Professor Derek C Offord

B.A.(Cantab.), Ph.D.(Lond.)

  • BS8 1TE

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Research interests

Derek Offord is a specialist in pre-revolutionary Russian history, thought and literature and in language usage and language attitudes in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Russia. He has published books on the revolutionary movement in its Populist phase, on the debates in the nineteenth-century intelligentsia (especially between its radical wing and its liberal and romantic conservative wings) and on the ways in which Russian writers travelling in the West used their travels to shape notions of national identity as Russia entered the European world. Together with William Leatherbarrow of the University of Sheffield, he co-edited a documentary history of Russian thought in 1987 and a new History of Russian Thought published by Cambridge University Press in 2010.

From 2011 to 2015 he led a multidisciplinary project funded by the AHRC on the history of the French language in Russia from the mid-eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. The project yielded three co-edited volumes, two clusters of articles, and a 700-page monograph co-authored with Vladislav Rjeoutski and Gesine Argent and published by Amsterdam University Press in 2018. This monograph, The French Language in Russia: A Social, Political, Cultural, and Literary History, was awarded the Marc Raeff Book Prize for 2019 by the Eighteenth-Century Russian Studies Association, an affiliate of the American Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, and (as Joint winner) the 2019 R. Gapper Book Prize awarded by the Society for French Studies. It has been translated into Russian and was published by Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie in Moscow in 2022. The website of the AHRC project, which includes twelve documents or sets of documents from primary sources accompanied in each case by an explanatory article, is at http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/research/french-in-russia.

Derek's latest book-length publication is on Ayn Rand and the Russian intelligentsia (published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2022 in their Russian Shorts series; details at https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/ayn-rand-and-the-russian-intelligentsia-9781350283947/).

Derek is also the author of two widely used books on the modern Russian language, Modern Russian: An Advanced Grammar Course (1993) and Using Russian: A Guide to Contemporary Usage (1996), which was republished in a revised and augmented edition co-authored witn Natalia Gogolitsyna of the University of Bristol in 2005.

He is currently beginning work on a survey of contemporary Russian nationalistic thought, having broached this subject in an article on the Russian invasion of Ukraine which was published in The Critic magazine and which is accessible online at https://thecritic.co.uk/issues/november-2022/regathering-the-russian-lands/

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  • Marc Raeff Book Prize

    Offord, Derek C (Recipient), 23 Nov 2019

    Prize: Prizes, Medals, Awards and Grants

  • OBE

    Offord, Derek C (Recipient), 2012

    Prize: National/international honour

  • R. Gapper Book Prize

    Offord, Derek C (Recipient), 2020

    Prize: Prizes, Medals, Awards and Grants