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Professor Julia Mannherz

Professor Julia Mannherz first became interested in Russian culture after the fall of the Berlin wall, when her West German school began offering Russian lessons to students who had recently moved there from the East. Fortunately, it also allowed Westerners like herself to go along.

Later, she 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. Julia moved to Oxford in 2007, after having lectured at the universities of London and Göttingen.

At undergraduate level, Julia teaches nineteenth and twentieth-century European history and historiography, including the general history paper EWF10 and the optional subject “Brigands in a Landscape: Banditry, Rural Crime and Rebellion” (with David Hopkin). She also teaches historiography courses for undergraduate and Master’s students, and is keen to supervise research projects in nineteenth and twentieth-century Russian history.

Research Interests

Julia works on nineteenth and early twentieth-century cultural history of the Russian empire and is especially interested in interdisciplinary approaches. In her book Modern Occultism in Late Imperial Russia (Northern Illinois University Press 2012), she analyses 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 Julia edited.

Julia is currently writing a book about provincial women and their engagement with music, literature, and folklore.

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.)


“Русский спиритуализм и его безмолвные медиумы.” Новое литературное обозрение. 180 (2023): 135–51.

“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.

“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.

“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.