Department of History

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Anna Toropova

Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, Faculty of Arts



I completed my PhD thesis at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London in 2011. After working at UCL as a Teaching Fellow in Russian History for two years, I took up a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Cambridge in 2013. In 2016 I joined the History Department at Nottingham as a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow.

Expertise Summary

My research focuses on the history, cinema and culture of Russia and the Soviet Union.

Research Summary

I am conducting a Wellcome Trust funded project on 'Cinema and Medicine in Early Soviet Russia'. The study aims to shed light on the intersection of medical knowledge, cinematic technology, and… read more

Selected Publications

Current Research

I am conducting a Wellcome Trust funded project on 'Cinema and Medicine in Early Soviet Russia'. The study aims to shed light on the intersection of medical knowledge, cinematic technology, and revolutionary agendas of mind-body transformation in Soviet Russia roughly between 1917 and 1936. This project expands and develops the research I conducted during my British Academy fellowship on early Soviet scientific studies of film and theatre spectators.You can read my latest open-access article stemming from this project here:

I am currently co-editing (with Claire Shaw) an edited volume titled Technologies of Mind and Body in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. Playing on the different meanings of the word 'technology' (as practice, knowledge and artefact), this edited collection brings together scholarship from across a range of fields to shed light on the ways in which socialist regimes in the Soviet bloc and Eastern Europe sought to transform and revolutionise human capacities. From external, state-driven techniques of social control and bodily management, through institutional practices of transformation, to strategies of self-fashioning, Technologies of Mind and Body probes how individuals and collectives engaged with-or resisted-the transformative imperatives of the Soviet experiment. The edited collection, under contract with Bloomsbury, stems from a 2-day international symposium that took place at the University of Nottingham in 2019.

Following the receipt of a Wellcome Trust Public Engagement award, I recently produced a short film titled I Do Not Want to Smoke in collaboration with the director Steven Sheil. The film is based on a script for a 1936 Soviet hypno-therapeutic film and showcases the world's first experiment with deploying cinematic technology in medical treatment. The film has been officially selected for screening at the White Deer International Film Festival, the Beeston Film Festival and The Life of Breath Festival (Bristol).

Past Research

My monograph on film as a technology of emotional and affective education during the Stalin era, titled Feeling Revolution: Cinema, Genre and the Politics of Affect under Stalin was published in 2020 with Oxford University Press:

Reading Stalin-era cinema as a 'laboratory' of emotional revolution, the book shows how Soviet filmmakers were called on to help forge emotions and affects befitting the New Soviet Person. Drawing on a wide variety of primary sources, including the artistic council discussions at the Mosfil'm and Lenfil'm studios and the Ministry of Cinematography, Feeling Revolution brings to light cinema's vital role in cultivating the distinctive emotional values and norms of the Stalin era, ranging from happiness and victorious laughter to hatred for enemies.

  • ANNA TOROPOVA, 2020. 'Science, Medicine and the Creation of a "Healthy" Soviet Cinema' Journal of Contemporary History. 55(1),
  • ANNA TOROPOVA, 2017. 'Probing the Heart and Mind of the Viewer: Scientific Studies of Film and Theatre Spectators in the Soviet Union, 1917-1936' Slavic Review. 76(4), 931-958
  • ANNA TOROPOVA, 2015. ‘An Inexpiable Debt: Stalinist Cinema, Biopolitics and the Discourse of Happiness’ The Russian Review. 74(4), 665-683
  • ANNA TOROPOVA, 2011. ‘“If we cannot laugh like that, then how can we laugh?”: The “Problem” of Stalinist Film Comedy’ Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema. 5(3), 335-351

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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