Faculty

Dr. Emily B Baran

Assistant Professor

Dr. Emily B Baran
615-898-2634
Room 272, Peck Hall (PH)
MTSU Box 23, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Degree Information

  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina (2011)
  • M.A., University of North Carolina (2006)
  • B.A., Macalester College (2003)

Areas of Expertise

Russia
Soviet Union
Post-Soviet World
Ukraine
Moldova
Religious History
Human Rights
Church-State Relations

Biography

Since her undergraduate years at Macalester College, she has explored the shifting contours of dissent and freedom in the Soviet Empire and its successor states, particularly for marginal religious communities.

She grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and remains a committed Packers fan.


Publications

Dissent on the Margins: How Soviet Jehovah's Witnesses Defied Communism and Lived to Preach About It (Oxford University Press, 2014) 

'"I Saw the Light:' Former Believer Testimonials in the Soviet Union, 1957-1987." Cahiers du Monde russe 52, no. 1 (2011): 163-84.

"Jehovah's Witnesses and Post-Soviet Religious Policy in Moldova and the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic." Journal of Church and State 53, no. 3 (2011): 421-41.

“Conteste...

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Dissent on the Margins: How Soviet Jehovah's Witnesses Defied Communism and Lived to Preach About It (Oxford University Press, 2014) 

'"I Saw the Light:' Former Believer Testimonials in the Soviet Union, 1957-1987." Cahiers du Monde russe 52, no. 1 (2011): 163-84.

"Jehovah's Witnesses and Post-Soviet Religious Policy in Moldova and the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic." Journal of Church and State 53, no. 3 (2011): 421-41.

“Contested Victims: Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Russian Orthodox Church, 1990 to 2004,” Religion, State and Society 35, no. 3 (2007): 261-78.  

“Negotiating the Limits of Religious Pluralism in Post-Soviet Russia: The Anticult Movement in the Russian Orthodox Church, 1990-2004,” Russian Review 65, no. 4 (2006): 637-56.

Works in Progress
Communism or Armageddon? Forging a Soviet State in Postwar Ukraine
The Siberian Seven and the Global Campaign for Religious Freedom

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Presentations

“The Postwar Gulag as a Site of Evangelism.” Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Washington, DC. November 2016.  

“Secular Schools and Witness Children in Soviet Ukraine,” International Conference of European Observatory of Religion and Secularism: The Jehovah’s Witnesses in Scholarly Perspective. Antwerp, Belgium. April 2016.  

“Human Rights, Soviet Believers, and Billy Graham: America’s Pastor in Mo...

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“The Postwar Gulag as a Site of Evangelism.” Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Washington, DC. November 2016.  

“Secular Schools and Witness Children in Soviet Ukraine,” International Conference of European Observatory of Religion and Secularism: The Jehovah’s Witnesses in Scholarly Perspective. Antwerp, Belgium. April 2016.  

“Human Rights, Soviet Believers, and Billy Graham: America’s Pastor in Moscow.” Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Boston, Massachusetts. November 2015.  

“The Basement Crusade: Billy Graham and the Siberian Seven Incident.” Protestantism and the Superpowers: Mission, Spirituality, and Prayer in the USA and USSR. University of Leicester, UK. September 2014.  

“Forging an Atheist State in Postwar Ukraine: A Case Study of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Village of Bila Tserkva.” Biennial Conference on the History of Religion. Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. March 2014.  

“This Land is Your Land: The Embassy as a Site of Asylum.” Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Boston, Massachusetts. November 2013.  

“It’s the End of the World as We Know It: Soviet Jehovah's Witnesses and the Armageddon Scare of 1975.” Southern Conference on Slavic Studies. Greensboro, North Carolina. March 2013.

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Awards

NEH Summer Stipend, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2017.

Keston Institute Scholarship, Keston Center for Religion, Politics, & Society, 2016.

Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, 2010-2011.

Title VIII Fellowship for Romanian language study, ACIE and the U.S. Department of State, 2010.

Helen Darcovich Memorial Doctoral Fellowship, University of Alberta, 2010.

International Dissertation Research Fellowship, SSRC-ACLS, 2008-2009.

Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education, 2008-2009.

Research/Scholarly Activity

She is currently working on two book projects. The first is a study of the border region of Transcarpathia (now located in Ukraine). It examines the arrival of Soviet power after World War II and its impact on local communities. Its framework is a careful study of a state investigation into the Romanian-speaking village of Bila Tserkva in 1949.

The second project explores the transnational movement on behalf of Soviet Pentecostal emigration rights in the late Cold War. In particular, ...

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She is currently working on two book projects. The first is a study of the border region of Transcarpathia (now located in Ukraine). It examines the arrival of Soviet power after World War II and its impact on local communities. Its framework is a careful study of a state investigation into the Romanian-speaking village of Bila Tserkva in 1949.

The second project explores the transnational movement on behalf of Soviet Pentecostal emigration rights in the late Cold War. In particular, it focuses on the Siberian Seven incident, in which two Pentecostal families sought asylum by living in the American Embassy in Moscow for nearly five years.

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Courses

Undergraduate Courses Taught
HIST 4330: Russia to the Twentieth Century
HIST 4340: Russia in the Twentieth Century
HIST 3090: Topics in European History (Modern Eastern Europe; Putin's Russia)
HIST 3070: Topics in World History (Twentieth Century Genocide; Post-Soviet History)
HIST 1010: Survey Western Civilization I
HIST 1020: Survey Western Civilization II

Graduate Courses Taught
HIST 6010: Historiography
HIST 6204: Topics in European History
HIST 6205: Research in European History

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Mailing Address
Department of History
Middle Tennessee State University
Box 23
1301 E. Main Street 
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Main Office
Peck Hall 223

Interim Department Chair
Susan Myers-Shirk

Undergraduate Program
(615) 898-2631

Graduate Program
(615) 898-5798

All Other Inquiries
(615) 898-2631