Faculty Profile

Karl Qualls

Professor of History; W. Gibbs McKenney Chair in International Education (2000)

Contact Information


Denny Hall Room 201


Karl's teaching interests include Russian and German history, the Holocaust, comparative revolutions (political, social, and cultural), dictators, urban history, refugees, childhood, and more. His new book "Stalin’s Niños: Educating Spanish Civil War Refugee Children in the Soviet Union, 1937-51" (Toronto, 2020) examines refugee children of the Spanish Civil War who were raised in the Soviet Union and the special boarding schools designed for them and the educational methods used to develop the children into Hispano-Soviets. His previous book "From Ruins to Reconstruction: Urban Identity in Soviet Sevastopol after World War II" (Cornell, 2009) challenges notions of totalitarianism, investigates the creation of historical myths, and outlines the role of monuments and urban space and identity formation in a city torn between Ukraine and Russia. These and other publication have been supported by grants from the J. Paul Getty Foundation, Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Library of Congress, American Council of Learned Societies, National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, and the International Research and Exchange Board, among others. You can find a review of Stalin's Niños at https://academic.oup.com/ahr/article/127/3/1466/6850944


  • B.A., University of Missouri at Columbia, 1993
  • Ph.D., Georgetown University, 1998


  • Ganoe Award for Inspirational Teaching, 2003-04

2024-2025 Academic Year

Fall 2024

GRMN 250 Europe's Dictators
Cross-listed with HIST 375-01. Contrary to the hope of contemporaries, World War I was not "the war to end all wars." Instead, at its end Europe emerged into a world of unprecedented turmoil and confusion, a time that was nonetheless permeated with hope, idealism, and possibility. This course explores European politics, society, gender, and culture between 1918 and 1945, focusing on the extreme developments in Germany, Russia, Spain, and Italy during this time. We will examine the emergence, development, form, and consequences of the rule of Hitler, Stalin, Franco and Mussolini and explore the relationship of these dictators to the states that sustained them.

HIST 253 Autocracy/Uprisings/Daily Life
Cross-listed with RUSS 253-01.

RUSS 253 Autocracy/Uprisings/Daily Life
Cross-listed with HIST 253-01.

HIST 375 Europe's Dictators
Cross-listed with GRMN 250-01.