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Professor Derek Offord

Professor Derek Offord

Professor Derek Offord
B.A.(Cantab.), Ph.D.(Lond.)

Emeritus Professor

17 Woodland Road,
Clifton, Bristol BS8 1TE
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+44 (0) 117 928 7605


He 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 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. This 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. The project website, which includes twelve documents or sets of documents from primary sources accompanied in each case by an explanatory article, is at He is also the author of two widely used books on the modern Russian language. He is currently beginning work on a history of the role and image of the River Volga in Russian civilisation.


He gained his BA from Cambridge in 1968 and his PhD from LSE in 1974. He was a British Council Scholar at Moscow University for the academic year 1972-73. He worked at the University of Wales at Aberystwyth from 1974-75 and has been at Bristol since 1975, first as Lecturer, then as Senior Lecturer (from 1986), Reader (from 1988), Professor (from 1997), Research Professor (from 2011) and Senior Research Fellow (from 2015). During the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s he played a leading role in the organisation of educational exchange between Britain and the USSR under the terms of the inter-governmental cultural agreements then in force. From 2004 to 2007 he was convenor of the Nineteenth-Century Study Group of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES). In RAE 2001 he served as a member of the panel for Russian and East European Languages and in RAE 2008 as chair of the equivalent sub-panel. He was awarded an OBE in the 2012 New Year Honours List for his ‘services to Russian studies in language and culture’.



Department of Russian

Organisational groups

Selected publications

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