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Dr Andy Byford, MA, DPhil

Senior Lecturer / Head of Department in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43432
Room number: A18, Elvet Riverside I

Contact Dr Andy Byford (email at


2013-present: Senior Lecturer in Russian, Durham University
2009-2013: Lecturer in Russian, Durham University
2007-2009: Research Fellow, Wolfson College, University of Oxford
2004-2007: Junior Research Fellow, Wolfson College, University of Oxford
2000-2004: DPhil in Russian, University of Oxford
1999-2000: MA in Comparative Literature, University College London
1995-1999: BA in French and Russian, SSEES, University of London

Current Research

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. The project is envisaged as 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 details on the project are available here.

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

The project focuses on the history of Russian ‘zoopsychology’ (zoopsikhologiia) – a field that straddles animal neuroscience, comparative psychology, and ethology. It appeared in Russia in the late 1890s, matured in the 1920s-30s, and continues to exist under this name to this day. The history of Russian zoopsychology includes V.A. Vagner (1849-1934), the pioneer of the field, recognised for his work on spiders; the Nobel laureate Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), famous for his theory of conditioned reflexes elaborated in laboratory experiments on dogs; N.N. Ladygina-Kots (1889-1963), the co-founder of the Museum of Darwinism in Moscow, commonly seen as Russia’s first primatologist; the celebrity animal trainer and circus impresario Vladimir Durov (1863-1934). The project focuses on different ways in which Russian zoopsychology dealt with the problem of ‘animal mind’, a phenomenon that the field ambivalently both troubled over and assumed, denied and kept returning to, skirted around and yet could not do without.

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, science and education in 19th- and 20th-century Russia.

I currently supervise a PhD thesis that examines the cultural identities and social networks of Russian-speaking migrants living and working in Britain. The project, carried out by Ms Polina Kliuchnikova, is based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Russian migrant community, in-depth semi-structured interviews, and the analysis of published, internet and other media sources.

I co-supervise a PhD thesis on representations of female suffering in Russian literature from the late 18th to the 20th centuries. This project is carried out by Ms Nicola Ophelia Lavey.

I also supervise an MAR dissertation that investigates domestic tourism in the USSR in the period of late socialism. The project, carried out by Ms Sheila Pattle, focuses on Soviet domestic tourists' imaginations and experiences of 'place', using archival material, oral history, audiovisual material, and a wide variety of published sources, including tourism marketing, travel writing, local studies literature, memoirs, and literary texts.

Research Interests

  • History of the Russian intelligentsia, professions, sciences and education
  • History of humanities scholarship in Russia
  • History of the biological, human and social sciences in Russia
  • The Russian Diaspora in Great Britain

Selected Publications

Books: authored

Books: edited

Books: sections

  • Byford, Andy & Obukhov, Aleksei S. (2014). Glava I: Razvitie psikhologo-pedagogicheskikh nauk. In Vvedenie v profesiiu: Psikholog obrazovaniia. Obukhov, Aleksei S. Iurait. 23-190.

Edited works: journals

Essays in edited volumes

Journal papers: academic

Other publications: research

  • Byford, Andy (2013). Cold War Entanglements of Social Science. Science as Culture 22(3): 401-406.
  • Byford, Andy. (2012). Childhood Studies: Russia. New York: Oxford University Press. Oxford Bibliographies Online: Childhood Studies
  • Byford, Andy (2010). Evraziia, prishedshaia v dvizhenie. Antropologicheskii forum 13: 317-323.
  • Byford, Andy. (2005). Russian Literary Scholarship (1830-1917). The Literary Encyclopaedia

Show all publications


Selected Grants

  • 2015: British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (MD140022; £97,336)
  • 2012: AHRC Early Career Research Fellowship (AH/J00362X/1; £41,973)
  • 2012: Durham Seedcorn Award (CC290164; £2,660)
  • 2011: British Academy Small Research Grant (SG101445; £4,200)