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Dr Claire Shaw




Office Hours:

H021, ground floor of the Humanities Building

024 76150550, internal extension 50550

I will be on Teams for consultations on Tuesdays 10-11 and Wednesdays 11-12. Sign up for a slot here.


Academic Profile

  • 2019 to present: Associate Professor in the History of Modern Russia, University of Warwick
  • 2017-2019: Assistant Professor in the History of Modern Russia, University of Warwick
  • 2011-2017: Lecturer in Russian, University of Bristol
  • 2009-2011: Junior Research Fellow, Institute of Historical Research in London



I am a historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, with a particular interest in the formation of Soviet identity and the history of disability and marginality.

My recent book, Deaf in the USSR, examines the deaf community in Soviet Russia from 1917 to 1991, focusing on the impact of deafness on Soviet programmes of identity, and examining how Soviet deaf people developed their sense of individual and collective selfhood. In the book, I ask what it meant to be deaf in a culture that was founded on a radically utopian, socialist view of human perfectibility. Engaging with a wide range of sources from both deaf and hearing perspectives—archival sources, films and literature, personal memoirs, and journalism—I consider how fundamental contradictions inherent in the Soviet revolutionary project were negotiated by a vibrant and independent community of deaf people who engaged in complex ways with Soviet ideology. It was named one of Australian Book Review's Books of the Year 2017, and won the BASEES Women's Forum Book Prize in 2019. You can hear more about the book in my conversation with Sean Guillory for Sean's Russia Blog. 

I also published a short textbook, Stalin (All You Need to Know), in 2018.

I am currently embarking on a new research project, which focuses on Soviet prosthetic technologies and the disabled body in Soviet Russia in the 1960s. This project will explore the history of Soviet attempts to ‘cure’ the disabled self through research and technological innovation, placing those attempts in a broader context of Soviet interest in creating technologically augmented, ‘cyborg’ selves as a step towards the construction of the communist utopia. I have also worked on contemporary Russian fashion and Soviet public space, topics which I hope to return to in the future.

I would be happy to supervise dissertations and research projects in any related fields.

Selected Publications

  • Deaf in the USSR: Marginality, Community, and Soviet Identity, 1917-1991. Cornell University Press, 2017
  • ‘Deafness and the Politics of Hearing’. in: Tricia Starks, Matthew Romaniello (eds) Russian History through the Senses: From 1700 to the Present. Bloomsbury Academic, London, 2016 pp. 193-218
  • ‘“We Have No Need to Lock Ourselves Away”: Space, Marginality, and the Negotiation of Deaf Identity in Late Soviet Moscow’. Slavic Review, vol 74., pp. 759
  • ‘'Speaking in the Language of Art': Soviet Deaf Theatre and the Politics of Identity during Khrushchev's Thaw’. The Slavonic & East European Review, vol 91., pp. 759-786
  • ‘'Fashion Attack': The Style of Pussy Riot’. Digital Icons., pp. 115-128
  • ‘A Fairground for 'Building the New Man': Gorky Park as a Site of Soviet Acculturation’. Urban History, vol 38., pp. 324 - 344