Loyola University Chicago

Department of History

Faculty and Staff Directory


Title/s:  Professor

Specialty Area: Russian History

Office #:  Crown Center 507

Phone: 773.508.2775



Michael Khodarkovsky (Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1987; B.A., Kalmyk State University, Elista, Russia) is a Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago where he teaches courses in Russian empire, comparative empires, colonialism, and Western civilization.

Khodarkovsky is a historian of the Russian Empire who specializes in the history of Russia's imperial expansion into the Eurasian borderlands.  His first books examined the relationship between the expanding Russian state and the non-Christian peoples across the colonial frontier, notably in Where Two Worlds Met: the Russian State and the Kalmyk Nomads, 1600-1771 (Cornell University Press, 1992) and Russia’s Steppe Frontier: The Making of a Colonial Empire, 1500-1800 (Indiana University Press, 2002).  He has explored the impact of organized religion, missionary work and religious conversion on Russia's non-Christian population in Of Religion and Empire: Missions, Conversion and Tolerance in Tsarist Russia (Cornell University Press, 2001), which he co-edited with Robert Geraci.  His most recent book, Bitter Choices: Loyalty and Betrayal in the Russian Conquest of the North Caucasus (Cornell University Press, 2011), is a history of the North Caucasus during the Russian conquest and written in a non-traditional historical genre.  His books are translated into Russian, Polish, and Turkish languages.

He is currently working on a project, which compares the policies and practices of the Russian empire with those of its Eurasian counterparts between the sixteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  The project is tentatively titled Imperial Visions, Policies and Impacts: Russian and Eurasian Empires in Comparative Perspective, 1600-1800s. His other book project Russia's 20th Century, which offers an unconventional view of the Russian and Soviet society through the 20th century, is near completion. 

Khodarkovsky has most recently lectured at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary; the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany; Humboldt Universität in Berlin; Georg-August Universität in Göttingen; Leibnitz Universität in Hannover; Hamburger Institut für Sozialforshchung; Kings College at the University of Cambridge; University College London, and the universities of Basel and Bern in Switzerland, Oxford University, Columbia University, Universities of Bamberg, Pittsburgh, UCLA, Amsterdam, Notre Dame, and Beijing.  Khodarkovsky has written over forty articles and essays and thirty reviews published in English, French, Russian and German in a variety of journals, including Russian History, The Journal of Modern History, Comparative Studies in Society and History, and The International Journal of Turkish Studies.

Khodarkovsky has served on numerous boards and executive committees, including the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (2009-2012).  He is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including those from the Fulbright-Hays Fellowship Program for Turkey (1983-1984), the Social Science Research Council (1989-1991), the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. (1992-93), the National Endowment for the Humanities (1995-1996), the National Council for Russian and East European Research (1996-1997 and 2006-2007), and the American Council of Learned Societies (2001-2002).  He has been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago (2002-03), Leibniz University Hannover, Germany (2011), and was named Distinguished Visiting Professor at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany (2010-11).  

He regularly contributes Op-Eds to The New York Times and has written for The Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune

Research Interests

Imperial and Modern Russia, Imperial Borderlands, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Non-Russian peoples of Russia, Eurasia, Ottoman empire, Comparative Empires and Colonialisms, Orientalism, Soviet Nationality Policies

Courses Taught

  • HIST 102: The Evolution of the Western Ideas and Institutions since the Seventeenth Century
  • HIST 340: Russia Pre-1917: Empire Building
  • HIST 530:  Comparative Colonial Empires
  • HIST 536: Nationalisms in Russia

Selected Publications

Bitter Choices: Loyalty and Betrayal in the Russian Conquest of the North Caucasus (Cornell University Press, 2011; Russian translation, 2016; Turkish translation, 2018).

Russia's Steppe Frontier: The Making of a Colonial Empire, 1500-1800 (Indiana University Press, 2002; Polish translation, 2009; Russian translation, 2018).

Of Religion and Empire: Missions, Conversion and Tolerance in Tsarist Russia, edited with Robert Geraci (Cornell University Press, 2001).

Where Two Worlds Met: the Russian State and the Kalmyk Nomads, 1600-1771 (Cornell University Press, 1992).

Between Europe and Asia: Russia’s State Colonialism in Comparative Perspective, 1550s-1900s” in Canadian-American Slavic Studies, vol. 52, no. 1 (2018), pp. 1-29.