Denis Kozlov

Associate Professor; Undergraduate and Honours Coordinator

Denis Kozlov Jan 17 2020

Phone: 902-494-3579
Fax: 902-494-3349
Mailing Address: 
Room 3168, Marion McCain Building, 6135 University Ave
PO Box 15000, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Russian and Soviet history
  • Cultural history
  • Intellectual history
  • Memory
  • Social migration history
  • Literature and society


  • BA (Herzen Russian State Pedagogical Univ.)
  • MA (Mass. Amherst)
  • PhD (Toronto)

I am a historian of modern Russia. My research explores the social, cultural, and intellectual history of the Soviet Union during its late decades: from Stalin’s death in 1953 to the country’s collapse in 1991. My earlier work on the 1950s and 1960s, the epoch known as the Thaw, focused on reading audiences and the problem of comprehending individual life experience in the framework of twentieth-century past. Above all, I wrote about how the Soviet readers had interpreted the mass political violence of the Stalinist years. On the basis of archival evidence, primarily thousands of readers’ letters to literary journals, this work discussed how the evolution of historical consciousness and language had transformed Soviet society after Stalin. 

Currently, I am writing a history of Jewish migrations from the Soviet Union to the West during the 1970s and 1980s. The project examines the mechanisms of those migrations as well as the values and ideas that were invested in this population movement by its various participants.  

My teaching ranges from introductory surveys to advanced seminar courses on Soviet and Imperial Russia as well as on comparative cultural and intellectual history of modern Russia and the West. I supervise student research in these and adjacent fields.  

Selected publications


  • The Readers of Novyi Mir: Coming to Terms with the Stalinist Past. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2013. 442 pp.
  • Novoangliiskii separatism v SShA v nachale XIX veka. [New England Separatism in the United States in the Early Nineteenth Century.] Saint Petersburg: Glossa, 1997. 112 pp.

Edited Collections

  • The Thaw: Soviet Society and Culture during the 1950s and 1960s. Co-editor (with Eleonory Gilburd) Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013, paperback edition 2014. 528 pp.
  • The War Against the Peasantry, 1927-1930. Co-editor (with Lynne Viola, Viktor P. Danilov, and Nikolai A. Ivnitskii). Annals of Communism Series. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005. 427 pp.

Journal Guest Editorship

  • The Thaw and After: Late Soviet Culture and Society. In Russian Studies in History, vol. 49, no. 4 (Spring 2011); vol. 50, no. 1 (Summer 2011)

Peer Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters

  • “On Choice and Freedom in Transnational Migrations: The Soviet Jewish Migrants in Europe Who Were Left Behind,” Journal of Social History, vol. 57, no. 1 (Fall 2023): 156-186. Open Access.
  • “Reading during the Thaw: Subscription to Literary Periodicals as Evidence for an Intellectual History of Soviet Society,” in Reading Russia: A History of Reading in Modern Russia, vol. 3, ed. Damiano Rebecchini and Raffaella Vassena (Milan: Ledizioni/Milan State University Press, 2020): 159-216. Available online [PDF - 18.8MB].
  • "Nasledie ottepeli: k voprosu of otnosheniiakh sovetskoi literatury i obshchestva vtoroi poloviny 1960-kh godov" [Legacy of the Thaw:  On Relations between Soviet Literature and Society during the Late 1960s], Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, no. 125 (2014): 183-204 
  • “The Thaw as an Event in Russian History,” in The Thaw: Soviet Society and Culture during the 1950s and 1960s (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013): 18-81 (co-authored with E. Gilburd)
  • “Remembering and Explaining the Terror during the Thaw,” in The Thaw: Soviet Society and Culture during the 1950s and 1960s (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013): 176-230
  • “Introduction,” in The Thaw: Soviet Society and Culture during the 1950s and 1960s (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013): 3-17
  • “Athens and Apocalypse: Writing History in Soviet Russia,” in Oxford History of Historical Writing, vol. 5, ed. Daniel Woolf and Axel Schneider (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011): 375-398
  • “Otzyvy sovetskikh chitatelei 1960-kh gg. na povest’ A. I. Solzhenitsyna “Odin den’ Ivana Denisovicha”: Svidetel’stva iz arkhiva ‘Novogo mira’,” Noveishaia istoriia Rossii, no. 1 (2011): 178-200, and no. 2 (2011): 192-200. 32 pp. total
  • “Writing about the Thaw in Post-Soviet Russia,” Russian Studies in History, vol. 49, no. 4 (Spring 2011): 3-17
  • “‘I Have Not Read, but I Will Say’: Soviet Literary Audiences and Changing Ideas of Social Membership, 1958-1966,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, vol. 7, no. 3(Summer 2006): 557-97
  • “Naming the Social Evil: The Readers of Novyi mir and Vladimir Dudintsev’s Not by Bread Alone, 1956-1959 and beyond,” The Dilemmas of De-Stalinization: A Social and Cultural History of Reform in the Khrushchev Era, ed. Polly A. Jones (London & New York: Routledge,2006): 80-98
  • “The Leningrad Martyrology:  A Statistical Note on the 1937 Executions in Leningrad City and Region,” Canadian Slavonic Papers, vol. 44, no. 3-4 (September-December 2002): 175-208 Annual essay prize of the Canadian Association of Slavists, 2000
  • “The Historical Turn in Late Soviet Culture: Retrospectivism, Factography, Doubt, 1953-1991,”Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, vol. 2, no. 3 (Summer 2001): 577-600

Selected Research Awards and Fellowships  

  • SSHRC Insight Grant, 2019-2024
  • Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (School of Historical Studies), Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Assistant Professors, 2010-2011
  • Harvard University, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2008-09
  • Harvard University, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2007-08 (declined)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Held at the University of California, Berkeley, 2005-07
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Collaborative Research Grant, 2004-05 Awarded to organize a conference, “The Thaw: Soviet Society and Culture during the 1950s and 1960s,” University of California, Berkeley, May 2005; co-recipient with Eleonory Gilburd and Yuri Slezkine

Teaching Awards

  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award  2014-2015, Dalhousie University 

Teaching 2021-2022

Office Hours Winter 2024

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:15-5:00
  • Online by appointment