Smithsonian Journeys Experts
Nadieszda Kizenko teaches Russian and East European History at the State University of New York at Albany. She received degrees in Russian History and Literature at Harvard University, Columbia University, and the Harriman Institute. Prof. Kizenko explores the intersection of nations and empires, of history and culture, and the extent to which religion has been a constituent element of national and imperial identity. She has long been fascinated by how the three Baltic nations succeeded in keeping their distinctive identities even when ruled by Germans, Poles, and Russians. For Russia in particular, the three nations have meant a very specific form of access to Europe—and opposition to it.
Prof. Kizenko’s research, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Sciences Research Council, and the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, has allowed her to publish widely on questions of religion as an instrument of empire. Her first book, A Prodigal Saint: Father John of Kronstadt and the Russian People, won the Heldt Prize; a recent article, “The Feminization of Patriarchy?”, won the Best Article award from Association for the Study of Eastern Christianity. Prof. Kizenko is currently writing a history of confession in the Russian empire.