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Dr. Michael David-Fox

Cummings Foundation Fellowship
"Smolensk under Nazi and Soviet Rule"

Professional Background

Dr. Michael David-Fox is Professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and the Department of History, Georgetown University (USA). He is also a founding editor of the academic journal, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History. He received his Ph.D., M.Phil, and M.A. in History from Yale University, New Haven, CT. His recent lectures include “Revisiting The Icon and the Axe and its Impact on Russian Studies” at the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, 2012; “Showcasing the Great Experiment: Cultural Diplomacy and Western Visitors to the Soviet Union” at Harvard University, 2011 and Center for the Book, Library of Congress; 2012. While in residence at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Dr. David-Fox conducted research on his book project titled,“Smolensk under Nazi and Soviet Rule.” He has language skills in English, German, French and Russian.

Dr. David-Fox is the author of several book publications including Showcasing the Great Experiment: Cultural Diplomacy and Western Visitors to the Soviet Union, 1921-1941 (2012, Oxford University Press) and Revolution of the Mind: Higher Learning Among the Bolsheviks, 1918-1929 (1997, Cornell University Press). He is co-editor of the forthcoming book, The Holocaust in the East: Local Perpetrators and Soviet Reactions (Pittsburgh Press, 2013). He has also contributed to numerous journals, volumes, and book chapters with articles such as “The Iron Curtain as Semi-Permeable Membrane: The Origins and Demise of the Stalinist Superiority Complex,” in Cold War Crossings: International Travel and Exchange Across the Soviet Bloc, 1940s-1960s (2013), “‘Russia and the West’ in a Soviet Key: Theodore Dreiser’s Russian Diary,” in Religion and National Identity in Russia and the Soviet Union (2011), “Annäherung der Extreme: Die UdSSR und rechtsradikalen Intellektuellen,” Osteuropa 59, 7-8 (2009). Dr. David-Fox was also a participant in the Jack and Anita Hess Seminar for Faculty, The Holocaust in the Soviet Union: New Sources, New Perspective for Use in Teaching, held at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010.

Fellowship Research

For his Cummings Foundation Fellowship, Dr. David-Fox researched the city of Smolensk under Nazi and Soviet rule. Despite holding a key place in the history of World War II on the Eastern front, much of the archival material in Smolensk is still an untapped resource. Dr. David-Fox especially focused on juxtaposing the Nazi occupation with Stalinism before 1941 and after 1943 in the region. While at the Museum, he examined both German and Russian-language archival collections, including 32 microfilm reels acquired by the Museum from the State Archive of Smolensk Oblast’ (GASO). These contain valuable administrative and strategic policy documentation on the city and localities of Smolensk region. They also include numerous political directives, materials on Jewish life and death, and documents on economics, agrarian affairs, and the partisan movement. He was also interested in studying 180 issues from the Russian-language newspaper Novyi put’ that were published in Smolensk, which provide insight into Nazi propaganda, educational policy, and cultural affairs during the occupation.

Dr. Michael David-Fox was in residence at the Center from May 1 to August 31, 2013.