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177Robert (Rob) Smurr teaches Russian, Eurasian and Environmental History at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. His primary areas of research and writing include investigations of the Former Soviet Union’s (FSU) nations, ethnicities and borderlands; environmental history, with particular emphasis on Estonia and the Baltic region; post-Soviet transitions; and adventure travel practices in the FSU. His first book, Perceptions of Nature, Expressions of Nation: An Environmental History of Estonia, was published in 2009. His writings have also appeared in Nationalities Papers, Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, History in Dispute, Kunst.ee, among others.

Every other year he teaches an intensive, team-taught, and yearlong program that analyzes Russia and the FSU with Dr. Patricia (Pat) Krafcik. This program immerses students in diverse historical, literary, and political themes from a vast and culturally diverse geographic region. During alternate years he primarily teaches environmental history programs with differing faculty members, and in summers he often leads students on month-long backpacking treks in remote mountainous regions of the Former Soviet Union (FSU), such as Kyrgyzstan, Siberia, and the Republic of Georgia.

Current Research and Writing:
I am continuing my examination of environmental policies and practices in the United States (mostly western) and former Soviet countries, particularly the legacy and significance of Estonia’s environmental protection and preservation practices; eco- and adventure-travel opportunities in the FSU; Soviet-era environmental polices within Russia itself, as well as in the fourteen other now independent nation-states; and comparative studies of post-Soviet environmental practices in the FSU. For more information, see Publications page on this website.

Upcoming Programs:

Spring, 2015: The Soviet Union and the Rebirth of Russia: Stalin, Gorbachev and Putin
(Co-taught with Patricia (Pat) Krafcik)

Winter, 2015: Russia Falls, the Soviet Union Rises: Imperial Beauty, Turmoil and Tragedy
(Co-taught with Patricia (Pat) Krafcik)

Fall, 2014: Russia and the Forging of Empires: Vikings, Mongols and Slavs
(Co-taught with Patricia (Pat) Krafcik)

Past Programs:
Fall, Winter, Spring 2013-14: On Leave (Research Sabbatical)

Fall, Winter, Spring 2012-13: Russia and Eurasia: Empires and Enduring Legacies
(Co-taught with Patricia (Pat) Krafcik)

Fall, Winter 2011-12: Blood and Borders: Tradition and Transformation in Central Europe
(Co-taught with Zoltan Grossman, Patricia (Pat) Krafcik, and Marta Botikova)

Spring 2012: Inside Passages: Northwest Rivers and Seas
(Co-taught with Ted Whitesell)

Fall, Winter, Spring 2010-11: Russia and Eurasia: Empires and Enduring Legacies
(Co-taught with Patricia (Pat) Krafcik)

Fall, Winter 2009-10: Earth Stewards: Sustainable Living in a Threatened World
(Co-taught with Rob Cole)

Spring 2010: Stalin: Legacy in Stone, Steel, and Blood
(Co-taught with Patricia (Pat) Krafcik)

Fall, Winter, Spring 2008-09: Russia and Eurasia: Empires and Enduring Legacies
(Co-taught with Patricia (Pat) Krafcik)

Fall 2007: Student Originated Studies

Winter, Spring 2008: Time and Place: Regional Environmental Histories
(Co-taught with Peter Impara)

Fall, Winter, Spring 2006-07: Russia and Eurasia: Empires and Enduring Legacies
(Co-taught with Patricia (Pat) Krafcik)

Fall, Winter 2005-06: Consuming Utopia: From Wilderness to Walmart                   (Co-taught with Nancy Koppelman)

Spring 2006: Student Originated Studies

Fall, Winter, Spring 2004-05: Russia: Empires and Enduring Legacies
(Co-taught with Patricia (Pat) Krafcik)

Fall, Winter 2003-04: Our Place in Nature
(Co-taught with Steven Hendricks)

Spring 2004: Student Originated Studies

Fall, Winter, Spring 2002-03: Russia
(Co-taught with Patricia (Pat) Krafcik)

Fall, Winter, Spring 2001-02: On Leave

Fall, Winter, Spring 2000-01: Russia
(Co-taught with Patricia (Pat) Krafcik and Tom Rainey)

Summer Programs:
2011:   Trek the Caucasus Mountains

2010:   Trek the Caucasus Mountains

2009:   Trek in Central Asia

2006:   Central Asia: Mosques, Mountains, and Minarets

2005:   Backpacking in Siberia: The History, Culture, & Environment of Siberia’s Altai Mts.