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Alison Smith


Alison K. Smith is Professor of History at the University of Toronto, where she teaches courses in the history of Russia and its empire and has developed transregional courses with colleagues in History (History of the Arctic) and in Slavic Languages & Literatures (Narrative and History). She holds a PhD (2000) from the University of Chicago and taught at Colorado State University before moving to Toronto. Her research has focused on the cultural and social history of tsarist Russia through studies of food (most recently in Cabbage and Caviar: A History of Food in Russia (Reaktion, 2021)) and of social status and its legibility (including For the Common Good and Their Own Well Being: Social Estates in Imperial Russia (Oxford, 2014)). In her current research, Smith seeks to unpack the everyday lives of everyday people living under the imperial autocracy through a focused study of one location: Gatchina palace and its surrounding area.

Smith has been an active member of ASEEES for more than twenty years, participating in its mentorship program as a mentor and serving on the Bruce Lincoln Book Prize Committee and the Code of Conduct Committee. In this moment of global crisis that has particular implications for our field, she recognizes the important role that ASEEES can play to address diversity in our field in multiple ways: by actively supporting efforts to build diversity among scholars in the field, by recognizing that states in the region were multiethnic and multiracial in ways that have often been obscured or sidelined, and by confronting the role that race has played in the ways those states are interpreted and studied.