Charlotte Alston


Research interests

Charlotte’s research focuses on Russia’s relations, both cultural and diplomatic, with the West. She is the author of books and articles on Russia's revolutions and civil war, the post-First World War peace settlements, and the international influence of Tolstoy's thought.

Her first book, published in 2007, was a biography of the New Zealand journalist, publicist and linguist Harold Williams, who witnessed and reported on the Russian revolutions of 1917. The book explores the worlds of Anglo-Russian relations, wartime cultural diplomacy, early 20th century international news reporting, and lobbying for intervention in Russia’s civil war.  Charlotte continues to publish on the Anglo-Russian alliance in wartime, and on international intervention in Russia’s civil war, with recent articles in War in History (2017) and in the multi-volume project Russia's Great War and Revolution.

Charlotte’s second monograph was a study of the international Tolstoyan movement. The research for this book project was supported by grants from the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Royal Irish Academy and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The resulting monograph Tolstoy and His Disciples: the History of a Radical International Movement (I B Tauris, 2014) examines the operation of international Tolstoyan networks and campaigns, as well as the ways in which Tolstoy’s ideas were developed in different national contexts.

With Daniel Laqua, Charlotte has edited two special issues of journals (Journal of Modern European History, and European History Review) focusing on transnational solidarities and humanitarianism. With philosophers Amber Carpenter (Singapore) and Rachael Wiseman (Liverpool), Charlotte led the British Academy-funded project ‘Portraits of Integrity’. Through a reading group and an international conference, this project focused on historical and fictional characters whose lives tell us something about the challenges of living with integrity. A volume of essays resulting from the project will be published by Bloomsbury in the spring of 2020.

A further strand of Charlotte’s research focuses on the history of Russia’s border states in war and revolution. She has published both articles and a book (Antonius Piip, Zigfrids Meierovics and Augustinas Voldemaras: the Baltic States, in the Haus series 'Makers of the Modern World: The Peace Conferences of 1919-23 and their aftermath) on the representation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at the post-First World War peace conference in Paris, and in 2018 she took part in an international summer school to mark the centenary of the independence of Georgia.

Charlotte is currently working on a book project that explores the relationship between Russian émigrés, revolutionaries and dissidents and western publics, from the late tsarist era to the present. She is a member of the editorial board of the Royal Historical Society’s New Perspectives book series, and is the Secretary of History UK, the national body promoting history in higher education. She is a member of the British Society for Slavonic and East European Studies; the Study Group on the Russian Revolution; and the Anglo-Russian Reading Group.

Organisational affiliations

Education/Academic qualification

  • Certificate, Other Courses

    12 Jan 2016 - 31 Dec 2099
  • PGCHE, Education

    13 Aug 2009 - 31 Dec 2099
  • PhD, History

    30 Jun 2004 - 31 Dec 2099

Professional Qualifications

  • Senior Fellow (SFHEA), Higher Education Academy (HEA)

    3 Nov 2014 -
  • Fellow, Royal Historical Society

    1 Feb 2009 -