Photo of Dr Matthew Rendle

Dr Matthew Rendle

Senior Lecturer

4319

01392 724319

My research focuses on Russian history during the late Imperial and revolutionary periods. My first book focused on the role of elite groups, such as nobles, officers and landowners, in the revolutionary process; Defenders of the Motherland: The Tsarist Elite in Revolutionary Russia (Oxford University Press, 2010) [http://www.oup.com/uk/catalogue/?ci=9780199236251], whilst I'm guest editor of a special issue of Historical Research commemorating the centenary of 1917: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hisr.v90.247/issuetoc (free access during 2017!). My next book will use a study of revolutionary tribunals during Russia's civil war (1917-22) to examine changing definitions of crime during this period, the interaction between state and society, and the role of law and violence in the formation of the Soviet state. Future projects include a study of the nobility in Imperial Russia (1613-1917) and an examination of the historical and international influences on the Russian Revolution.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/russia_journal

Research interests

I am interested in most aspects of Russian history during the late Imperial and revolutionary periods. 

I have published a number of articles on the nobility, officers and landowners during this period, and their role in the revolution was also the subject of my recent book; Defenders of the Motherland: The Tsarist Elite in Revolutionary Russia (Oxford University Press, 2010) [http://www.oup.com/uk/catalogue/?ci=9780199236251]. I have just completed two chapters on tsarist elites, including the clergy and business elites, for an edited volume and I am currently planning a study of the nobility in Imperial Russia (1613-1917).

My current project uses a study of revolutionary tribunals during Russia's civil war (1917-22) to examine changing definitions of crime during this period, the concept of revolutionary 'justice', the interaction between regime and society, and the role of law and violence in the formation of the Soviet state, and is entitled The State Versus The People: Revolutionary Justice in Russia's Civil War 1917-22’. Various aspects of this research have been funded by a research fellowship from the The Leverhulme Trust (2011-12), which financed a period of leave, and a small grant from the British Academy (2012-13), which funded several research trips to archives and libraries in Russia, the UK and the US. The first fruits of this research have been published as articles in Historical ResearchEurope-Asia Studies and Slavonic and European Review. I have also written a piece on justice across the revolutionary divide, which examines continuity and change in conceptions of justice across 1917. The objectives of the broad project are the subject of a longer piece in The International Newsletter of Communist Studies, XVIII (2012), no. 25, pp. 56-59, available at http://newsletter.icsap.de/home/data/pdf/INCS_25_ONLINE.pdf

I am also working on an article on civil society in Russia across the revolutionary period and have recently written on Moscow province between 1914 and 1922. I have also acted as guest editor for a special issue of Historical Research commemorating the centenary of 1917: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hisr.v90.247/issuetoc (articles free to
access in 2017!).

I have written twenty-two book reviews, which have been published in Agricultural History Review, American Historical ReviewEuropean History QuarterlyFirst World War StudiesIntelligence and National Security, Journal of Modern History, Labor History, Revolutionary RussiaSlavonic and East European Review and The Russian Review. I have reviewed grants for various funding bodies, book proposals for various publishers and articles for numerous journals.

I am also the Co-Editor of Revolutionary Russia, a longstanding interdisciplinary journal focusing on the revolutionary period in Russian history [http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/09546545.asp]. There is currently a virtual special issue of the journal available to commemorate 1917: http://explore.tandfonline.com/content/pgas/1917-russian-revolution-vsi which is compiled from some of the best articles on 1917 published in the journal over the last 29 years. The journal is also on Twitter: https://twitter.com/russia_journal

I am a member of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies; Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies; and the Study Group on the Russian Revolution.

Past and future research papers include:

'Corruption on Trial: Crimes of Office, Law and Legitimising State Power', Association of Slavonic, East European and Eurasian Studies Congress, Chicago, USA, November 2017

'From Magna Carta to the Russian Revolution: Pamphlets, Political Discourse and English Influences during 1917', War, Revolution and Empire in Russian History: A Workshop in Honour of David Saunders, Newcastle University, May 2017  

'The Legacy of the 1917 February Revolution in Contemporary Russia and the Wider World', Gorwel: The Welsh Foundation for Innovation in Public Affairs, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff, February 2017

'The Legacy of the 1917 Februar Revolution in Contemporar Russia and the Wider World', University of South Wales, Pontypridd, February 2017

'The Legacy of 1917 and the USSR in Contemporary Russia', Historical Association, Exeter Branch, December 2016

'The Legacy of the 1917 Revolution in Modern Russia', Historical Association, Cornwall Branch, November 2016

‘Defining Crimes and Criminals: Revolutionary Consciousness, Tribunals and Conceptions of Justice across Russia’s Civil War’, Association of Slavonic, East European and Eurasian Studies Congress, Philadelphia, USA, November 2015

‘Revolutionary Justice in Russia’s Revolution and Civil War, 1917-22’, Globalising the History of Revolutions, University College Dublin, October 2015

