Politics and International Studies


Susan Reid BA Hons, Leeds; MA, University of Pennsylvania, PhD, University of Pennsylvania.

Photo of  Susan Reid

Professor of Cultural History

After gaining my first degree in Modern Languages (Russian and German), I took my MA and PhD in History of Art at University of Pennsylvania. I taught History of Art at Sheffield Hallam University (1990-93) and Northumbria University (1993-2000). In January 2001 I joined the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies at University of Sheffield, where I became Professor of Russian Visual Culture. In 2015 I was appointed Professor of Cultural History at Loughborough University.

My research is concerned with the visual and cultural history of Soviet Russia. I have published widely on visual and material culture, art, gender, consumption, and the everyday in the USSR, focusing on the 1950s–1960s. I have also researched Cold War art, design and visual culture, including Soviet participation in, and reception of, international exhibitions and World Fairs. Using exhibition visitors’ comments books as a source, I have sought to advance understanding of the how such events were received and understood by their contemporary publics.

A number of themes run through my work: the nature and experience of mid-century Soviet modernity and modernism in art and design; gender issues in the context of the Cold War; and the relations between state authorities, art and design specialists, on one hand, and lay consumers or audiences on the other.

My current research includes an oral history project on everyday aesthetics, socialist modernity, consumption and identity in Khrushchev-era housing. This treats homemaking as an aspect of popular culture and seeks to understand how the social, material and cultural transformations that took place after Stalin’s death - including rapid modernization, the formation of a Soviet consumer society, and increased international contact in the context of Cold War - were experienced by ‘ordinary people’.

I welcome postgraduate research applications in any aspect of the history of modern Russian and Soviet art, design, and visual culture, everyday history, gender history and Cold War cultural studies.

In addition to contributing to team-taught Undergraduate modules I also teach optional modules on Modern Russia from Emancipation to Revolution (a cultural history) and on Soviet visual culture. This draws on my own research and explores a Soviet visual culture, art, design and everyday life from 1917 to 1991. In these modules I seek to engage students with visual and material culture, to encourage analysis and historical contextualization of visual sources.

Style and Socialism

This book explores the material and visual world of the socialist Bloc from the late 1940s to the late 1960s.
Susan Emily Reid, David Crowley
Style and Socialism

Socialist Spaces

This book explores the representation, meanings and uses of space in the socialist countries of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union between 1947 and 1991.


by David Crowley (Editor), Susan Emily Reid (Editor)

See more about the book on the Amazon website


Socialist Spaces

Russion Art and the West

This collection of essays, with engaging topics ranging from fine art to architecture and the decorative arts examines the ways Russian artists and craftsmen adopted and adapted Western forms, creating uniquely Russian visual expressions.


by Roaslind Blakesley (Author), Susan E. Reid (Author)

See more about the book on the Amazon website

Russion Art and the West

Women in the Khrushchev Era

This collection of essays examines women in the Khrushchev era, using both newly-accessible archival material and a re-reading of published sources.


Editors: Ilic, M., Reid, S., Attwood, L. (Eds.)

See more about the book on the Palgrave MacMillan website

Women in the Khrushchev Era

Pleasures in Socialism: Leisure and Luxury in the Eastern Bloc

Much has been written about the workings of communist governments in the USSR and the Soviet bloc, yet there is still a great deal to explore regarding their relationship to the everyday lives of the citizens living under them.

Northwestern University Press, 2010

by David Crowley (Editor), Susan Reid (Editor)

See more about the book on the Amazon website

Pleasures in Socialism: Leisure and Luxury in the Eastern Bloc


  • Pleasures in Socialism: Leisure and Luxury in the Eastern Bloc. Edited with David Crowley. Northwestern University Press, 2010.
  • Russian Art and the West: A Century of Dialogue in Painting, Architecture, and the Decorative Arts. Edited with Rosalind P. Blakesley. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2006.
  • Women in the Khrushchev Era. Edited with M. Ilič and L. Attwood. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
  • Socialist Spaces: Sites of Everyday Life in the Eastern Bloc. Edited with David Crowley.Oxford: Berg, 2002.
  • Style and Socialism: Modernity and Material Culture in Post-War Eastern Europe. Edited with David Crowley.Oxford: Berg 2000.

