Education: B.A. Russian and History, Cornell College; M.A History, University of Nebraska at Omaha; Ph.D. History, University of Illinois at Chicago
Ben Whisenhunt is a Professor of History at the College of DuPage in Illinois.
When did you first develop an interest in Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies?
Like many people my age, it was the events of the 1980s. I was in high school and college for much of that time and things were changing rapidly. I had taken German and Spanish in high school, but I did not care for either. Once in college, I took Russian and I guess I was hooked. I had a special affection at that time for two Russian/Soviet writers, Ivan Turgenev and Mikhail Bulgakov.
How have your interests changed since then?
My initial interests in Russian history were in law and education. For more than a decade now, I have been working on Russian-American relations. I have published several books over the past few years including four introduced and edited travel narratives by Pavel Svin’in, Marguerite Harrison, Albert Rhys Williams, and John Reed. The last two are part of a republication series that I am series co-editor, with Norman E. Saul, called Americans in Revolutionary Russia (Slavica Publishers). I have also co-edited, with Norman E. Saul, a collection of essays on Russian-American Relations called New Perspectives on Russian-American Relations (Routledge).
What is your current research and/or other educational project?
I am managing co-editor, with Norman E. Saul, of a new ejournal on Russian-American relations called Journal of Russian American Studies – https://journals.ku.edu/jras. I am working with Steven A. Usitalo on a reference book project on Peter the Great for Scarecrow Press. I am working on a biography of Albert Rhys Williams. Lastly, I am planning my fifth student trip to Russia for May 2020.
What do you value about your ASEEES membership?
As a person who teaches at a community college, I value it quite a lot. I faithfully use the ASEEES resources (including the National Convention) because there are few on my campus who have an interest in this field. In many ways, it is my lifeline into the field.
Besides your professional work, what other interests and/or hobbies do you enjoy?
I enjoy traveling, hiking, biking, and photography.