SSEES) before appointment in 1996 to a University Lecturership (from 2002, Professorship) at the University of Oxford and a Tutorial Fellowship at New College. In 2021, she was elected to a Senior Research Fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge. Professor Kelly is the author of many books, edited collections, and articles in the area of Russian history and Russian culture from the late eighteenth century to the present day, with a particular focus on urban history (particularly the history of Leningrad and St Petersburg), the preservation of architectural heritage, Russian modernism, women’s writing and gender history, the history of politeness, children’s history, and the history of cinema in the post-Stalin years, especially production history in the 1960s-1980s. She has also published literary translations, especially of poetry, and has frequently written for the general literary press (for instance, The Guardian and The Times Literary Supplement), as well as making appearances on radio and TV. Professor Kelly has been a member of juries for literary and book prizes (the Independent Prize for Foreign Fiction, the Pushkin Russian Book Prize, the Rossica Prize, and the Joseph Brodsky Prize for the translation of Russian poetry) and for the Golden Arch film prize (Moscow, 2018, 2019, and 2021). She has served on the editorial board of several leading journals, including Slavic Review (2011-2021), Kritika, Russian Review, Slavonic and East European Review, and Antropologicheskii forum/Forum for Anthropology and Culture (St Petersburg). Professor Kelly was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2007, and in 2015, she was President of the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) – the only person so far not working at a US university to hold this position.

Catriona Kelly is currently working on a study of historical film in the last decades of Soviet power, and also a brief history of Russian food for the Bloomsbury ‘Russian Shorts’ series, as well as a collection of essays for Legenda, Out of Focus: Russian Culture at the Margins, to be published in 2022. She regularly visits Russia (Covid permitting), and has a long-standing collaboration with the European University, St Petersburg. She has done research and given lectures and talks in numerous other Russian cities also, including Moscow, Ekaterinburg, Vologda, and Kazan', as well as in other parts of the former USSR where Russian is widely spoken, for instance Kyiv, Riga, and Almaty.

Professor Kelly welcomes enquiries from potential M.Phil and doctoral students with research interests relevant to her own.

Research interests: 

history of cinema, 1960s-1980s; urban history; history of childhood; Russian modernism; gender history.

Published works: 

Человек на все сезоны: апсайклинг одного шпиона-героя при советской власти и после [A Man for All Seasons: The Upcycling of a Spy Hero] // Новое литературное обозрение. 2021. № 169.

Soviet Art House: Lenfilm Studio under Brezhnev (Oxford University Press, 2021).

‘Memory and Truth: Stravinsky’s Childhood (1882-1901)’, in Graham Griffiths (ed.), Stravinsky: A Cambridge Companion (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

Стоп-кадр: Катриона Келли, «Мама вышла замуж» [Freeze Frame: Catriona Kelly on Vitaly Mel’nikov’s Mother’s Got Married ],1.10.2018

Период запоя: Кинопроизводство в Ленинграде брежневской эпохи [Period of Intoxication: Filmmaking in Brezhnev-Era Leningrad] // Новое литературное обозрение. 2018. № 152.

‘Protest and Discipline: Shostakovich and the Revolutionary Self’, in Vestnik Sankt-Peterburgskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Istoriya. Vol. 63 (2018), no. 4, pp. 1132-55.

‘Russian Modernism: Kandinsky, Stravinsky, Mayakovsky’ for The Cambridge History of Russian Modernism, ed. Vincent Sherry (2017).

Socialist Churches: Radical Secularization and the Preservation of the Past in Petrograd and Leningrad, 1918-1988 (Northern Illinois University Press, 2016).

St Petersburg: Shadows of the Past (Yale University Press, 2014). (Forthcoming in Russian as Санкт-Петербург: тени прошлого, Bibliorossika/Academic Studies Press, 2021).

‘The New Soviet Man and Woman’, in Simon Dixon (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Russian History  <>St Petersburg: Shadows of the Past (Yale University Press, 2014).

‘Leningrad Cuisine/La cuisine leningradaise: A Contradiction in Terms?’, Forum for Anthropology and Culture, no. 9 (2013),

(ed., with Mark Bassin) Soviet and Post-Soviet Identities (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

’”Исправлять ли историю”: споры об охране памятников в Ленинграде 1960-х-1970-х гг.’, Neprikosnovennyi zapas (special number “Советская память/Память о советском”). Also co-editor of the introduction., 2 (2009), ,   Article Weblink

With Svetlana Sirotinina, ‘ “I didn’t understand, but it was funny”: Soviet state festivals through the eyes of children’, Forum for Anthropology and Culture, 5 (2008).

Children’s World: Growing Up in Russia, 1890-1991 (London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007)

Comrade Pavlik: The Rise and Fall of a Soviet Boy Hero Also in Russian as Товарищ Павлик: Взлет и падение советского мальчика-героя) (London, Granta Books; М.: НЛО, 2005; 2009)

Russian Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001)

Refining Russia: Advice Literature, Polite Culture, and Gender from Catherine to Yeltsin (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001)

Editor, with Stephen Lovell, Russian Literature, Modernism and the Visual Arts (Cambridge: CUP, 2000 (reprinted 2008))

With David Shepherd, Constructing Russian Culture in the Age of Revolution (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1998)

A History of Russian Women’s Writing (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1994)

Petrushka, the Russian Carnival Puppet Theatre (Cambridge CUP, 1990 (reprinted 2009))


Photo credit © John Cairns