The Stenton Lecture and Workshop 2017

Thursday 23rd November marks the date of this year’s Stenton Lecture which is preceded by the Stenton Symposium.

What is the Stenton Lecture?

The Stenton lecture is an annual lecture by an eminent historian, hosted by the Department and held in honour of its founders, Sir Frank and Lady Stenton, both of whom were responsible for building the reputation of the University of Reading as a centre for historical excellence.


Stenton Lecture 2017

The Stenton Lecture: ‘The Russian Revolution: A Hundred Years On’, Professor Stephen Smith (All Soul’s College, Oxford)

7.30pm, Henley Business School G11.

This year marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution, join us to hear Professor Stephen Smith’s lecture which will reflect on the tumultuous events of 1917 and our attempts to understand this epochal moment in history.

The marginalization of the Left internationally following the rise of neoliberalism and the collapse of communism has created a climate in which revolutions are no longer looked on with much sympathy by historians. Historians of the Russian Revolution nowadays are interested less in “what went wrong” with the Bolshevik regime and more with demonstrating the inevitability of a minority revolution leading to totalitarian dictatorship. For contemporaries, the significance of October 1917 lay in its promise to commence a world revolution that would put an end to capitalist exploitation and socio-economic inequality and put the working class into power. A century on, that hardly looks to be its long-term historical significance. What stands out are elements of the Russian Revolution that were secondary so far as the Bolsheviks were concerned, such as women’s emancipation, nation-building, and anti-imperialism. These were all dimensions of the Revolution that were radically undermined by Stalin but never repudiated.  None of this, of course, is to deny that one may discuss the legacy of the Bolshevik Revolution in far more negative terms – in terms of one-party dictatorship, the shutting down of a civil society, the easy recourse to terror etc. The aim of the lecture, however, is to remind us that the legacy of 1917 was complex and contradictory, and included positive as well as negative elements.


Soviet Union - banner of images

Images of the Soviet Union. Edited from: Soviet banner 10.png by Ahmet Turhan (2016) via Wikimedia.



The Stenton Workshop: Using Archives in the Countries of the former Soviet Union

Preceding Professor Stephen Smith’s lecture on Thursday rather than a ‘Stenton Symposium’ we have a ‘Stenton Workshop’. The workshop, which will bring together young scholars to help them learn how to conduct research in the countries of the former Soviet Union.

The workshop is convened by Dr Andy Willimott with the assistance of co-conveners: Max Hodgson,  Siobhan Hearne, and Mark Vincent.

Details of the workshop can be found below.  If you wish to attend please send an email to Max Hodgson (


10:30 – 11:00 Coffee / tea and registration

11:00-12:30 Panel one: Problems of censorship and ‘gaps’ in the archive

Ira Roldugina (University of Oxford) A lesbian scholar working on the history of homosexuality at the FSB archive? Yes, it is possible

Polly Corrigan (Kings College London) Archive of the SBU in Kiev

Kamila Kocialkowka (University of Cambridge) Gaps in History: Soviet Censorship in Russian Archives

12:30-13:30 – Lunch

13:30-15:00 Panel two: Documents and collections

Elena Lesieur (University of Oxford) Central State Archives of Public Organizations, Kyiv

Lara Green (Northumbria University) An Archive in Transnational Context: GARF f. 5799 and the Russian Free Press Fund

Marina Maximova (Loughborough University) Archive of the Museum of Contemporary Culture Garage

Alessandro Iandolo (University of Oxford) Foreign Policy Archive of the Russian Federation and the Russian State Economic Archive

15:00-15:30 Coffee / tea break

15:30-17:30 Panel three: Researching in the former Soviet Union 

Catherine Gibson (European University Institute) E-stonian Archives: Digital Resources for Researching the Baltic Provinces of the Russian Empire

Alun Thomas (Staffordshire University) Archives in Almaty and Bishkek

Rob Hornsby (University of Leeds) Conducting research in Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia

Jo Laycock (Sheffield Hallam University) Archives in the Caucasus

17:30-18:00 Archive Guide and Future Plans


19:30 Stenton Lecture: Steve Smith, ‘The Russian Revolution: A Hundred Years On’  (To attend the Stenton Lecture please register separately here:




Further details of both the Stenton Lecture and the Stenton Symposium can be found via the History department’s pages.
Attendance to the Stenton Lecture is free but registration is required.  Bookings can be made at  For more information contact
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