Hoover Institution Workshop on Authoritarian Regimes

Friday, March 11, 2016 to Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Hoover Institution Library & Archives
Poster Collection, RU/SU 2156, Hoover Institution Archives.
Nestor Apollonovich Lakoba Papers, Box 4, Hoover Institution Archives.
Nestor Apollonovich Lakoba Papers, Box 4, Hoover Institution Archives.
William Russell Philp Collection, Box 1, Folder 5a, Hoover Institution Archives.
William Russell Philp Collection, Box 1, Folder 5a, Hoover Institution Archives.

Hoover's Workshop on Authoritarian Regimes studies the history and development of totalitarian states in order to understand why they came into being, how they work, and the sources of their durability. By bringing scholars together who study different regimes, the workshop promotes the comparative study of modes of personal dictatorship, of institutions of coercion and repression, and of the economic and social consequences of totalitarian rule. The workshop's principal resources are the unique and fast-growing holdings of the Hoover Archives. Founded by Herbert Hoover, Hoover Institution Archives holds one of the world's largest and richest private collections of material on totalitarian regimes in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.


According to Freedom House, nearly half of the countries of the world are "unfree": that is, they are governed by totalitarian regimes of greater or lesser brutality. Today these regimes and their successors (including Putin's Russia, the countries of the Arab Spring, the Iranian theocracy, and communist rule in China) present major puzzles for Western policy.

Organized by Hoover research fellow Paul R. Gregory, the workshop began over a decade ago to study the Soviet Union, and has now expanded to include China, Taiwan, Iraq, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Baltic States; its intention is to encompass other totalitarian regimes, such as Vietnam and Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. Workshop participants have worked productively in a number of Hoover collections including the records of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, records of the Lithuanian section of the Soviet KGB , the Radio Free Europe–Radio Liberty collection, the Chiang Kai-Shek diaries, the records of the Chinese KMT Party, the archive of the Chief Administration of Labor Camps (GULAG) of the Soviet Union, and the Ba'ath Party papers from the Iraq Memory Foundation Collection.

Participants of the Hoover Institution Workshop on Authoritarian Regimes include graduate and faculty-level researchers who carry out their scholarship year-round. The Hoover Institution and Stanford University are home to some of the world's top experts on totalitarian regimes. The workshop brings them together with prominent scholars from around the world for two weeks every summer to study using Hoover's unique archival holdings, present their work at daily lunchtime seminars, and exchange ideas informally over dinner.

Since its first meeting in 2003, the workshop has brought together more than a hundred scholars from a dozen countries, working on Russia/Soviet Union, China, and other totalitarian regimes. The workshop's output consists of many articles and books written by its participants, including scholarly monographs published or forthcoming in the Yale-Hoover series on Stalin, Stalinism, and the Cold War, books at the Hoover Press and other publishers, and articles in scholarly journals, including Policy Review, and the Hoover Digest.

During each session the workshop typically holds two public lectures. Past speakers, to full auditoriums, have included Anne Applebaum (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag: A History), Stephen Kotkin (Princeton), Robert Service (Oxford), Amir Weiner (Stanford), and Paul Gregory (workshop organizer).

Applicants are encouraged to read about previous workshops (see right sidebar) to learn more about the research topics and approaches that are suited to the workshop.

Application Requirements

All applicants are required to submit their applications online with the following:

  • Contact information
  • One-page CV
  • A proposal of fewer than 750 words describing your research project, including the names of Hoover collections you plan to use and why they are necessary for your project
  • Names and contact information for two academic referees familiar with your research (no formal letter required)
  • Applications and recommendations must be submitted online in English

Application deadline: April 21, 2016

Applicants will receive notifications by May 30, 2016

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