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Jonathan Brunstedt

Associate Professor
Areas of Speciality
  • Russian and Soviet History
  • 20th-Century Europe
  • Eastern European History
  • Cultural Memory
  • (979) 845-7151
  • Melbern G. Glasscock Building, 200
Professional Links
Ph.D., University of Oxford 2011

Research Interests

Jonathan Brunstedt is a historian of modern Russia and Eastern Europe. His research focuses on nationalism and historical memory in the Soviet Union and wider world, with a particular emphasis on the representation and commemoration of war. He is the author of The Soviet Myth of World War II: Patriotic Memory and the Russian Question in the USSR (Cambridge University Press), which Foreign Affairs selected as one of its “Best Books of the Year.” Through the lens of the myth and remembrance of victory in World War II, the book examines how a socialist society – ostensibly committed to Marxist ideals of internationalism and global class struggle – came to reconcile itself to notions of patriotism, homeland, Russian ethnocentrism, and the glorification of war. The study follows decades of tensions and competition between Russian-centered and “internationalist” conceptions of victory, arguing that these reflected a wider struggle over the nature of patriotic identity in a multiethnic society that continues to reverberate in the post-Soviet space.

His next major project explores the role of war memory in generating and sustaining U.S. and Soviet notions of national exceptionalism amid the Cold War. The project investigates how justifications for Cold War interventions and military conflicts, such as Vietnam and Afghanistan, provoked unanticipated popular reflections on questions of empire, ideology, and “just war.” It was these reflections, Brunstedt contends, that both hastened the USSR’s demise and fueled the revival of an American exceptionalism that outlived the Cold War.

A recipient of the College of Arts & Sciences inaugural Research Impact Award, Brunstedt has published widely, including an award-winning article in Nationalities Papers. His research has been supported by the NEH, the Woodrow Wilson Center Kennan Institute, the Aleksanteri Institute of the University of Helsinki, IREX, and the Scowcroft Institute, among other institutions. Previously, Brunstedt was an assistant professor of Modern European History at Utah State University. He completed his Ph.D. in Modern History and M.Phil., with distinction, at the University of Oxford.

You can read more about Brunstedt’s ongoing research in a recent interview:


The Soviet Myth of World War II - Brunstedt book jacket




The Soviet Myth of World War II: Patriotic Memory and the Russian Question in the USSR (Cambridge University Press, 2021)