‘Revolutionary Justice, State-Building and Russia’s Civil War, 1917-22’, International Studies, Conflict and Security Seminar Series, Swansea, June 2015

‘Understanding Crimes and Criminals: Revolutionary Tribunals and Conceptions of Justice across Russia’s Civil War’, 7th Annual CRCEES Research Forum, Glasgow, June 2015

‘The Problem of the ‘Local’ in Revolutionary Russia: Moscow Province, 1914-1922’, Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre Seminar, St Antony’s College, Oxford, May 2014

‘Revolutionary Justice in Russia’s Civil War’, Historical Association, Exeter Branch, January 2014

'Revolutionary Tribunals and the Law in Provincial Russia, 1917-1922', Association of Slavonic, East European and Eurasian Studies Congress, Boston, USA, November 2013
 
'How Revolutionary was 'Revolutionary Justice'? Popular Conceptions of Justice and the Courts, 1900s-1930s', Across 1917 Workshop, Cambridge, April 2013
 
'Revolutionary Tribunals and the Role of 'Revolutionary Justice' in Early Soviet Russia', British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies / International Council for Central and Eastern European Studies European Congress, Cambridge, April 2013
 
'Justice and Terror in Revolutionary Russia', History Society Lecture, Dauntsey's School, October 2012
 
'Mercy amid Terror? Amnesties and Tribunals during Russia's Civil War', The Study Group on the Russian Revolution, Glasgow, January 2012 
 
‘Civil Society in Revolutionary Russia’, delivered as part of a panel entitled ‘Across 1917 – Society, Culture and Identity’, British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies, Cambridge, April 2011
 
‘Defining the ‘Political’ Crime: Revolutionary Tribunals in Early Soviet Russia’, at a conference entitled ‘Villains and Victims: Justice, Violence, and Retribution in Late Imperial and Early Soviet Russia’, Nottingham, April 2010
 
‘The Tsarist Elite in Revolutionary Russia’, Centre for Russian Studies, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, December 2009
 
'The Tsarist Elite, Democracy and the Russian Revolution', Department of History and Welsh History Research Seminar, Aberystwyth University, February 2008
 
‘The Union of Officers and Russian Revolutionary Democracy’, The Study Group on the Russian Revolution, Aberdeen, January 2008
 
 ‘The Persistence of the Tsarist Regime: Examining the Process of Revolution’, British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies, Cambridge, April 2005
 
‘Disintegration or Unity: The Paradox of the Russian Noble Family during the Revolution’, American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, Boston, USA, December 2004
 
‘Untapped Riches: Studying the Russian Nobility in 1917’, The Study Group on the Russian Revolution, Durham, January 2001

Research supervision

I am particularly interested in supervising students wishing to research any elements of the political, social or cultural history of late Imperial and revolutionary Russia. I am also happy, however, to supervise work on many other aspects of modern Russian history. I have extensive experience of working in Russian archives - government, party and military - and libraries, as well as among collections in other countries, particularly the US and UK.

Research students

Adam Coker, 'French Influence in Russia, 1780s to 1820s: The Origins of Permanent Culture Transfer' (2012-15)

External impact and engagement

Participated in a public lecture and debate on the meaning of 1917 in modern Russia organised by Gorwel: The Welsh Foundation for Innovation in Public Affairs and sponsored by David Melding AM at the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff in February 2017.

Have given public talks for branches of the Historical Association in Exeter (2014 and 2016) and Cornwall (2016), and for the University of South Wales (February 2017).  

Media

Gave an interview for BBC Wales in February 2017 about commemorations of the centenary of 1917 in Russia.

'Why Putin is shy about celebrating the centenary of the Russian Revolution', The Conversation, April 2017: http://theconversation.com/why-putin-is-shy-about-celebrating-the-centenary-of-the-russian-revolution-74394

'How will Russia commemorate the October Revolution', Cicero Foundation Great Debate Paper No. 17/02 [The Cicero Foundation is a 'Pro EU and Pro Atlantic Think Tank'], April 2017: http://www.cicerofoundation.org/lectures/Matthew_Rendle_October_Revolution.pdf

 

Teaching

Much of my teaching is focused on my deep interest in all aspects of modern Russian history. In various modules, I try to incorporate the materials that I'm reading and researching on a daily basis to ensure that the module reflects current thinking and scholarship. This might range from the latest debates and studies by historians to thinking about new ways to utilise in my teaching the vast range of sources available in English on Russian history. I have been a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2011 and was Runner Up in the Best Feedback category of the annual Exeter Guild of Students Teaching Awards in 2011.

Modules taught

Biography

I studied for a BA in History, MA in European History, and PhD in History at the University of Exeter, completing my PhD thesis in 2003. I remained at Exeter as a part-time Teaching Fellow in 2003-04 before taking up a fixed-term lectureship in modern Russian history at Newcastle University in September 2004. In 2007, I moved to a permanent lectureship in Eastern European history at Aberystwyth University before returning to Exeter as a Lecturer in History in September 2010. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in May 2015.