Professor Craig Brandist

BA (CCAT), MA, Dphil (Sussex), Professor of Cultural Theory and Intellectual History

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Contact details

Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 7413

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I began work on Cultural Theory as a graduate student in the late 1980s. After completing my doctorate, which included a considerable amount of time and research in Russia, I spent a period as Max Hayward Research Fellow at St Antony´s College, Oxford.

I joined the department at Sheffield in January 1997, originally as a Research Fellow working on a project to uncover the intellectual sources of the ideas of the Bakhtin Circle. From 2003-2009 I directed the AHRC-funded project The Rise of Sociological Linguistics in the Soviet Union, 1917–1938: Institutions, Ideas and Agendas.

I am also President of Sheffield UCU.

Research interests

My research is currently focused on the history of cultural theory, particularly as it was affected by the Russian Revolution and its subsequent degeneration. I am particularly interested in highlighting the continuing relevance and influence of early Soviet intellectual history for social and cultural theory today.

I have long been interested in the interaction between Marxism, phenomenology, Gestalt Theory and various forms of linguistic and cultural theory within the specific context of early-Soviet Russia. I am also interested in the changing institutional contexts within which these figures worked and the way in which the shaped the development of the fields to which they contributed. This has developed into work on the parallels between Stalinist and neo-liberal reforms in the public sector and in Higher Education in particular, and the ways in which they affect language, intellectual labour and research.

Most recently I have been working on the relationship between the anti-imperial policies of the revolutionary movement and early Soviet state and the development of an ideology critique of the main trends in European philology and oriental studies. This has significant implications for understanding the origins of post-colonial scholarship and the way in which ideas such as 'hegemony' are employed today. This has resulted in my latest monograph The Dimensions of Hegemony: Language, Culture and Politics in Revolutionary Russia, and in some ongoing research on early Soviet Oriental Studies.

I have also been researching the years Antonio Gramsci spent in Russia, which will result in a collection of articles and archival materials co-edited with Peter Thomas of Brunel University.

Recent publications

Recent lectures, papers etc.

  • ‘The Early Soviet Critique of Indo-European Philology and the Rise of Post-Colonial Theory’, Humanities Research Centre Seminar, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, April 2015.
  • ‘Gramsci in Russia’, Debesh Chakraborty Memorial Lecture, Centre for Marxist Studies (CMS), Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India, March 2015. Coverage in The Statesman 23 March 2015.
  • 'The East Side of the Circle: The work of Mikhail I. Tubianskii', 15th International Bakhtin Conference, Stockholm, Sweden 23-27 July, 2014.
  • Bakhtinian Pedagogy in Historical Perspective’, Keynote address sponsored by the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia to The Fourth International Interdisciplinary Conference on Perspectives and Limits of Dialogism in Mikhail Bakhtin: Dialogue at the Boundaries, University of Waikato, New Zealand, January 2014. Also available here.
  • ‘Russian Marxism, Hegemony and the Critique of Eurocentrism’, Tenth Historical Materialism Conference, School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London, November 2013
  • ‘The Marrist Critique of Indo-Europeanism Revisited: Reconsidering its Roots and Heritage’, 150 Years of the Department of General Linguistics at St. Petersburg State University, Russia, August 2013.
  • ‘Formalism, Sociological Poetics, and the Role of the Veselovskii Institute’, Invited presentation to 100 Years of Russian Formalism Conference at Russian State University of the Humanities and Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, August 2013
  • The Early Soviet Critique of Indo-European Philology and the Bakhtin Circle, invited plenary address to Bakhtin in India: Exploring the Dialogic Potential in Self, Culture and History Conference, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, India August 2013.
  • ‘The Living Word, Isegoria and the Politics of Deliberation in Revolutionary Russia’, Keynote address to 1ª Jornada Nacional História das Ideias: diálogos entre linguagem, cultura e história, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, August 2012.
  • ‘Agitation, Propaganda and the Theory of Language in Early Soviet Russia’, The Second International Conference on Multicultural Discourses, Institute of Discourse and Cultural Studies, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China April 2007.
  • Problems of Science and Ideology in the History of Early Soviet Sociolinguistics’, Research seminar, Dept. of Ethnography, European University St. Petersburg, Russia, April 2006.
  • ‘Filosofskie istochniki idei V.N. Voloshinova’ [The Philosophical sources of the ideas of V.N. Voloshinov], Research Seminar, Department of General Linguistics, St. Petersburg State University, April 2006.

Research students currently supervised

  • Julia Allison
  • Elena Platonova


  • MDL103 Introduction to European Cinema
  • MDL6001 Research Methods for Modern Languages
  • MDL6002 Dissertation Support
  • RUS117 The Soviet Union 1917-1991
  • RUS120 Introduction to Russian Culture
  • RUS312 Politics and Culture in the USSR 1917-38
  • MDL6700 Critical Theory I
  • MDL6710 Critical Theory II