Heather Coleman

Professor, Faculty of Arts - History, Classics, & Religion Dept


Professor, Faculty of Arts - History, Classics, & Religion Dept
(780) 492-3922
2-129 Tory (H.M.) Building
11211 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H4


Area of Study / Keywords

Russian History Ukrainian History History of Religion in Modern Europe


I am an historian of Russia and Ukraine, with a special interest in religion and modernization in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I teach a range of courses in Russian, modern European, and world history. From 2011-2020, I served as editor of Canadian Slavonic Papers/Revue canadienne des slavistes. I am also the director of the Program on Religion and Culture at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies.


My research has focused on the relationship between religion and social, political, and cultural modernization in late imperial and early Soviet Russia and Ukraine.

My first book, Russian Baptists and Spiritual Revolution, 1905-1929 (Indiana, 2005) received honourable mention for the Wallace K. Ferguson Prize of the Canadian Historical Association in 2006. I am also the co-editor, with Mark D. Steinberg, of Sacred Stories: Religion and Spirituality in Modern Russia (Indiana 2007), and editor of Orthodox Christianity in Imperial Russia: A Source Book on Lived Religion (Indiana, 2014).

My research on Baptists, many of whom were Ukrainian, and on the Russian Orthodox Church’s “internal” mission, led me to my current book project, “Holy Kyiv: Priests, Communities, and Nationality in Imperial Russia.” This monograph, funded by SSHRC and the Canada Research Chairs programme, investigates the relationship between the ethno-religious diversity of Kyiv/Kiev province and the rise of a lively pastoral mission among the Orthodox clergy there in the nineteenth century. It explores the dilemma of the “Russian” church in the politically sensitive Southwest Region (which was absorbed into the Russian Empire only in 1793) as a window into the creation of both modern Russian and Ukrainian identities between the 1830s and 1905. It focuses on parish priests as the cultural and religious brokers who stood between the Russian Orthodox Church and the imperial state, and between local communities where the “Russians” mostly spoke Ukrainian, and the mostly Yiddish-speaking towns and Polish-speaking nobility. My study examines both the clergy’s cultural work and their culture, focusing on their relationship with their parishioners, how their understanding of their mission evolved, their representations of their communities and of themselves, and their attitudes toward ideas about Polishness, Russianness, and Ukrainianness. 

Finally, an important aspect of my scholarly contribution has been as an editor. From January 2011- December 2020, I served as editor of Canadian Slavonic Papers/Revue canadienne des slavistes, the journal of the Canadian Association of Slavists; I remain active as Associate Editor. 


I teach a range of courses, including HIST 128 (War, Revolution, and Society), HIST 210 (Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries), HIST 313 (Medieval and Early Modern Russia), HIST 320 (Russia from Reform to Revolution, 1800-1917), HIST 379 (Religion in Modern Europe), HIST 416 (Topics in Eastern European History -- most recently, a course on the Russian Revolution, but also on topics such as Late Imperial Russia, Empire and Nation in Imperial Russia), HIST 604 (Application of the Social Sciences to History), HIST 605 (States and Peoples in the Modern World), HIST 630 (Problems in Imperial Russian History).

I very much enjoy graduate training and have had the privilege of working with numerous MA and PhD students, as well as postdoctoral fellows. I welcome inquiries from potential graduate students interested in Russian and Ukrainian history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


HIST 128 - War, Revolution, and Society

The causes, course, and consequences of major conflicts around the globe, including their wider social effects.

HIST 606 - Comprehensive Topic Course

Historiographical course focused on one of the department's designated graduate fields of study. May be repeated for credit when course content differs. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

HIST 700 - Graduate Research and Writing

Research-intensive course in which students prepare and defend an article-length primary-source-based research paper. May be repeated for credit in different years as course content necessarily differs. Prerequisite: consent of Department.

Browse more courses taught by Heather Coleman

Featured Publications

Heather J. Coleman

The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Europe, ed. Grace Davie and Lucian N. Leustean (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021).. 2021 December;

Heather J. Coleman (Хэзер Колман)

Moscow. 2019 July; Автобиографика и православие в России кон. XVII-начала XX вв.: вера и личность в меняющемся обществе [Autobiography and Orthodoxy in Russia, late 17th-early 20th centuries: Faith and the Person in a Changing Society], ed. Laurie Manchester and Denis Sdvizhkov

Heather J. Coleman

Ab Imperio. 2019 March; 2018 (4):96-129

Heather J. Coleman

Religious Freedom in Modern Russia, ed. Paul Werth and Randall Poole. 2018 June;

Heather J. Coleman

The Future of the Past: New Perspectives on Ukrainian History, ed. Serhii Plokhy. 2016 September;

Heather J. Coleman (Колман Гезер)

Труди Київської духовної академії . 2015 December; 21 (2014):179-87

Heather J. Coleman

Indiana University Press. 2014 September;

Heather J. Coleman

Thinking Orthodox in Modern Russia: Culture, History, Context, ed. Judith Deutsch Kornblatt and Patrick Lally Michelson . 2014 September;

Heather J. Coleman

Journal of Ukrainian Studies. 2011 July; 36 (Summer-Winter):141-154

Heather J. Coleman and Mark D. Steinberg, eds.

Indiana University Press. 2007 July;

Heather J. Coleman

Indiana University Press. 2005 May;