Dr Alun Thomas

Job Title and Responsibilities

Lecturer in Modern European History

About Me

Dr Alun Thomas joined Staffordshire University in September 2017. Before this, he worked as a tutor or lecturer at the University of Sheffield, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Leicester, Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham.

Dr Thomas’ research to date has concerned the modern history of Russia and Central Asia. He began his doctoral studies in September 2011, funded by a full AHRC studentship. His doctoral thesis, ‘Kazakh Nomads and the New Soviet State, 1919-1934’ described the treatment of nomadic peoples by the Communist Party in the early Soviet period. It built upon original research in archives in Almaty, Kazakhstan and Moscow, Russia. The thesis is reviewed here.

Dr Thomas’ present work relates to the postcolonial nature of early Soviet governance in non-Russian regions of the USSR. 


PhD, The University of Sheffield, 2015
MA Modern History, The University of Sheffield, 2011
BA (Hons) Russian and Politics, The University of Sheffield, 2009

Professional Memberships

Member of the British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Dr Thomas is co-editor of the ‘Peripheral Histories’ digital history project: http://peripheralhistories.blogspot.co.uk/

Research Interests

  • The history of Russia and the Soviet Union 
  • The history of Central Asia
  • Imperialism; colonialism; decolonisation
  • Refugeedom; itinerance; nomadism
  • Nationalism; state-building; urbanisation
  • Memory; patrimonialisation

Selected Publications

An Empire Remembered? Collectivization and Colonialism in Mukhamet Shayakhmetov’s 'TheSilent Steppe' in Dirk Göttsche (ed.), Memory and Postcolonial Studies: Synergies and New Directions across Literatures from Europe, Africa and the Americas (Peter Lang, 2018).

Nomads and Soviet Rule: Central Asia from Lenin to Stalin (I.B. Tauris, 2018).

‘The Caspian Disputes: Nationalism and Nomadism in Early Soviet Central Asia’, The Russian Review 76:3 (2017), pp. 502-525.

‘On Guard at BAMlag: Representations of Guards in the 1930s Gulag Press’, The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review, 4:11 (2014), pp. 3-32.

Current Teaching

Life Stories in Modern Times (Level 4, 15 credits)
The Soviet Union and its People, 1917-1991 (Levels 5 and 6, 30 credits)
Nomads and Nation-States: Central Asia since 1700 (Levels 5 and 6, 15 credits)
Gender History: Femininity, Masculinity, Sex (Levels 5 and 6, 15 credits)
International History since 1900 (Distance Learning)
Concepts in International History (MA, Distance Learning)
Dissertation supervisor at UG and PG level


Dr Alun Thomas
Lecturer in Modern European History
School of Creative Arts and Engineering
Staffordshire University
Flaxman L223
College Road
t: +44 (0)1782 294806
e: alun.thomas@staffs.ac.uk
twitter: @AlunR_Thomas