B.A., Yale University, 1987
M.A., Georgetown University, 1991
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1997
Current Research and Teaching
Dr. Sperling teaches a variety of courses in comparative politics, including Russian politics; revolution and political violence; mass murder and genocide under communism; transitions to democracy; globalization and democracy; and introduction to women’s studies. Her research interests include globalization and accountability, social movements, gender politics, patriotism and militarism, and state-building in the post-communist region.
Sperling's most recent book, Sex, Politics, and Putin: Political Legitimacy in Russia (Oxford University Press) won the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) Davis Center Book Prize for the "outstanding monograph on Russia, Eurasia, or Eastern Europe in anthropology, political science, sociology or geography," as well as the Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) Heldt Prize for the "Best book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Women's Studies." Sex, Politics and Putin was also included in Top 10 books on Russia for 2014.
- Podcast New Books Network: Valerie Sperling gave an interview on her book 'Sex, Politics, and Putin'
Sperling was interviewed by host Amanda Jeanne Swain of University of California, Irvine.
- Press release
- Blog posts at Oxford University Press: Happy Birthday, Mr. Putin! Celebrating political masculinity in Russia and Pussy Riot's real crime was feminism
- Blog entry by Alexander J. Motly for World Affairs Journal
- Interviews with New Hampshire Public Radio and Sean Guillory's podcast of Sean's Russia Blog
- Blog post at Huffington Post: Why Putin - and Some of his Female Fans - Go Shirtless
- In November 2015, Sperling published an article on ForeignAffairs.com, A Case of Putin Envy: Behind the Obsession with Russia’s Leader, about Putin, masculinity, foreign policy and domestic political support.
Sperling was interviewed about her book, Altered States: The Globalization of Accountability (Cambridge University Press, 2009), on August 20, 2009. Listen to the interview at A Chautauqua (KOPN radio, Columbia Missouri) or download it.
Valerie Sperling, Sex, Politics, & Putin: Political Legitimacy in Russia (Oxford University Press, 2014).
Valerie Sperling, Altered States: The Globalization of Accountability (Cambridge University Press, 2009). Co-recipient of the International Studies Association’s Chadwick Alger Book Prize, 2010.
Valerie Sperling, Organizing Women in Contemporary Russia: Engendering Transition (Cambridge University Press, November 1999).
Valerie Sperling, ed., Building the Russian State: Institutional Crisis and the Quest for Democratic Governance (Westview Press, May 2000).
Selected Articles and Book Chapters
Valerie Sperling, "Nashi Devushki: Gender and Political Youth Activism in Putin's and Medvedev's Russia," Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 28, No. 2 (April-June 2012), pp. 232-261.
Valerie Sperling, “Making the Public Patriotic: Militarism and Anti-Militarism in Russia,” in Marlène Laruelle, ed., Russian Nationalism and the National Reassertion of Russia (Routledge, 2009), pp. 218-271.
Valerie Sperling, “Women’s Organizations: Institutionalized Interest Groups or Vulnerable Dissidents?” in Alfred Evans, Lisa McIntosh-Sundstrom, and Laura Henry, eds., Russian Civil Society: A Critical Assessment (M.E. Sharpe, 2006), pp. 161-177. This book received a Choice award in 2006.
Myra Marx Ferree, Valerie Sperling, and Barbara Risman, “Feminist Research and Activism: Challenges of Hierarchy in a Cross-national Context,” in David Croteau, William Hoynes, and Charlotte Ryan, eds., Rhyming Hope and History: Activists, Academics and Social Movement Scholarship (University of Minnesota Press, 2005), pp. 137-156.
Valerie Sperling, “The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel: Patriotism, Militarism, and the Russian National Idea,” Nations and Nationalism, Vol. 9, No. 2 (2003), pp. 235-253.
Valerie Sperling, Myra Marx Ferree, Barbara Risman, “Constructing Global Feminism: Transnational Advocacy Networks and Russian Women’s Activism,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 26, No. 4, (2001), pp. 1156-1186.
Myra Marx Ferree, Barbara Risman, Valerie Sperling, Tatiana Gurikova, Katherine Hyde, “The Russian Women’s Movement: Activists’ Strategies and Identities,” Women & Politics, Vol. 20, No. 3 (1999), pp. 83-109.