Headshot Karen Petrone

Karen Petrone

Karen Petrone is Professor of History and inaugural Director of the Cooperative for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Kentucky. She served as Chair of the Department of History from 2011-2015 and 2016-2020 and was named College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor in 2017-2018. Her primary research interests are cultural history, gender history, propaganda, war and memory, and the history of subjectivity and everyday life, especially in Russia and the Soviet Union.

Her book The Great War in Russian Memory (Indiana University Press, 2011) challenges the notion that World War I was a forgotten war in the Soviet Union.  She argues that although the war was not officially commemorated by the Soviet state, it was the subject of lively discourse about religion, heroism, violence and patriotism during the interwar period.  The book then traces how this discourse disappeared due to the growing militarization of the Soviet state in the 1930s.  This work broadens Petrone's expertise on the culture of the Soviet interwar period, a subject she first explored in her book on Stalinist celebrations in the 1930s, Life Has Become More Joyous, Comrades: Celebrations in the Time of Stalin (Indiana University Press, 2000).