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Matthew Miller, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of World Languages
Professor of History
Instructor of Russian Language

Contact Information

Nazareth Hall 3138


Dr. Miller joined the University of Northwestern faculty in 2008 after teaching for several years in Moscow. As a specialist in the cultural history of late imperial and Soviet Russia, his research explores two primary themes: Russian-American and Orthodox-Protestant relations.

Lexington Books recently published his first book, The American YMCA and Russian Culture: The Preservation and Expansion of Orthodox Christianity, 1900-1940.

He teaches a wide range of courses in European and Russian history, offers a full year of Russian language instruction, and regularly leads student research trips to Moscow.

Matt and his wife Terri are active members of their congregation and volunteer in teaching ministries. Their twin daughters Claire and Amelia keep life full of energy and surprises.


  • Ph.D. University of Minnesota
  • M.A. Wheaton College
  • B.A. Miami University
  • Russian language program, Moscow State University

Specialty Areas

  • History of Russia
  • History of Modern Europe
  • History of Christianity

The parts of the discipline of history that most intrigue and fascinate me are...
Connections among people of different cultures and relationships among believers of different confessions.

One of the things I enjoy most in the classroom is...
Helping students understand complex issues from a variety of perspectives.

Currently, I am working on...
A research project on the recent expansion and development of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in the United States.

Some interesting things I have done in the past include...
In 1990 and 1991 I lived in Leningrad for ten months and experienced the last days of the Soviet Union. From 1997 to 2008 I worked along with my family in Moscow; we served with the Russian-American Christian University and the Evangelical Free Church. In 2003 I studied for a month in Greece and Cyprus and visited a number of sites connected with classical, biblical, and modern history.

Books which have shaped who I am as a historian:

  • Theofanis George Stavrou and Robert L. Nichols, eds., Russian Orthodoxy under the Old Regime
  • Marc Raeff, Russia Abroad: A Cultural History of the Russian Emigration, 1919–1939
  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
  • Norman E. Saul, Friends or Foes? The United States and Soviet Russia, 1921-1941
  • Bertrand M. Patenaude, The Big Show in Bololand: The American Relief Expedition to Soviet Russia in the Famine of 1921
  • Mark A. Noll, Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind
  • George M. Marsden, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship

Advice I would give to college students:

  • Read widely.
  • Travel off the beaten path.
  • Develop friendships with people whose opinions and backgrounds stretch you!

Courses Taught

  • History of Russia
  • History of Renaissance and Reformation Europe
  • History of 18th and 19th-Century Europe
  • History of 20th-Century Europe
  • History of Western Civilization
  • Introduction to Historical Studies
  • Russian Language and Culture
  • Beginning Russian Language I and II
  • Introduction to Political Science
  • US National Government
  • World Geography


  • Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
  • Association for the Study of Eastern Christian History and Culture




Russian Language Articles


  • D. Oliver Herbel, Turning to Tradition: Converts and the Making of an American Orthodox Church (2014), Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 30/31 (2014/2015): 517-521.
  • Johannes Miroslav Oravecz, God as Love: The Concept and Spiritual Aspects of Agape in Modern Russian Religious Thought (2014), Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 30/31 (2014/2015): 521-525.
  • Dmitry Uzlaner, ed., State, Religion and Church (volume 1, numbers 1 and 2, 2014), Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 30/31 (2014/2015): 536-538.
  • Christopher Birchall, Embassy, Emigrants, and Englishmen: The Three Hundred Year History of a Russian Orthodox Church in London (2014), Russian Review 74:3 (July 2015): 513-514.
  • Michael Hughes, Beyond Holy Russia: The Life and Times of Stephen Graham (2014), Russian Review 74:2 (April 2015): 333-334.
  • James Cracraft, Two Shining Souls: Jane Addams, Leo Tolstoy, and the Quest for Global Peace (2012), in Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 28/29 (2012/2013): 379-382.
  • Ilya Vinkovetsky, Russian America: An Overseas Colony of a Continental Empire, 1804–1867 (2011) in Russian Review 71:1 (January 2012): 155–156.
  • Barbara Skinner, The Western Front of the Eastern Church: Uniate and Orthodox Conflict in 18th-century Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia (2009), in Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 26/27 (2010/2011): 365-368.
  • Bryn Geffert, Eastern Orthodox and Anglicans: Diplomacy, Theology, and the Politics of Interwar Ecumenism (2010), in Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 26/27 (2010/2011): 382-385.
  • Andrey P. Puzynin, The Tradition of the Gospel Christians: A Study of Their Identity and Theology during the Russian, Soviet, and Post-Soviet Periods (2010), East-West Church and Ministry Report 19:3 (Summer 2011): 15–16.
  • Zoe Knox, Russian Society and the Orthodox Church: Religion in Russia after Communism (2005), East-West Church and Ministry Report 15:2 (Spring 2007): 15.
  • Walter W. Sawatsky and Peter F. Penner, eds., Mission in the Former Soviet Union (2005), East-West Church and Ministry Report 14:2 (Spring 2006): 12”“13.
  • "New Light on a Pivotal Orthodox Theologian," East-West Church and Ministry Report, 14:1 (Winter 2006): 15–16.
  • Donald Fairbairn, Eastern Orthodoxy through Western Eyes (2002) and Nikolas K. Gvosdev, Emperors and Elections: Reconciling the Orthodox Tradition with Modern Politics (2000), in Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 18/19 (2002/2003): 395–398.

Recent Presentations

  • "Serving Soldiers: The American YMCA and Russia during the First World War," The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 11, 2016.
  • “American Orthodox Philanthropy: Global and Local Ventures since 1989,” Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, national convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 19, 2015.
  • “Eastern Christianity in Minnesota since 1989,” Association for the Study of Eastern Christian History and Culture, conference, Memphis, Tennessee, September 19, 2015.
  • “Eastern Christianity in Minnesota since 1989,” American Society of Church History, spring meeting, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 17, 2015.
  • “The Romanov Legacy of Philanthropy,” The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 20, 2014.


  • Excellence in Scholarship Award, University of Northwestern, 2016.
  • Travel Grant, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute, "America's Russian-Speaking Immigrants & Refugees: 20th Century Migration and Memory," 2013.
  • Travel Grant, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Russia Abroad Library, Moscow, Russia, for conference on "The YMCA Press in the History of Russian Publishing Abroad," 2012.
  • Travel Grant, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute, "America Engages Russia, 1880–1930: Studies in Cultural Interaction," 2009.
  • Thomas S. Noonan Award in Russian History, University of Minnesota, 2004.
  • Basil Laourdas Fellowship, University of Minnesota, 2002–2003.

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