Barbara Allen, Associate Professor of History
B.A. University of North Carolina
M.A., Ph.D., Indiana University
Dr. Allen’s specialty is the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. Her research deals with the challenges posed by Soviet Communists of working-class origin to Stalin’s dictatorship. “Stalin's legacy is still a matter of contention in post-Soviet Russia, as the Putin and Medvedev regimes attempt to restore Russian greatness based on an interpretation of history that acclaims the Stalin-led Soviet victory in World War II over Nazi Germany and downplays Stalin's crimes against the Soviet people. The Russian Revolutions of 1917 still inspire advocates of social change and liberation in the 21st century.”
Dr. Allen also teaches a graduate course on oral history, in which students conduct interviews with La Salle alumni, faculty, staff, administrators, and neighbors; or with U.S. war veterans. Veteran interviews are deposited in the Library of Congress. Interviews of La Sallians are preserved in La Salle’s Digital Commons.
Her publications include the book, Alexander Shlyapnikov, 1885-1937: Life of an Old Bolshevik, which was published in January 2015 in a cloth edition by Brill in The Netherlands. The paperback edition has a publication date of January 12, 2016, by Haymarket Books in Chicago. This biography recounts the political formation and positions of Russian Communist and trade unionist, Alexander Shlyapnikov. As leader of the Workers’ Opposition (1919–21), Shlyapnikov called for trade unions to realise workers’ mastery over the economy. Despite defeat, he continued to advocate distinct views on the Soviet socialist project that provide a counterpoint to Stalin’s vision. Arrested during the Great Terror, he refused to confess to charges he thought illogical and unsupported by evidence. Unlike the standard historical and literary depiction of the Old Bolshevik, Shlyapnikov contested Stalin's and the NKVD's construct of the ideal party member. Allen conducted extensive research in archives of the Soviet Communist party and secret police.
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