Barbara Walker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Barbara Walker


Barbara Walker has published on a broad range of historical topics in the area of Russian and Soviet intellectual life and its economic foundations, social organization and culture. More recently, she has branched out to explore the nature of expertise, specifically “information expertise,” in her current book project, A War of Experts: Soviet and American knowledge networks in Cold War competition and collaboration. Her book will present the intertwined stories of a variety of lively and committed “information experts” in the Cold War United States and Soviet Union, including early electronic computer designers, U.S.-Soviet research exchange scholars, journalists and Soviet dissidents. Information professionals in the area of intelligence make their appearance too. The book focuses on the efforts of these ambitious, often passionate “experts” to multiply their numbers and to expand the influence of their expertise in this period. To accomplish these goals, they built on networks and traditions reaching back into the 19th century, in which lay the origins of the professionalization of expertise in many areas.

Walker’s research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Thomas Watson Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the International Research Exchange (IREX), American Councils, the Hoover Institution at Stanford, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the University of Nevada, Reno, Core Humanities Program and others.

Watch Barbara's recent interview on Face the State.

Research Interests

  • Russian and Soviet history
  • Cold War history
  • History of networks and networking
  • History of technology

Courses Taught

  • Core Humanities 202: The Modern World
  • Core Humanities 212: Science, Technology and Society in the Modern Era: Electricity and the Human Connection
  • Hist. 296: Nomads to Nations in Inner Eurasia
  • Hist. 300: Historical Research and Writing
  • Hist. 300A: Digitizing History
  • History 469/669, Topics in Russian and Soviet History (including such special topics as "Sputnik, Spies, and Soviet Science," "Technology, Propaganda and Culture in Russian History," "The World of Joseph Stalin," and "Literature and Society in Russian History")
  • Hist. 712: Seminar in Modern European History
  • Hist. 780: Seminar in Historical Methodology (Research Design)
  • Undergraduate and graduate independent study courses as called for


  • Ph.D., Russian and Soviet History, University of Michigan, 1994
  • M.A., Interdisciplinary Russian and East European Studies, Yale University, 1986
  • B.A., English Literature, Bowdoin College, 1981