Geoffrey Durham

Geoffrey Durham

Ph.D. Candidate

I study modern Eurasian and European history, particularly the Russian empire and its international entanglements in the nineteenth century. My research sits at the intersection of the history of political economy, empire, state formation, intellectual history, and the history of science. Beyond the history of the Russian empire, my teaching interests include the history of internationalism, comparative empire, unfree labor regimes and emancipation, and the global Cold War. 

Research for my dissertation, "Commerce and Science, Autarky and Integration: The Politics of Standardization in the Russian Empire, 1797-1917," has been supported by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies' Stephen F. Cohen-Robert C. Tucker Dissertation Research Fellowship (2019-20), the Bradley Foundation (2021-22), and several awards from the University of Pennsylvania.

My dissertation defamiliarizes the uniformity that has characterized measurement and monetary systems since the twentieth century and explains why and how they came to be. Diversity in weights, measures, and money posed problems central to imperial administration and economic life within and beyond Russia beginning in the late eighteenth century. I analyze the political relationships among tsarist officials and the interplay between the state and social groups in both provincial and colonial territories to understand how standardization reforms played out, and how they reconfigured the obligations that structured Russian imperial society.

I have written about the global spread of the metric system in a pair of blog posts for NYU's Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, which are available here, and here.


Dissertation committee: Peter Holquist (chair); Benjamin Nathans, Amy Offner, Sophia Rosenfeld, Michael Gordin (Princeton)


M.A., Russian and East European Studies, Indiana University, 2016
B.A., History, Skidmore College, 2012

Research Interests

Modern Russian Imperial and Soviet history; state formation; empire; political economy; internationalism; history of science

CV (file)