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Fitzpatrick, Sheila (1941–) - Russian History

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Sheila Fitzpatrick was born June 4, 1941, in Melbourne, Australia, of Scottish, Irish, and English ancestry. Her father was a historian, her mother a teacher. Sheila attended the Lauriston Girls’ School and then the University of Melbourne. She received a bachelor’s degree in 1961 and a doctorate in 1969.

Fitzpatrick’s first academic position was at the University of Birmingham, England, where she was visiting lecturer in Soviet history from 1971 to 1972. She then spent a year at the University of Texas at Austin, as lecturer in Slavic languages and literature. Fitzpatrick was appointed associate professor of history at St. John’s University in 1974, and in 1975 she took a job as assistant professor of history at Columbia University. She was promoted to associate professor before leaving Columbia, in 1980, to take a job as professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1987 Fitzpatrick was named Oliver H. Radkey Regents’ Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1990 she made her most recent move, to the University of Chicago, where she was named Bernadotte E. Schmitt Professor of History in 1994.

The author or editor of nine books and over forty articles, Fitzpatrick has explored the cultural, social, and political history of the former Soviet Union. Her first book, The Commissariat of Enlightenment , was translated into both Italian and Spanish, and her most recent book, Stalin’s Peasants: Resistance and Survival in the Russian Village After Collectivization , won the Heldt Prize in 1994. Reviewer Orlando Figes, writing in the Times Literary Supplement , says of Stalin’s Peasants that “no other work comes close to it in recounting the tragedy of collectivization from the peasant’s point of view.”

Fitzpatrick is currently working on several other books as well. Everyday Stalinism is under contract with Oxford University Press, and Popular Opposition in the Soviet Union Under Kruschev and Brezhnev , which she edits with Vladimir A. Kozlov, is under contract with Yale University Press. Fitzpatrick is also the editor for a special issue of the journal Russian History , which will be issued in 1996. Among her other current projects is a collection of essays, which she has titled Tear Off the Masks! Identity and Imposture in Stalinist Society .

Fitzpatrick currently serves on the editorial boards of several publications, including Annals of Communism, Russian Review , and the Journal of Modern History . She has served in a professional capacity for the American Historical Association, the Council for the Advancement of Slavic and East European Studies, the Joint Committee on Soviet Studies, and the National Council for Soviet and East European Research. She has been the recipient of a Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Chicago and of fellowships from the Guggenheim and Fulbright Foundations, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Sheila Fitzpatrick is married to physicist Michael Danos. Her principal interest outside of work is music, especially violin and piano.

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