Dr. Barbara Skinner

Dr. Barbara Skinner
History, Department of
Arts and Sciences, College of
SH 309
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  • Ph.D. - Russian and East European History, Georgetown University - 2001
  • M.A. - Russian Area Studies, Georgetown University - 1993
  • B.A. - Russian and East European Studies, Yale University - 1985

Teaching Interests

  • Russia, Eastern Europe, religion, empires, European cultural development, modernity, Cold War

Research Interests

  • Russian Empire, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Orthodox Church, Uniate (Greek Catholic) Church, religious and cultural development in Russian Empire, identity, national consciousness, imperial culture

Barbara Skinner received her B.A. from Yale University and M.A. from Georgetown University in Russian Area Studies. After working as a Russian interpreter and translator, she earned her Ph.D. in History from Georgetown University in 2001, specializing in Russian and East European history. She joined the faculty at ISU in 2005 after three years at Adelphi University in New York. Her research focuses on the early Russian Empire and religious policies in Russia and early modern Poland, and she has conducted research for her publications in Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Russia. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment of the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies, and the Social Science Research Council, among others. Dr. Skinner teaches courses on world civilizations, Russian history, European religious history, the Cold War, and graduate history methods.

HIST 101 - World Civilizations to 1500
HST 102 - World Civilizations from 1500
HIST 113 - The Modern World
HIST 313 - From James Bond to Jihad: the Cold War and post-Cold War World
HIST 470/470 - Tsarist Russia
HIST 471/571 - Modern Russia
HIST 496/596 - Christianity in European Society and Culture
HIST 650 - Method and Theory

B.A., Russian and East European Studies - Yale University (1985)

M.A., Russian Area Studies - Georgetown University (1993)

Ph.D., History - Georgetown University (2001)


  • In the Orthodox Fold: Russia’s Religious Conquest of its Western Empire, 1800-1855 – manuscript in production with anticipated completion summer 2019 -- explores the cultural integration of the lands of partitioned Poland into the Russian Empire and the impact of the conversion 1.5 million Belarusians and Ukrainians to Russian Orthodoxy in the early 19th century.
  • The Western Front of the Eastern Church: Uniate and Orthodox Conflict in Eighteenth-Century Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia (DeKalb, Ill.: Northern Illinois University Press, 2009) -- assesses the confessional conflicts in the Ukrainian and Belarusian lands of partitioned Poland as they came under Russian control in the late 18th century.

Recent articles:

  • “Russia’s Scriptural ‘Reformation’ in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries,” Vivliofika: E-Journal of Eighteenth-Century Russian Studies, Vol. 5 (2017): 73-102.
  • “New Perspectives on Orthodox Clerical Education in Right Bank Ukraine, 1825-1855,” in Shliakh u chotyry stolittia. Materialy Mizhnarodnoi naukovoi konferentsii “Ad Fontes – Do Zherel” do 400-i richnitsi zasnuvaniia Kyevo-Mogylians’koi akademii 12-14 zhovtnia, 2015 roku (Kyiv: National’nyi universitet Kievo-Mogylians’ka akademiia, 2016), 254-266.
  • "Guidelines to Faith: Instructional Literature for Russian Orthodox Clergy and Laity in the Late Eighteenth Century," Russian Review  74, no. 4 (October 2015): 599-623. 
  • "From Heresy to Humor: The Kiev Academy Spoofs the Uniate Church," Russian History 41 (2014): 23-38.
  • "Russian Orthodoxy Triumphant? Mass Conversion and Cultural Identity in Belarus, 1825-1855." NCEEER Working Paper (36 pp.), 2013. Published online by the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research at: http://www.ucis.pitt.edu/nceeer/2013_827-11g-Skinner.pdf
  • “Uniate Moral Theology in the Eighteenth Century,” Kyivs’ka Akademiia 7 (2009), 146-161.
  • “Khmelnytsky’s Shadow: The Confessional Legacy,” in Citizenship and Identity in a Multi-national Commonwealth: Poland-Lithuania in Context, 1569-1772, edited by Karin Friedrich and Barbara Pendzich (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 2009), 149-169. 


Public talks to ISU and Terre Haute community on current Russian/Ukrainian conflict:

  • "Ukraine: Past, Present, and Future," talk for ISU College of Arts and Sciences's Community Themester, Westminster Village, Terre Haute, April 2015.
  • "From Orange to Red: A Panel Discussion on Developments in Ukraine", public presentation at ISU Cunningham Memorial Library, April 2014.

Russian imperial history, empires, identity, Soviet history, Cold War, post-Soviet world, history of Christianity in Europe and Eastern Europe, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

  • the lived experience of empire, and cultural and national identity development within the Russian Empire
  • Orthodox Church and Russian religious policies
  • culture, religion, and identity in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth