Audrey L. Altstadt
Herter Hall 722
Audrey L. Altstadt came to UMass in 1990 as a historian of the USSR. A specialist in the minority nationalities of the Russian Empire and USSR, she earned her BA at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne (Russian Language and Area Studies, 1975), and graduate degrees at the University of Chicago (AM in International Relations 1977, PhD in History 1983). She has an honorary doctorate from Khazar University (Baku, Azerbaijan 2000).
Her current book project is "First In: The American Diplomats Who Opened Embassies in New Post-Soviet States, 1992." Based on documents, oral histories, and personal interviews, this book examines each of the "new states" created by the dissolution of the Soviet Union, their recognition by the US, and the women and men of the US State Department's Foreign Service who formed the first teams opening those embassies.
Professor Altstadt is the author of three books on the history and culture of Azerbaijan: The Politics of Culture in Soviet Azerbaijan, 1920-1940 (Routledge 2016); The Azerbaijani Turks: Power and Identity under Russian Rule (Hoover Institution Press 1992) and Frustrated Democracy in Post-Soviet Azerbaijan (Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Columbia University Press, 2017).
She is author of dozens of articles on the politics, culture and history of Azerbaijan published in the US, UK, France, Turkey and Azerbaijan. She has been a recipient of various grants including from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Harvard Russian Research Center, the US Institute of Peace. She has been a consultant for Freedom House, Oxford Analytica (UK), Radio Liberty, US Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service, the US State Department, the Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other agencies.
Soviet nationalities, especially Azerbaijan
Frustrated Democracy in Post-Soviet Azerbaijan (Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Columbia University Press, 2017)
The Politics of Culture in Soviet Azerbaijan, 1920-1940 (Routledge, 2016)
The Azerbaijani Turks: Power and Identity under Russian Rule (Hoover Institution Press, 1992)
Articles and Public Presentations:
"Exploring the Tortuous History of Two Political Prisoners in Azerbaijam", SciPod, podcast audio, February 15, 2023.
“Seeking Peace in Mountainous Karabagh,” The Geographer, Magazine of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, Spring 2021, pp. 38-39. online.
“And yet there are defenders,” Caucasus Survey (Vol 9, Issue 1, Spring 2021) on Leyla and Arif Yunus book Price of Freedom (2020).
“Azerbaijan: Politics, Economy, Society Since Independence,” Routledge Handbook of the Caucasus (Chapter 10), pp. 157-73. Edited by Laurence Broers and Galina Yemelianova, (London: Routledge Press, 2020)
“Azerbaijan’s Elections” No surprises unless you were expecting one,” Emerging Europe, February 25, 2020;
“Democracy Deferred,” briefing, Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe (“Helsinki Commission,” US Congress), May 9, 2018 (Washington DC)
“Seeing 21st Century Azerbaijan through the Lens of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic of 1918-20,” Le Journal du Parlement (Paris), May 2018.
“Partnerships with Corrupt Regimes are Not in the National Interest,” The National Interest, February 28, 2018 (on line)
“The Azerbaijani Laundromat and Why It Matters,” Emerging Europe (on line) November 23, 2017
“Fake News, Propaganda, and False Narratives: Assessing the Populist Newspeak of Today,” Kick-off speaker. Kennan Institute Alumni Conference “Populism under a Spotlight,” Berlin, Germany. November 5-7, 2017
"Kennan Cable No.23: Putin's Middle East Triangle," The Wilson Center, June 19, 2017
"Armenia and Azerbaijan Are Stuck Perpetually Between Peace and All-Out War," World Politics Review, September 13, 2017
“Unfrozen Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Foreign Affairs (April 12, 2016)
Works in Progress
First In: US Diplomats Who Opened Embassies in Former Soviet Republics (book project underway)
Courses Recently Taught
Central Asia: Political Issues in Historical Perspective