Skip Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Professor Julia Mannherz

I first became interested Russian culture after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when my West German school began offering Russian lessons to students who had recently moved there from the East. Fortunately, it also allowed Westerners like me to go along.

Later, I studied history and Slavonic studies at the universities of Bonn and Kazan’, before coming to Britain to take an MA at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in London and a doctorate at Cambridge in 2005. I moved to Oxford in 2007, after having lectured at the universities of London and Göttingen.

At undergraduate level, I teach nineteenth- and twentieth-century European history and historiography, including the general history paper EWF10 and the optional subject “Romance of the People” (with David Hopkin). I also teach historiography courses for undergraduate and Master’s students, and I am keen to supervise interesting research projects in nineteenth and twentieth-century Russian history.

Research Interests

I work on nineteenth- and early twentieth-century cultural history of the Russian empire and I am especially interested in interdisciplinary approaches. In my book Modern Occultism in Late Imperial Russia (Northern Illinois University Press 2012), I analyse the widespread fascination with the supernatural in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Russia, and its role in contemporary discussions about science, folklore, literature, and theology. 

These themes were developed further in a volume devoted to conceptions of “the irrational” in Russian culture, which I edited. 

I am currently working on provincial women and their engagement with music, literature and folklore. This project focuses among others on Russia’s Perm province (whose capital is Oxford’s twin city!)

Selected Publications


Modern Occultism in Late Imperial Russia. Northern Illinois University Press. 2012.

Иррациональное в русской истории и культуре. НЛО. 2020. (The Irrational in Russian History and Culture. NLO, Moscow: 2020.)


“Piano Music, Fantasy, and Elizaveta Ivanova’s Ambivalent Feminism.” Women’s History Review (2021).

“Performing Glinka’s Opera A Life for the Tsar on the Village Stage.” Slavic Review 79, no. 4 (2020): 755–77.

This article won the 2020 Article/Chapter Prize of the British Association for Slavic Studies’ Women’s Forum.

“Gramophones and Modernity in the North,” In Music’s Nordic Breakthrough: Aesthetics, Modernity, and Cultural Exchange, 1890-1930, edited by Philip Ross Bullock, and Daniel Grimley, Woodbridge: Boydell, 2021. 173–91.

“Nationalism, Imperialism and Cosmopolitanism in Russian Nineteenth-Century Provincial Amateur Music-Making”, The Slavonic and East European Review, 95, 2017. 293-319.

“Occult Experience or Cerebral Reflexes? Hypnosis in Russian Popular Culture, 1900-1925,” In: M. Frame, B. Kolonitskii and M. Stockdale (eds.) Russian Culture in War and Revolution, 1914-1922. vol. 1. Bloomington: Slavic Publishers. 2014. 101-120.

“Spirits and the Fourth Dimension: Spiritualism and Science in Prerevolutionary Russia.” Cultural and Social History. 8(1). 2011. 31-49.

“Die Geister und der Dumaabgeordnete Graf Orlov-Davydov: Gespenster und Politik im späten Zarenreich.” In Gespenster und Politik in Europa, 16.-21. Jahrhundert, ed. Claire Gantet and Fabrice d’Almeida. Schöningh. Paderborn 2007. 235-252.

“Geistererscheinungen und ihre Zeugen: Geschich­ten­erzählen zwischen Positivismus und Spiritismus im ausgehenden Zarenreich” In WerkstattGeschichte. 2007 (1), 79-93. To be reprinted in Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie und Grenzgebiete der Psychologie.