Book presentation: Nested Nationalism Making and Unmaking Nations in the Soviet Caucasus

Krista Goff is a historian of Soviet and post-Soviet history, with a particular interest in the North and South Caucasus.  In her research and teaching she explores the historical formation of minorities and the experience of minoritization in these historical contexts, as well as interrelated themes of nationalism, citizenship, empire, ethnic conflict, genocide, and migration. In addition to being an associate professor of history at the University of Miami, Goff is also a co-editor of Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History and co-director of the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Think Tank, which is based at Howard University. This project is building a sustainable, nationwide research and support network among Minority-Serving Institutions, faculty mentors, students of color and other underrepresented students in the field of Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies.

Dr. Goff’s most recent book, Nested Nationalism: Making and Unmaking Nations in the Soviet Caucasus (Cornell University Press, 2020) has won numerous prizes, including the Rothschild Prize from the Association for the Study of Nationalities, the Reginald Zelnik Book Prize in History from the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and the Baker-Burton Award from the European Section of the Southern Historical Association. In Nested Nationalism, Goff argues that there was a recursive relationship between majority and minority nationalisms in the Soviet Union. Using wide-ranging sources, including more than 120 oral history interviews; maps; documents, photos, and other sources provided by oral history narrators; and research from nearly two dozen archives in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Moscow, she critically examines asymmetries of power and processes of minoritization in the Soviet Union, and explains why history writing on this topic has proven so problematic in the past. Goff co-edited her first book, Empire and Belonging in the Eurasian Borderlands (Cornell University Press, 2019) with Lewis Siegelbaum. This book interrogates the mutual shaping of empires and nations, as well as the persistence and frequency of coercive measures that imposed belonging or denied it to populations deemed inconvenient or undesirable in this region.

Dr. Goff employs digital humanities skills to enrich both her scholarship and teaching. She cultivated an extensive digitized collection of Soviet ethnographic maps for the Nested Nationalism project, and she has also used archival sources to map post-World War Two mass migrations in the South Caucasus. Goff regularly teaches digital methods to her students for classroom projects that enhance their research, critical thinking, and presentation skills.

Dr. Goff has held postdoctoral and research fellowships at the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. Her research also has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, Doris G. Quinn Foundation, a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, American Councils, the University of Michigan, the University of Miami, and others. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, A.M. from Brown University, B.A. with honors from Macalester College, and has studied at universities in St. Petersburg, Irkutsk, and Baku.