Jane Burbank

Professor of History, Russian & Slavic Studies; Collegiate Professor

Harvard University, PhD 1981

Office Address: 

King Juan Carlos Center, Room 715



Field of Study: 

Modern Europe

Research Interests: 

Russian history; legal culture; empire; peasants.

Curriculum Vitae


Jane Burbank graduated from Reed College in Russian literature in 1967. She completed an M.A. in Soviet Studies at Harvard University and received her Ph.D. in History from Harvard in 1981. She taught at Harvard University, University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Michigan (where she directed the Center for Russian and East European Studies), before coming to NYU in 2002. She has been a visiting professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris; the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan; and the Humboldt University, Berlin. In her first monograph, Intelligentsia and Revolution: Russian Views of Bolshevism, 1917-1922, Burbank explored the interpretations of the Bolshevik revolution produced by Russian intellectuals – from anarchists to nationalists – during the revolution and civil war. Russian Peasants Go to Court: Legal Culture in the Countryside, 1905-1917, based on both statistical analysis and case studies, revealed, contrary to entrenched opinion, that Russian peasants used their local courts extensively and voluntarily. From the 1990s, Burbank has worked on several collective projects concerning Russian empire. One of her co-edited volumes, Russian Empire: Space, People, Power 1700-1930, brings together the work of a team of scholars working in Russia, Ukraine, the United States and Great Britain. Burbank's most recent book, co-written with Frederick Cooper, Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference, won the World History Association's Book Prize for 2011. She is now working on a monograph about imperial law and sovereignty in the province of Kazan (today's Tatarstan) from 1870 to 1917.

On leave 2015-2016.

Selected Works:


Empires.JPGEmpires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference, Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper (Princeton University Press, 2010)Translations:  Empires de la chine ancienne à nos jours.  Paris: Payot-Rivages, 2011.  Imperios:  Una nueva visión de la Historia universal.  Madrid: Critica, 2011.   Translations into Russian, German, and Turkish in process.
     *Winner of 2011 World History Association Book Prize.

RussianEmpire.jpgRussian Empire: Space, People, Power, 1700-1930, eds. Jane Burbank, Mark von Hagen, Anatolyi Remnev (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007)

JaneBurbank.jpgRussian Peasants Go to Court: Legal Culture in the Countryside, 1905-1917 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004)


"Eurasian Sovereignty: The Case of Kazan," Problems of Post-Communism, 62:1 (2015): 1-25.

"Traektorii imperii [imperial trajectories]," with Frederick Cooper, in Mify i zabluzhdeniia v izuchenii imperii i natsionalisme [Myths and Errors in the Study of Empires and Nationalism] (Moscow: Novoe izdatel'stvo, 2010), pp. 325-361. 

"'Nouvelles colonies' et 'vieux empires'," with Frederick Cooper, Mille neuf cent 27 (2009), 13-35.   

"The Well-Ordered Peasant Village: Law and Sanitation at Russian Local Courts," in Belinda Davis, Thomas Lindenberger and Michael Wildt, eds., Alltag, Erfahrung, Eigensinn (Frankfurt/NewYork: Campus Verlag, 2008), 218-231. 

"Empire, droits et citoyenneté de 212 à 1946," with Frederick Cooper, Annales HSS, mai-juin 2008, no. 3, 495-531. 

"Securing Peasant Society: Constables and Courts in Rural Russia, 1905-1917," in Alf Luedtke and Michael Wildt, eds., Staats-Gewalt: Ausnahmezustand und Sicherheitsregimes Historische Perspektiven (Goettingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2008), 91-116. 

"Coming into the Territory: Uncertainty and Empire,"  with Mark von Hagen, in Jane Burbank et al, eds., Russian Empire: Space, People, Power 1700-1930 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007), 1-29. 

"An Imperial Rights Regime: Law and Citizenship in the Russian Empire,"  Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 7, 3 (Summer 2006): 397-431.

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Updated on 01/25/2016