Eugene Michael Avrutin

Tobor Family Endowed Professor of Modern European Jewish History

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Personal profile

Personal profile

Eugene M. Avrutin is the Tobor Family Endowed Professor of Modern European Jewish History at the University of Illinois. He is the author and co-editor of seven books, including Jews and the Imperial State: Identification Politics in Tsarist Russia (Cornell University Press, 2010) and Ritual Murder in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Beyond: New Histories of an Old Accusation (Indiana University Press, 2017). Avrutin has published articles on documentation practices, the concept of race, and religious toleration and neighborly coexistence in the East European borderlands. The Velizh Affair: Blood Libel in a Russian Town was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. He is at work on several projects: a short exploration of racial politics in modern Russia, and a longer book on crime, criminality, and neighborly relations in the borderlands. His scholarship has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Research Interests

Modern Jewish History, Eastern Europe, Russia

Office Address

309 Gregory Hall
810 S Wright
M/C 466
Urbana, IL 61801

Professional Information

Focusing primarily on the western borderlands of the Russian Empire, all of the research projects I have worked on during my academic career reflect my scholarly interests in law and empire, toleration and co-existence, and the political dimensions of statecraft. Over the years, I have worked on several collaborative projects: on visual culture and ethnography; anti-Jewish violence, including blood libel accusations and pogroms; and human mobility. My scholarship incorporates extensive archival materials, which until the breakup of the Soviet Union have not been available to researchers. As a result, I have spent quite a bit of time in archives and libraries in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Minsk, Kiev, and Vilnius. As a teacher and scholar of East European Jewish history and culture, I incorporate my research when I teach classes on Jewish, Russian, and European history, race and ethnicity, and borderland politics.


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