I research post-World War II Russian and Eurasian history, with a particular interest in modernity, youth, consumption, popular culture, emotions, the Cold War, crime, violence, and social controls. My publications have appeared in the United States, France, Germany, Canada, England, and Russia, notably a brief monograph titled Having Fun in the Thaw: Youth Initiative Clubs in the Post-Stalin Years, in the series, The Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European Studies, #2201 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012).
Currently, I am completing a full-length monograph on Soviet youth and popular culture during the early and mid-Cold War period, called Socialist Fun: Youth, Consumption, and State-Sponsored Popular Culture in the Cold War Soviet Union, 1945-1970. Mainstream narratives about the Soviet Union, dating back to the Cold War, portray official cultural activities and youth groups as drab and dreary, militant and politicized. My in-depth examination of the state’s cultural offerings for young people from 1945 to 1970 challenges the remnants of western Cold War-era thinking and presents a much more nuanced image of Soviet culture and youth. In doing so, I shed light on the broader story of how the Soviet authorities attempted to construct a socialist version of modernity, meaning a way of life that is perceived as the most progressive and advanced, as a way of offering an alternative to the dominant western modernity. More specifically, I closely examine the Soviet efforts to construct a modern and socialist model of youthhood, consumption, popular culture, and emotional community, all in the context of the Cold War struggle between the superpowers for the hearts and minds of the populace, at home and abroad. This project draws on archival sources, official publications, the media, memoirs, and interviews I conducted to examine the enactment of the Kremlin’s cultural policy at the local level. I am also starting a new project on volunteer militias and youth violence that extends from the Cold War Soviet Union into post-Soviet Russia. For more on my research, see http://www.glebtsipursky.com/research Here is a brief video about my research: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrVE15Plc_8
My teaching focuses on European and global history, with a specialty in Russian, Eurasian, and Eastern European history. My teaching philosophy holds that students need to learn history in order to comprehend where our society came from, where it is heading, and what role they should take in it. Such study enables pupils to grasp the origins both of their own worldview and that of others, a process that involves reflecting on personal assumptions and learning to understand multiple perspectives. My teaching strives to inspire enthusiasm about history, orienting learners to its principles while laying out the path to lifelong learning. A key aspect of my pedagogy is developing critical analysis, effective communication, and collegial collaboration, interdisciplinary cognitive skills that facilitate success in professional, public, and personal life. In addition, I encourage curiosity, promote independent and creative thinking, and underline the importance of a globally informed outlook. Having acquired such qualities via my own study of history, I am passionate about passing them on to those I instruct.
Likewise, I am deeply interested in bringing digital media into historical teaching. “Class-sourcing,” my adaptation of the term "crowdsourcing," refers to class assignments where students build websites, Pinterest boards, wikis, blogs, videos, podcasts, and other digital artifacts aimed at informing a broad audience about a specific subject. For class-sourced assignments, students conduct independent research on a topic they chose, analyze the information they find, and organize and communicate this data in a digital format. Doing so strengthens student understanding of and engagement with class content, and builds valuable skills and abilities relevant to their professional, personal, and civic lives in research, communication, critical thinking, and digital technology.
I live in Westerville, Ohio, with my wife and two cats. In my free time, we enjoy nature walks in the Metroparks, taking trips to various local destinations in the central Ohio area, spending time with friends, and engaging in local community activities.