About Erika Monahan

I am a historian of early modern Russian Empire. My intellectual agenda in a nutshell is to better understand Russia and lands that became part of the Russian Empire in their early modern context. I am also very interested in Environmental history.

Erika Monahan is the author of The Merchants of Siberia: Trade in Early Modern Eurasia (Cornell UP, 2016) and a 2023-2024 Alexander von Humboldt Fellow

Erika's website

NBN Episodes hosted by Erika:

Legal Cultures in the Russian Empire

March 13, 2024

Legal Cultures in the Russian Empire

Nancy Kollmann and Paolo Sartori
Hosted by Erika Monahan

Law. How does the state form and use it? How do people use and shape it? How does law shape culture? How does the practice of law change over time in …

Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, "Post-Imperial Possibilities: Eurasia, Eurafrica, Afroasia" (Princeton UP, 2023)

February 18, 2024

Post-Imperial Possibilities

Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper
Hosted by Erika Monahan

How can territory and peoples be organized? After the dissolution of empires, was the nation-state the only way to unite people politically, culturall…

Jackson Lears, "Animal Spirits: The American Pursuit of Vitality from Camp Meeting to Wall Street" (FSG, 2023)

December 17, 2023

Animal Spirits

Jackson Lears
Hosted by Erika Monahan

In this interview the distinguished historian Jackson Lears talks about his latest book, Animal Spirits: The American Pursuit of Vitality from Camp Me…

Christian Raffensperger and Donald Ostrowski, "The Ruling Families of Rus: Clan, Family and Kingdom" (Reaktion Books, 2023)

December 12, 2023

The Ruling Families of Rus

Christian Raffensperger and Donald Ostrowski
Hosted by Erika Monahan

In the current context, where Vladimir Putin justifies his war against Ukraine by insisting on an inevitable, unbroken teleology that binds Kyiv to Mo…

Valerie Kivelson et al., "Picturing Russian Empire" (Oxford UP, 2023)

November 7, 2023

Picturing Russian Empire

Valerie Kivelson, Sergei Kozlov, and Joan Neuberger
Hosted by Erika Monahan

Picturing Russian Empire (Oxford UP, 2023) appears as Russia’s imperialist war of aggression against Ukraine grinds on. The stakes could not be higher…

Empires, States, Corporations: A Discussion with Historians Philip J. Stern and Quinn Slobodian

November 3, 2023

Empires, States, Corporations

Philip J. Stern and Quinn Slobodian
Hosted by Erika Monahan

Adam Smith wrote that, “Political economy belongs to no nation; it is of no country: it is the science of the rules for the production, the accumulati…

Books in Early Modern Europe: A Discussion with Simon Franklin, Andrew Pettegree, and Arthur de Weduwen

October 7, 2023

Books in the Early Modern World

Simon Franklin, Andrew Pettegree, and Arthur de Weduwen
Hosted by Erika Monahan

If you are reading this, it’s probably hard—nearly impossible—to imagine a world without writing—without print, books, newspapers, signs, graffiti, ad…

Ryan Tucker Jones, "Red Leviathan: The Secret History of Soviet Whaling" (U Chicago Press, 2022)

September 9, 2023

Red Leviathan

Ryan Tucker Jones
Hosted by Erika Monahan

The Soviet Union killed over six hundred thousand whales in the twentieth century, many of them illegally and secretly. That catch helped bring many w…

Simon Dreher and Wolfgang Mueller, "Foreigners in Muscovy: Western Immigrants in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Russia" (Routledge, 2023)

June 18, 2023

Foreigners in Muscovy

Simon Dreher and Wolfgang Mueller
Hosted by Erika Monahan

This interview delves into a book that is indebted to the scholarly work with which New Books Network founder, Marshall Poe, began his career: ‘A Peo…

Christian Raffensperger, "Authorship, Worldview, and Identity in Medieval Europe" (Routledge, 2022)

May 10, 2023

Authorship, Worldview, and Identity in Medieval Europe

Christian Raffensperger
Hosted by Erika Monahan

What did medieval authors know about their world? Were they parochial and focused on just their monastery, town, or kingdom? Or were they aware of the…

Clare Griffin, "Mixing Medicines: The Global Drug Trade and Early Modern Russia" (McGill-Queen's UP, 2022)

March 6, 2023

Mixing Medicines

Clare Griffin
Hosted by Erika Monahan

Clare Griffin's book Mixing Medicines: The Global Drug Trade and Early Modern Russia (McGill-Queen's UP, 2022) introduces the reader to the dynamic an…

Kees Boterbloem, "Russia and the Dutch Republic, 1566–1725: A Forgotten Friendship" (Lexington Books, 2021)

November 24, 2022

Russia and the Dutch Republic, 1566–1725

Kees Boterbloem
Hosted by Erika Monahan

Once upon a time, it was said that Russia was isolated and ignorant until Peter the Great opened Russia to the West and ushered in modernization. Whil…

Andrey V. Ivanov, "A Spiritual Revolution: The Impact of Reformation and Enlightenment in Orthodox Russia, 1700–1825" (U Wisconsin Press, 2020)

September 22, 2022

A Spiritual Revolution

Andrey V. Ivanov
Hosted by Erika Monahan

The ideas of the Protestant Reformation, followed by the European Enlightenment, had a profound and long-lasting impact on Russia’s church and society…

Ann Blair et al., Information: A Historical Companion" (Princeton UP, 2021)

August 23, 2022


Ann Blair, Paul Duguid, Anja-Silvia Goeing, and Anthony Grafton
Hosted by Erika Monahan

Information is everywhere. We live in an “Information” Society. We can get more of it faster, quicker, and in more different shapes and sizes than at …

Paul Bushkovitch, "Succession to the Throne in Early Modern Russia: The Transfer of Power 1450-1725" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

December 28, 2021

Succession to the Throne in Early Modern Russia

Paul Bushkovitch
Hosted by Erika Monahan

The transfer of power is something every must state attend to (and preferably by peaceful means). Remarkably, this fundamental aspect of statecraft wa…