Mark Soderstrom, Ph.D.

Gerald Butters Assistant Professor of History
College of Arts and Sciences

Office Location: Dunham Hall, Room 214
Telephone: 630-844-6196
Email Address:

I came to Aurora University after completing my Ph.D. at Ohio State University in 2011. My research focuses on the history of the Russian Empire during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I am especially interested in studying individual lives as a way to make sense of the past, and my dissertation, “Enlightening the Land of Midnight: Peter Slovtsov, Ivan Kalashnikov, and the Saga of Russian Siberia,” uses the lives, careers, and close personal friendship between Siberia’s first native-born historian and novelist to examine Siberia during the apogee of the tsarist empire. I have travelled widely across Russia, China, and Europe, and have studied at Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, Irkutsk State Linguistic University, and Edinburgh University. Having benefited immensely from these international experiences, as well as from close relationships with my own professors, I take a special interest in working closely with my students, in encouraging them to place their lives within a global context, and in helping them define and achieve their goals.

Ph.D. - History, Ohio State University
M.A. - History, Central Michigan University
B.A. - History and Political Science, Central Michigan University

Areas of Specialization
Russia and the Soviet Union
World History
Biography and Microhistory

Courses Taught
Russian History
World History
Western Civilization
East Asian History
Introduction to Historical Methods
Introduction to Social Sciences
Human Geography
Wellness and Social Responsibility

Highlights of Publications, Honors and Professional Contributions
Presidential Fellowship, Ohio State University, 2010-11
Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Grant, 2008-09
IREX Individual Advanced Research Opportunities Grant, 2008-09 (declined)
Foreign Languages and Area Studies Fellowship (Russian), 2006-07

“Sibiriaki na sluzhbe imperii: Sluzhba i samoznanie (sluchai P.A. Slovtsova i I.T. Kalashnikova” [“Siberians in the Service of Empire: Service and Self in the case of P.A Slovtsov and I.T. Kalashnikov”]. Chapter in Sibirskii tekst v national’nom suzhetnom prostranstve [The Siberian Text in National Narrative Space], ed. K. V. Anisimov, 27-45. Krasnoiarsk: Siberian Federal University, 2010.

“Service, Self, and Siberia: Peter Slovtsov and Ivan Kalashnikov as Imperial Siberians.” Presented at the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies National Convention, Los Angeles, CA, November 18, 2010.

“Peter Slovtsov: First Siberian Patriot, Regionalist, and Proud Servant of Empire?” Presented at the Power and Movement Across Eurasia Conference, Columbia University, New York, NY, April 10, 2010.

“What brings an American historian to Tobol’sk?” Presented in Russian at the D. I. Mendeleev Pedagogical Academy, Tobol’sk, Russia, October 16, 2009.

Other Interests
International travel
Reading novels and biographies
Playing and recording music