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Dr. Randall Dills

Randall Dills joined the faculty as Assistant Professor in 2012. He specializes in Russian and Soviet History and environmental history.

His research focuses on the interrelationship between the river Neva and the imperial Russian capital of St. Petersburg through the lens of urbanization, natural disaster and engineering. He is especially interested in changing patterns of river use in the nineteenth century as officials and engineers sought to transform the capital from an imperial stage piece and symbol of autocracy into a livable city. Research interests include institutional history, engineering and empire, and micro-histories of St. Petersburg. His book The Imperial Façade: Society, Culture and the State on the River Neva in Nineteenth Century Russia is in preparation. Several article length projects explore dimensions of the disastrous 1824 St. Petersburg flood, including a reappraisal of the government response and the effect of the flood on residents in one district of the city. A chapter on river engineering in St. Petersburg is forthcoming.

Dills earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in December 2010. His research has been supported by numerous grants and fellowships at UIUC. His dissertation was supported with Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowships from 2002-2004. In 2005-2006, he was a Fulbright-Hays DDRA fellow in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation.  Since 2011, he has served as a book review editor at H-Russia, the Russian history listserv at

Dills has taught courses at the University of Illinois and the University of Alabama in Huntsville in World History and the History of Science and Medicine. At the University of Louisville he will offer survey courses in Russian and Soviet History, courses on special topics, including late imperial culture, the Russian Revolution, Stalinism and Science and Technology in the Soviet Union. He also will periodically offer courses on environmental history. Currently he teaches:

HIST 102, World History Since 1500

HIST 363, Russian History I to 1861

HIST 364, Russian History II Since 1861

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