Steven E. Harris

Steven E. Harris
Professor, Department of History and American Studies
University of Mary Washington
Email: sharris at


Steven E. Harris is a historian of modern Russia and Europe. He is presently researching and writing a new book, Flying Aeroflot: A History of the Soviet Union in the Jet Age. In 2016-2017, he was on leave to work on this project as a Verville Fellow at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. He also held a Waple Professorship (2016-2018) at UMW and received a summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2020 to advance work on this book.

“Travel by Plane!” Aeroflot poster advertisement (1965).

Drawing from this scholarly project, Harris has developed an upper-level seminar, “Empires of the Air: Histories of Aviation and Space in the Modern World,” which he taught most recently in spring 2021.

Harris teaches courses on Russian and French history, Stalinism, socialism, World War II, conspiracy theories, and aviation culture. His current research interests include aviation culture in the Jet Age; technology in authoritarian regimes; and transnational cultural contacts during the Cold War.

His first book Communism on Tomorrow Street: Mass Housing and Everyday Life after Stalin (The Woodrow Wilson Center Press and the Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013) shows how Soviet citizens’ move from communal housing to the single-family separate apartment fundamentally transformed the post-Stalinist ‘thaw’ from an elite into a mass phenomenon.


Fall 2023: On sabbatical to work on book project, Flying Aeroflot


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2003. History.
  • M.A., University of Chicago, 1998. History
  • B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1995. History and Political Science.

Recently Taught Courses At a Glance




“Aeroflot Routes to Baghdad: Soviet-Iraqi Relations during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1981),” in Russian-Arab Worlds: A Documentary History, edited by Eileen Kane, Masha Kirasirova, and Margaret Litvin, 324-333 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023).

“The World’s Largest Airline: How Aeroflot Learned to Stop Worrying and Became a Corporation,” Laboratorium: Russian Review of Social Research 13, no. 1 (2021): 20-56.

“Dawn of the Soviet Jet Age: Aeroflot Passengers and Aviation Culture under Khrushchev,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 21, 3 (Summer 2020): 591-626.

Daria Bocharnikova and Steven E. Harris, “Second World Urbanity: Infrastructures of Utopia and Really Existing Socialism.” Journal of Urban History 44, no. 1 (2018): 3-8.

“Soviet Mass Housing and the Communist Way of Life,” in Everyday Life in the Russian Past and Present, edited by Choi Chatterjee, David L. Ransel, Mary Cavender, and Karen Petrone (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015). Harris–Soviet Mass Housing and the Communist Way of Life

Communism on Tomorrow Street: Mass Housing and Everyday Life after Stalin. Baltimore: The Woodrow Wilson Center Press and the Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.

Two Lessons in Modernism: What the Architectural Review and America’s Mass Media Taught Soviet Architects about the West, Trondheim Studies on East European Cultures and Societies 31 (Trondheim: Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet, 2010).

“‘I Know All the Secrets of My Neighbors’: The Quest for Privacy in the Era of the Separate Apartment,” in Borders of Socialism: Private Spheres of Soviet Russia, ed. Lewis H. Siegelbaum (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 171-189. Harris–I Know All the Secrets of My Neighbors

“‘We Too Want to Live in Normal Apartments’: Soviet Mass Housing and the Marginalization of the Elderly under Khrushchev and Brezhnev,” The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review 32, no. 2-3 (2005): 143-174.

In Search of ‘Ordinary’ Russia: Everyday Life in the NEP, the Thaw, and the Communal Apartment,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 6, 3 (Summer 2005): 583-614.

TRANSLATIONS (French to English):

Yves Cohen, “The Cult of Number One in an Age of Leaders,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian & Eurasian History 8, no. 3 (2007): 597-634.