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Dr Andy Byford, MA, DPhil

Senior Lecturer [Research Leave 2015-16] 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 research in comparative psychology, ethology, animal neuroscience and behavioural ecology. It looks at the work of figures such as V.A. Vagner (1849-1934), Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), N.N. Ladygina-Kots (1889-1963), Vladimir Durov (1863-1934) and many others. The project focuses 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 Dr Byford is currently co-organising an interdisciplinary symposium on the Evidence of Animal Minds, under the auspieces of Durham's Institute of Advanced Study. Further details on this event are available here.

Open World Research Initiative (OWRI)

Andy Byford is Co-I on a large multi-institutional and interdisciplinary 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, Chinese, and Spanish. More detail on MLAC's participation in OWRI is available here.

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.

I currently co-supervise a PhD project on representations of female suffering in Russian literature from the late 18th to the late 20th century, carried out by Ms Nicola Ophelia Lavey, a Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership award holder. I have recently supervised to successful completion a PhD thesis on linguistic aspects of the cultural integration of Russian-speaking migrants in the UK (by Polina Kliuchnikova) and an MAR dissertation on the history of domestic tourism in the USSR during the period of late socialism (by Sheila Pattle).

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
  • Russian migrancy and diaspora

Selected Publications

Books: authored

Books: edited

Books: reviews

Books: sections

  • Byford, Andy & Obukhov, Aleksei S. (2014). Razvitie psikhologo-pedagogicheskikh nauk. In Vvedenie v profesiiu: Psikholog obrazovaniia: uchebnik dlia akademicheskogo bakalavriata. Obukhov, Aleksei S. Moscow: Iurait. 23-190.

Edited works: journals

Essays in edited volumes

Journal papers: academic

Other publications: research

Show all publications


Selected Grants

  • 2016: AHRC Open World Research Initative (AH/N004647/1; £943,929)
  • 2015: British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (MD140022; £97,336)
  • 2015: Durham IAS Activity Grant (CC290576; £1,980)
  • 2015: Durham Seedcorn Award (CC290204; £3,785)
  • 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)