Associate Professor of History


Imperial Russia, the Soviet Union, Late Modern Europe

Alexis Peri focuses on the history of modern Russia and Eastern Europe, especially the Soviet period. She has strong interests in the history of modern warfare, terror and terrorism, intimacy and private life, women and gender, US-Soviet relations, diaries, letters, and the importance of literature in history. Peri has published a monograph entitled The War Within:  Diaries from the Siege of Leningrad (Harvard University Press, 2017) which won the 2018 Pushkin House Book Prize, the 2018 University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies, and the 2018 American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) Book Prize in Cultural Studies. It also received an Honorable Mention for the 2018 Reginald Zelnik Book Prize in History.

Peri has published articles in Kritika, The Russian Review, and The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review as well as chapters in the following edited volumes: Women’s Wartime Experiences, 1939-1945: Exile, Survival and Everyday Life (Suffolk: Boydell and Brewer, in press), Hunger and War: Food Provisioning in the Soviet Union During World War II (Indiana University Press, 2015), Chelovek i lichnost’ v istorii Rossii konets XIX-XX vek  (Nestor-Istoriia, 2013), Petersburg/Petersburg: Novel and City, 1900-1921 (University of Wisconsin Press, 2010), and Zhizn’ in byt’ blokirovannogo Leningrada (Nestor-Istoriia, 2010). Her work has been supported by grants from the Fulbright Program, the Kennan Institute, the International Research & Exchanges Board, the American Philosophical Society, the Mabelle McLeod Lewis Memorial Fund, Phi Beta Kappa, the Foreign Language & Area Studies Program, Boston University’s Center for the Humanities, and the Office of the Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.

Peri’s current research examines hundreds of pen-friendships that Soviet and American women formed during WWII, and it traces how they struggled to maintain those friendships during the Cold War and McCarthyism. The project is tentatively titled: Dear Unknown Friend: Soviet and American Women Discover the Power of the Personal (under contract with Harvard University Press).

Peri was the recipient of the 2019 Gerald and Deanne Gitner Family Prize in Undergraduate Teaching.