Writer and Historian
Faith Hillis is an historian of Russia and modern Europe, with special interests in nineteenth- and twentieth-century politics, culture, and ideas and East-West exchanges. She was educated at Princeton and Yale and has taught at the University of Chicago since 2010. She has held fellowships at Columbia and Harvard, and her research has been funded by ACLS, Fulbright-Hays, and the NEH, among others. During the 2018-19 year, she was a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. She frequently comments on Russian affairs and welcomes inquiries from journalists and policy-makers.
"The so-called cheese execution is a symbolic severing of ties with Europe... The thing about cheese is it’s expensive in the Russian context, but it’s not jewelry or Gucci. It’s a status symbol that’s available to the middle classes.”
-Quoted in Jess McHugh, "Russian Sanctions 2015: Destruction of Western Food Sparks Outcry Amid Rising Poverty," International Business Times, 7 August 2015
"Understanding the roots of the crisis requires acknowledging that victims can also be perpetrators."
-Quoted in Sarah Fenton, "History and Historians in the Ukraine Crisis," Perspectives on History, 4 January 2015
"Human experience is too complex to define in terms of utility to the state; today’s 'useful' migrant might turn into an impassioned dissident, or vice versa... Immigration exclusion was bad policy in the 19th century, and it is bad policy today. In a globalized world, ideas and activism cannot be contained by borders."
-"Why trying to distinguish between useful and dangerous immigrants always backfires," Washington Post, 16 August 2019
For more information on my commentary experience and my areas of expertise, see my Women Also Know History page.
Teaching and advising are vital aspects of my work as a scholar. Courses that I regularly offer at the University of Chicago include:
Russian Civilization (undergraduate, on-campus and study abroad)
European Civilization (undergraduate)
Imperial Europe (undergraduate)
The Russian Empire (undergraduate)
The Lands Between: Europe from the Black Sea to the Baltic (undergraduate)
Lost Histories of the Left (undergraduate/graduate)
Digital History (undergraduate/graduate)
Imperial Encounters (graduate)
Russia and the World (graduate)
Readings in Modern Russian History (graduate)
I currently advise graduate students working in Russian, European, Jewish, and imperial history. I encourage prospective Ph.D. candidates to contact me. For further information, see my UChicago home page and the history department's site.