Book chapters

  • “‘Palaces in Our Hearts’: Caring for Khrushchevki.” In Till Großmann and Philipp Nielsen (eds), Architecture, Democracy and Emotions: The Politics of Feeling since 1945, Chapter 7. Routledge, forthcoming 2018.
  • “The Soviet Pavilion at Expo ’58.” In Alla Aronova and Alexander Ortenberg (eds), A History of Russian Exposition and Festival Architecture, 1700-2014, Chapter 10.Routledge, forthcoming 2018.
  • “Communist Comfort: Socialist Modernism and the Making of Cozy Homes in the Khrushchev Era.” In Alexandra Staub (ed.) The Routledge Companion to Modernity, Space, and Gender, Chapter 10.Routledge, 2018.
  • “Kto kogo? Reaktsiia sovetskogo naroda na Amerikanskuiu natsional’nuiu vystavku v Moskve v 1959 g.” In Beate Fieseler and Roza Magnusdottir (eds), SSSR i SSHA v XX veke: vospriatie “drugogo.”  70-104. Moscow: Politicheskaia entsiklopediia, 2017. (Translation into Russian of abridged version of Susan E Reid, ‘Who Will Beat Whom? Soviet Popular Reception of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, 1959,’ (Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 9, no. 4 (2008): 855-905.)
  • “Kak obzhivalis’ v pozdnesovetskoi modernisti”  (“Making Oneself at Home in Late Soviet Modernity”). In Anatoly Pinsky (ed.), Posle Stalina  (After Stalin: Subjectivity in the Late Soviet Union (1953-1985). St Petersburg University Press, 2017.
  • Foreword. In Simo Mikkonen and Pekka Suutari (eds), Music, Art and Diplomacy: East-West Cultural Interactions and the Cold War. Farnham: Ashgate, 2015.  http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781472468086
  • “Everyday Aesthetics in the Khrushchev-Era Standard Apartment.” In Choi Chatterjee, David Ransel, Mollie Cavender, Karen Petrone (eds), Everyday Life in Russia Past and Present, 203-33. Bloomington:  Indiana University Press, 2015.
  • “Khrushchev in Wonderland: The Pioneer Palace in Moscow’s Lenin Hills, 1962.” In Andreas Müller and Susanne Pietsch (eds), Walls that Teach (Amsterdam: Japsam, 2014), 127-56 This volume was awarded the Dam Architectural Book Award, 2015.
  • “This is Tomorrow: Becoming a Consumer in the Soviet Sixties.” In Anne Gorsuch and Diane Koenker (eds), The Socialist Sixties: Crossing Borders in the Second World, 25-65. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 2013.
  • “(Socialist) Realism Unbound: The Effects of International Encounters on Soviet Art Practice and Discourse in the Khrushchev Thaw.” In M. Bown and M. Lafranconi (eds), Socialist Realisms: Soviet Painting 1920-1970, 261-76. Milan: Skira, 2012.
  • “Building Utopia in the Back Yard: Housing Administration, Participatory Government, and the Cultivation of Socialist Community.” In Karl Schlögel, (ed.), Mastering Russian Spaces, 149-86. Schriften des Historischen Kollegs Kolloquien 74. Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 2011.
  • “Communist Comfort: Socialist Modernism and the Making of Cosy Homes in the Khrushchev Era.” In K. H. Adler and Carrie Hamilton (eds), Homes and Homecomings: Gendered Histories of Domesticity and Return, 11-44. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
  • “Happy Housewarming! Moving Into Khrushchev-Era Apartments.” In Marina Balina and Evgeny Dobrenko (eds), Petrified Utopia: Happiness, Soviet Style, 133-60. London: Anthem Press, 2009.
  • “‘The Soviet “Contemporary Style’: A Socialist Modernism.” In Sirje Helme (ed.), Different Modernisms, Different Avant-Gardes: Problems in Central and Eastern European Art After World War II, 71-112. Tallinn, KUMU Art Museum, 2009.
  • “Soviet Responses to the American Kitchen.” In Ruth Oldenziel and Karin Zachmann (eds), Cold War Kitchen: Americanization, Technology, and European Users, 83-112. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2009.
  • ‘“Our Kitchen is Just as Good’: Soviet Responses to the American National Exhibition in Moscow, 1959.” In David Crowley and Jane Pavitt (eds), Cold War Modern (volume to accompany the major exhibition Cold War Modern, V&A, and international venues 2008-09), 141-6. London: V&A Publications, 2008.

Journal articles

  • “Still Life and the Vanity of Socialist Realism: Robert Fal'k’s Potatoes, 1955” The Russian Review 76, no. 3 (2017): 408-437
  • Cold War Cultural Transactions: Designing the USSR for the West at Brussels Expo ’58Design and Culture (July 2017). DOI 10.1080/17547075.2017.1333388
  • "Cold War Binaries and the Culture of Consumption in the Late Soviet Home" Journal of Historical Research in Marketing 8, issue 1(February 2016): 17-43. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/JHRM-09-2015-0038. Awarded Emerald Publishing Literati Awards for Excellence Outstanding Paper www.emeraldpublishing.com/authors/literati/awards.htm?year=2017
  •  “Makeshift Modernity: DIY, Craft and the Virtuous Homemaker in New Soviet Housing of the 1960s,” International Journal for History, Culture and Modernity 2, no. 2 (2014): 87-124. open access
  • “Everyday Aesthetics in the Khrushchev-Era Standard Apartment,” Etnofoor 24, no. 2 (2013): 79-106
  • “Art for the Soviet Home,” Human Affairs: Postdisciplinary Humanities & Social Sciences Quarterly (Dec. 2011)
  • “The Soviet Pavilion at Brussels ’58: Convergence, Conversion, critical Assimilation, or Transculturation?” Cold War International History Project Working Paper No. 62 (December 2010), online
  • “Communist Comfort: Socialist Modernism and the Making of Cosy Homes in the Khrushchev-Era Soviet Union,” Gender and History 21, issue 3 (2009): 465-98.
  • “‘Who Will Beat Whom?’ Soviet Popular Reception of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, 1959,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 9, no. 4 (2008), 855-904.