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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor Andy Byford, MA, DPhil

Professor / Director of Studies in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43432
Room number: A18, Elvet Riverside I

(email at

Current Research

Open World Research Initiative (OWRI)

Andy Byford is Co-I on a large multi-institutional programme of research, Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community, led by Professor Stephen Hutchings (University of Manchester) and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, as part of its Open World Research Initiative. Together with Professor Anoush Ehteshami (SGIA), he is responsible for the Transnational Strand of the project, which investigates political, social and cultural interactions across communities sharing a single language, but dispersed across multiple states and cultures, with emphasis on Russian, Arabic, Spanish and Chinese.

Science of the Child in Late Imperial and Early Soviet Russia (1881-1936)

The project investigates how children became objects of scientific study, professional expertise and public interest in modern societies, focusing on Russia as a key example. It explores the historical contingencies of the rise and fall of a multiprofessional/crossdisciplinary movement that claimed child development and socialisation as a territory of specialist investigation, including: developmental and educational psychology; child psychiatry and special education; hygiene and pediatrics; juvenile criminology and the social anthropology of childhood. This is a case study in the social history of the human sciences and professions in the distinctive context of late 19th- and early 20th-century Russia, a period of rapid modernization, socio-political restructuring, and cataclysmic revolutionary upheaval. Further more detail see the project website.

An Ontology of Animal Minds: A Cultural History of Russian ‘Zoopsychology’ (1890s-1990s)

This project looks at the history of Russian research in comparative psychology, ethology, animal neuroscience and behavioural ecology. It examines the work of figures such as Vladimir Vagner (1849-1934), Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), Nadezhda Ladygina-Kots (1889-1963), Vladimir Durov (1863-1934) and many others. The focus is on different ways in which Russian scientists constructed animal mentality, a phenomenon that they ambivalently both troubled over and assumed, denied and kept returning to, skirted around and yet could not do without. As part of this project Professor Byford co-organised an interdisciplinary symposium on the Evidence of Animal Minds, under the auspieces of Durham University's Institute of Advanced Study.

Postgraduate Supervision

I welcome enquiries from those wishing to pursue a Masters by Research (MAR) and/or a PhD on topics related to the social and cultural history of the intelligentsia, professions, sciences and education in 19th- and 20th-century Russia. At present I would especially encourage proposals on topics relating to human-animal relations in Russia.

Research Interests

  • History of the biological, human and social sciences in Russia
  • History of the Russian intelligentsia, professions, and education
  • History of humanities scholarship in Russia
  • Human-animal relations in Russia
  • Russia-related migrancy and diaspora

Selected Publications

Authored book

Edited book

Edited Journal

Chapter in book

Journal Article

Book review

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

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Selected Grants

  • 2018: HEFCE GCRF (£27,500)
  • 2016: AHRC OWRI (AH/N004647/1; £943,929)
  • 2016: CREES Activity Grant (£400)
  • 2015: BA MC Fellowship (MD140022; £97,336)
  • 2015: Durham IAS Activity Grant (£1,980)
  • 2015: Durham Seedcorn Award (£3,785)
  • 2012: AHRC EC Fellowship (AH/J00362X/1; £41,973)
  • 2012: Durham Seedcorn Award (£2,660)
  • 2011: BA Small Grant (SG101445; £4,200)