Faculty Biography

Valerie Sperling

Valerie Sperling, Ph.D.

Department of Political Science
Clark University
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

Phone: 508-793-7679
Email: vsperling@clarku.edu

Curriculum Vitae


B.A., Yale University, 1987
M.A., Georgetown University, 1991
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1997

Current Research and Teaching

Sex, Politics, and Putin

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.

Learn more:

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 by right clicking the link and choosing "Save Link As...".



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.