AMHERST, Mass. – Audrey Altstadt, professor and former chair of the history department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been appointed chair of the Kennan Institute Advisory Council. Her four-year term began Oct. 1.
The George F. Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies is the premier American national research institution devoted to the study of the Russian and Eurasian lands that once constituted the USSR. It is one institute within the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars where Altstadt was a fellow in 2014-15.
The Kennan Institute is independent of any university or government agency, yet it is renowned for its capacity to convene the worlds of public policy and academia. For over 40 years, the institute has built and sustained exchange and dialogue between Russia and the United States.
The council advises the institute leadership on policy, future directions for study, publications and conferences and reviews and selects applicants for fellowships in about 4-5 cycles of competitions each year. Altstadt has been a member of the council since 2015.
In appointing Altstadt to head the advisory council, Kennan Institute chair Matthew Rojansky praised Altstadt for her scholarship.
“You have already shown an energetic interest in the endeavors of the Institute as a Council member and previously as a Kennan Institute scholar. For those reasons, I feel that you would make a significant contribution to the important activities which the Institute plans to undertake in the near future,” he wrote.
Altstadt is the author of a new book examining the ways in which the ways in which the early Soviet Union attempted to mold the culture of Azerbaijan in the south Caucasus in its own image. “The Politics of Culture in Soviet Azerbaijan, 1920-1940,” published by Routledge, looks at Soviet policies of national republic formation that Altstadt argues were, in fact, instruments of imperialism, with “nation building” and “modernization” imposed firmly along Soviet lines.
For more information on the Wilson Center and the Kennan Institute, visit https://www.wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute