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Matthew Pauly - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Matthew Pauly

Associate Professor of History | Michigan State University


Matthew Pauly is an expert on the history Russia & Eastern Europe.



Matthew Pauly Publication






Matthew Pauly holds interests in the histories of nationalism and national identity, childhood and youth, education, and human rights. At Michigan State, he is a core faculty member of the Center for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies and Peace and Justice Studies. He is an affiliate faculty member of the Jewish Studies Program, and a co-leader of the Childhood and Youth Studies Working Group.

Pauly is currently engaged on a book project entitled, “City of Children: Juvenile Poverty, Crime, and Salvation in Odessa, 1881–1940.” The book investigates the impulse of Odessa’s citizens and tsarist authorities to care for marginalized children at the turn of the twentieth century and the ways in which children’s welfare institutions and programs were simultaneously maintained and transformed under Soviet rule. He is the author of Breaking the Tongue: Language, Education, and Power in Soviet Ukraine (University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 2014) as well as numerous articles, essays, and reviews on early Soviet nationalities policy and the intersection between national identity, education, and childhood in late imperial Russia and the Soviet Union. He is a member of the editorial board of Problemy istoriï Ukraïny (Institute of History of Ukraine, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine).

Pauly has received fellowships and grants from the U.S. Scholar Fulbright Program, International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), Social Science Research Council (SSRC), American Councils for International Education (ACTR/ACCELS), Canadian Foundation for Ukrainian Studies (CFUS), Shevchenko Scientific Society in the U.S.A (NTSh), and the U.S. Department of Education’s Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Program. Pauly was also a resident U. S. Department of State Fascell Fellow at the American Embassy in Kiev (Kyiv), Ukraine.

Industry Expertise (3)

International Affairs


Political Organization

Areas of Expertise (6)

Russian History

Russian Politics

Ukranian History

Ukrainian Politics

Eastern European History

Eastern European Politics

Accomplishments (5)

Monograph (professional)

Pauly, Matthew D. Breaking the Tongue: Language, Education, and Power in Soviet Ukraine, 1923–34. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014 [peer reviewed].

Book Chapter (professional)

Pauly, Matthew D. “For the People: Imagining Ukrainian Teachers as Public Servants, 1905-1925.” In Rethinking the Russian Revolution as Historical Divide: Tradition, Rupture, and Modernity, edited by Matthias Neumann and Andy Willimott. Oxon: Routledge, 2017. [peer reviewed]

Book Chapter (professional)

Pauly, Matthew D. “‘Odesa-Lektionen’: Die Ukrainisierung der Schule, der Behörden und der nationalen Identität in einer nicht-ukrainischen Stadt in den 1920er Jahren [‘Odesa Lessons’: The Ukrainization of Schooling, Soviet Provincial Authority, and National Identity in a Non-Ukrainian City]." In Die Ukraine. Prozesse der Nationsbildung, edited by Andreas Kappeler, 309-318. Köln, Wien: Böhlau Verlag, 2011. [peer reviewed]

Book Chapter (professional)

Pauly, Matthew D. “‘Odes’ki lektsii’: ukrainizatsiia shkoly, ustanov, ta natsional’noi identichnosti v ne-ukrains’komu misti v 1920-kh rr. [‘Odesa Lessons’: The Ukrainization of Schooling, Soviet Provincial Authority, and National Identity in a Non-Ukrainian City].” In Ukraina. Protsesy natsiotvorennia, edited by Andreas Kappeler and Volodymyr Masliychuk, 298-306. Kyiv: K.I.S., 2011. [Ukrainian version, peer reviewed]

Book Chapter (professional)

Pauly, Matthew D. “Soviet Polonophobia and the Formulation of Nationalities Policy in the Ukrainian SSR, 1927-34.” In Polish Encounters, Russian Identity, edited by David Ransel and Bozena Shallcross, 172-188. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2005. [peer reviewed]

Education (1)

Indiana University: Ph.D.

Research Grants (1)

“City of Children: Juvenile Poverty, Crime, and Salvation in the City of Odessa, 1881-1940.”

Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Grant, CIES-IIE. $16,180.


Odessa was famously known as а city of promise and crime. From its founding, this major port city on the northern coast of the Black Sea attracted the entrepreneurial as well as the desperate. Stories of beggar children who populated the city’s poorer neighborhoods and infiltrated its opulent center fascinated late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century educated society in Odessa and beyond. Delinquent, neglected, and abandoned children represented the city’s failures; their existence exposed its corruption and contradictions. Once lost to the street, reformers believed their moral redemption became difficult. Odessa is the subject of multiple recent publications, but no scholarship has focused on the experience of one of its most persistent and emblematic problems. My project will tell the story of attempts to discipline, tend to, and redeem marginalized children through institutional care and thus lend order and coherence to a city of paradox.

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Journal Articles (2)

Teaching place, assembling the nation: local studies in Soviet Ukrainian schools during the 1920s

History of Education

Matthew D. Pauly

2010 This study focuses on the Soviet introduction of local studies to Ukrainian schools during the 1920s. It argues that, through their efforts at pedagogical reform, educational planners sought a fundamental re‐imagining of place. The Ukrainian Commissariat of Education asked teachers and their students to engage the ‘productive’ world surrounding the school and make connections to an understanding of a nationally defined, territorial Ukraine. However, because the commissariat left decisions regarding curricular content to regions and municipalities, many instructors were able to resist this utilitarian notion of space. Local studies was the linchpin in Soviet educational reform for Ukraine, yet the state’s emphasis on decentralised planning created opportunity for ‘flawed’ interpretations of local and, consequently, national meanings.

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Tending to the “Native Word”: Teachers and the Soviet Campaign for Ukrainian-Language Schooling, 1923–1930

Nationalities Papers

Matthew D. Pauly


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