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Nicholas Mayhew

nick mayhew


Jesus College

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My primary interest is the history of gender and sexuality in Russia. My research in this field covers a broad chronology. Although my doctoral thesis focused on the sixteenth through to the early eighteenth centuries, I have completed extended research projects examining gender and sexuality in different periods, from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century. My next major project is a monograph exploring the construction of masculinity in Russia through contemporary religious discourse. 

Conference Papers

  • ‘Deconstructing the Heterosexual Man in Russian Orthodox Historiography’, at the workshop Beyond Putin: Masculinity in Russia and the Caucasus (Bristol, June 2017).
  • ‘Gender Nonconformity in the Tsardom of Russia’, at the International Medieval Congress (Leeds, June 2017).
  • ‘On the Legal Terminology for Same-Sex Desire in Imperial Russia’, at the What is and how to do LGBT History conference (Liverpool, March 2017).
  • ‘The Banning of Bratotvorenie in Muscovy in the Seventeenth Century’, at the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) conference (Lviv, July 2016).
  • ‘Rewriting Paired Saint Culture, 1504-1705’, at the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES) conference (Cambridge, April 2016).

In Press

  • ‘Banning “Spiritual Brotherhoods” and Establishing Marital Chastity in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Muscovy and Ruthenia’, in Palaeoslavica, vol. 25 (in press, forthcoming September 2017).
  • ‘Eunuchs and Ascetic Masculinity in Kievan Rus’, in The Medieval History Journal, vol. 21 (in press, forthcoming April 2018).
  • ‘The Queer Identities of Muscovy’s Holy Pairs’, in Russian History, vol. 45 (in press, forthcoming spring 2018).
  • ‘Современные представления о предполагаемой традиции русской гомофобии’ [‘Contemporary Ideas about Russia’s Alleged Tradition of Homophobia’], in Feminist Critique: East European Journal of Feminist and Queer Studies, vol. 2 (in press, forthcoming spring 2018).


1. Culture courses

Introduction to Russian Culture

I hold weekly classes, teaching the canon of Russian literature, including Karamzin, Pushkin, Lermontov, Turgenev, Gogol, Akhmatova and Mandelstam, as well as visual culture from Kievan and Muscovite icons through to neoclassicism, critical realism, constructivism, futurism and Stalin-era propaganda posters. I also introduce students to Russian cinema, offering a class on Chelovek s kinoapparatom.

The History and Culture of Early Rus

I have offered lecture-style sessions for students enrolled on this course, on topics of special interest. Most recently I gave a lecture on Slavonic liturgy as a literary genre.

2. Language courses

Russian for Beginners

I teach beginners’ Russian to first-year students, covering the alphabet and phonetics, everyday spoken language and all grammatical topics (including case declensions and verbal conjugations, verbs of motions, gerunds and participles).

Intermediate Translation from Russian

I am solely responsible for organising the course. I have developed a syllabus which is designed to allow students to explore different approaches to translating nineteenth-century literature, contemporary prose and journalistic articles.

Russian Text and Culture (Advanced)

I run weekly tutorials for the advanced final-year Russian language paper. I teach translation from English into Russian and essay-writing in Russian. I am responsible for organising the setting and marking of mock examinations in the final term

Languages (in addition to English)

Near-native fluency: Russian

Excellent knowledge: Church Slavonic, French, German

Basic knowledge: Byzantine Greek, Swedish

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