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Prof Charlotte Alston

Head of Department

Department: Humanities

Charlotte is Professor in History and Head of the Department of Humanities. 

Charlotte joined Northumbria University in 2009, having previously held posts as Lecturer in History at the University of Ulster (2006-9) and as Research Assistant to the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Professor of British History at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London (2003-6).

Charlotte's research explores Russia's relations with the West, focusing on both international relations and transnational movements. She is the author of books and articles on Russia's revolutions and civil war, the Russian emigration, the post-First World War peace settlement, and the international influence of Tolstoy's thought.

Charlotte Alston

Campus Address

Northumbria University
Room 316, Lipman Building, City Campus
Newcastle upon Tyne

Charlotte’s research explores Russia's relations with the West across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing on both international relations and transnational movements. She is the author of books and articles on Russia's revolutions and civil war, the Russian emigration, the post-First World War peace settlements, and the international influence of Tolstoy's thought.

Her first book, published in 2007, was a biography of the New Zealand journalist, publicist and linguist Harold Williams, who witnessed and reported on the Russian revolutions of 1917. The book explores the worlds of Anglo-Russian relations, wartime cultural diplomacy, early 20th century international news reporting, and lobbying for intervention in Russia’s civil war.  Charlotte continues to publish on the Anglo-Russian alliance in wartime, and on international intervention in Russia’s civil war, with recent articles in War in History (2017), Russkii Sbornik (2020), and the multi-volume project Russia's Great War and Revolution (2021). With Geoff Swain, Michael Hickey, Boris Kolonitskii and Franziska Schedewie, she edited the 600-page Bloomsbury Handbook of the Russian Revolution (2023).

Charlotte’s second monograph was a study of the international Tolstoyan movement. The research for this book project was supported by grants from the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Royal Irish Academy and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The resulting monograph Tolstoy and His Disciples: the History of a Radical International Movement (I B Tauris, 2014) examines the operation of international Tolstoyan networks and campaigns, as well as the ways in which Tolstoy’s ideas were developed in different national contexts. Her most recent publication on the Tolstoyan movement is a chapter in the Cambridge University Press volume Tolstoy in Context, edited by Anna A. Berman (2023).

With Daniel Laqua, Charlotte has edited two special issues of journals (Journal of Modern European History, and European History Review, 2014) focusing on transnational solidarities and humanitarianism, and a further two focusing on challenges to socialist rule in the 1970s and 80s (Labour History Review 2022, East Central Europe 2023). With philosophers Amber Carpenter (Singapore) and Rachael Wiseman (Liverpool), Charlotte led the British Academy-funded project ‘Portraits of Integrity’. Through a reading group and an international conference, this project focused on historical and fictional characters whose lives tell us something about the challenges of living with integrity. A volume of essays resulting from the project was published by Bloomsbury in the spring of 2020.

A further strand of Charlotte’s research focuses on the history of Russia’s border states in war and revolution. She has published both articles and a book (Antonius Piip, Zigfrids Meierovics and Augustinas Voldemaras: the Baltic States, in the Haus series 'Makers of the Modern World: The Peace Conferences of 1919-23 and their aftermath) on the representation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at the post-First World War peace conference in Paris, and in 2018 she took part in an international summer school to mark the centenary of the independence of Georgia.

Charlotte is currently working on a book project that explores the relationship between Russian émigré activists and western publics, from the late tsarist era to the present. She is a member of the editorial board of the Royal Historical Society’s New Perspectives book series, and a member of the editorial board of the journals Revolutionary Russia and Labour History Review. From 2017 to 2021 was the Secretary of History UK, the national body promoting history in higher education. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • International Intervention in Russia's Civil War: Policies, Experiences and Justifications, Alston, C. 28 Jun 2021, Russian International Relations in War and Revolution, 1914–22 , Bloomington, Indiana, Slavica Publishers
  • Интервенция в России в годы гражданской войны: Роль Великобритании и ее обоснование в Лондоне и на театрах военных действий, Alston, C. 12 May 2020, Русский Сборник, Moscow, Modest Kolerov
  • Portraits of Integrity: 26 Case Studies from History, Literature and Philosophy, Carpenter, A., Wiseman, R., Alston, C. 16 Apr 2020
  • Encounters on the Eastern Front: The Royal Naval Armoured Car Division in Russia 1915-1920: The Royal Naval Armoured Car Division in Russia 1915-1920, Alston, C. 1 Nov 2018, In: War in History
  • News of the Struggle: the Russian Political Press in London 1853-1921, Alston, C. 14 Dec 2017, The Foreign Political Press in Nineteenth Century London, London, Bloomsbury
  • Leo Tolstoy, The Kreutzer Sonata, Alston, C. 17 Dec 2015, Patriarchal Moments, London, Bloomsbury
  • From steamroller to empty chair, Alston, C. Oct 2014, 28 June : Sarajevo 1914-Versailles 1919 : the war and peace that made the modern world, London, Haus Publishing
  • A Great Host of Sympathisers: The Doukhobor Emigration and its International Supporters, 1895–1905, Alston, C. 14 May 2014, In: Journal of Modern European History
  • Transnational solidarities and the politics of the left, 1890-1990-introduction, Alston, C. 2014, In: European Review of History
  • Tolstoy and his disciples: the history of a radical international movement, Alston, C. 18 Dec 2013

  • James Brown The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend? Comparing Soviet and Anglo-American Discourse on Human Rights and Dissidents 1964-1991 Start Date: 01/10/2019 End Date: 14/06/2023
  • Stuart Anderson Refusing to Fight the 'Good War': Conscientious Objectors in the North-East of England During the Second World War Start Date: 08/10/2013 End Date: 11/11/2016
  • Shaun Pitt Piotr Kropotkin, anarcho-communist networks and British ‘New Liberalism’ (1886-1921) Start Date: 01/10/2018
  • Jasmine Calver The Comité mondial des femmes contre la guerre et le fascisme: Anti-Fascist, Feminist, and Communist Activism in the 1930s Start Date: 13/11/2015 End Date: 02/12/2019
  • Lara Green Russian Revolutionary Terrorism in Transnational Perspective: Representations and Networks 1881-1926 Start Date: 07/10/2014 End Date: 07/03/2019

  • Education PGCHE August 13 2009
  • History PhD June 30 2004
  • History MLitt September 30 2000
  • History BA (Hons) June 30 1999
  • Senior Fellow (SFHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2014
  • Fellow Royal Historical Society 2009

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