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Dr Siobhán Hearne

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

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Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the School of Modern Languages and CulturesER254, Elvet Riverside II+44 (0) 191 33 47606


I am a historian of gender and sexuality in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. I currently hold a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in the Russian Department. Before coming to Durham, I completed a Leverhulme Study Abroad Fellowship at the University of Latvia in Riga. I was awarded my PhD from the University of Nottingham in 2017 and I have previously studied at the University of Liverpool and Swansea University.

Current research

My current project, entitled 'Moulding the Tsar’s Men: Military Masculinity and Corporeal Regulation in the Russian Empire' examines how Russian military and civil authorities, with input from medical experts, used corporeal regulation in their efforts to construct the ideal soldier and sailor, and how military personnel from different ethnic and religious backgrounds experienced such regulation. The project will focus on sexuality and sexual behaviour, disability, nutrition, and physical culture to explore the impact of the human and medical sciences upon military masculinities, situating the Russian case within wider international trends in light of modernisation, urbanisation, and scientific development at the turn of the twentieth century.

More broadly, in my research I use sexuality as a lens for interrogating the relationship between ordinary people and the Russian Imperial/Soviet state. My first monograph, Policing Prostitution: Regulating the Lower Classes in Late Imperial Russia (Oxford University Press, 2021), is a social history of prostitution in the final decades of the Russian Empire. Based on archival research conducted in Moscow, St Petersburg, Arkhangel’sk, Riga, Vilnius, Minsk, Kyiv and Tartu, this work examines how registered prostitutes, their clients, their managers and wider urban communities experienced and resisted the policing characteristic of the Russian system for the regulation of prostitution. You can find out about the book by listening to my interviews on the New Books Network and the SRB podcast.

I am also one of the editors of Peripheral Historiesa collaborative digital history project exploring ‘peripheral’ spaces in the Russian Empire, Soviet Union, and post-Soviet world.


Authored book

  • Hearne, Siobhan (2021). Policing Prostitution: Regulating the Lower Classes in Late Imperial Russia. Oxford University Press.

Chapter in book

  • Hearne, Siobhan (2020). Liberation and Authoritarianism in the Early Soviet Campaign to "Struggle with Prostitution". In The Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution Illiberal Liberation, 1917-41. Douds, Lara, Harris, James & Whitewood, Peter Bloomsbury. 231-244.

Journal Article