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Faculty Profile

Karl Qualls

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

Contact Information

on sabbatical Spring 2024

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


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


  • Ganoe Award for Inspirational Teaching, 2003-04

2023-2024 Academic Year

Fall 2023

HIST 107 Revolutns Pol/Art/Econ/Soc/Sci
Europe in the last few centuries has experienced developments that have transformed the entire globe, for better and worse. Political, technological, economic, and ideological innovations have led to imperialism, two world wars, and the Cold War that stretched far beyond Europe. European innovations like the Industrial Revolution created new work methods and goods that made lives easier while at the same time creating classes and class divides, booms and busts, cruel child labor, and of course the fossil fuel pollution that has led to climate change. New classes led to new political philosophies (e.g. liberalism, socialism, anarchism, fascism, feminism, etc.) that found resonance around the globe. Museums and concert halls around the world feature Picasso and Stravinsky, Van Gogh and Chopin, Banksy and Black Sabbath. Evolution, psychoanalysis, and quantum physics have spread far beyond the continent, but so too has “scientific” racism and eugenics and the modern genocides that they have catalyzed. This course will study European innovations that have had profound effects far beyond the continent’s borders.

HIST 204 Intro Historical Methodology
Local archives and libraries serve as laboratories for this project-oriented seminar that introduces beginning majors to the nature of history as a discipline, historical research techniques, varied forms of historical evidence and the ways in which historians interpret them, and the conventions of historical writing. Prerequisite: one previous course in history.

HIST 254 Revolut/War/Daily Life Mod Rus
Cross-listed with RUSS 254-01.

RUSS 254 Revolut/War/Daily Life Mod Rus
Cross-listed with HIST 254-01.Course taught in English.