Shane O'Rourke
Senior Lecturer in Modern History



BA (East Anglia), DPhil (Oxon)


Dr. Shane O’Rourke is a Senior Lecturer and Chair of the Board of Studies in History.

Shane O’Rourke began his career as a historian of Imperial and Soviet Russia, looking at the history of the Cossacks in particular. He has produced two books on the Cossacks and numerous articles, covering the Cossacks from Muscovite times into the post-Soviet period.

Over the past four years he has began to develop an interest in the history of Brazil and is now engaged on a major research project comparing the emancipation of the serfs in Russia in 1861 and the slaves in Brazil in 1888. Brazil is also figuring increasingly in his teaching and Shane now offers courses on Brazilian as well as Russian history.



Shane’s research interests have changed sharply over the past four years. From being a social historian of Russia, he has now broadened his interests to become a historian of Brazil.

His work at the moment is writing a comparison of the emancipation of servile labour in both countries in the second half of the nineteenth century. This will be the first work to compare explicitly Brazil and Russia.  As part of this project, he is working on two royal women, Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna and Princess Isabel of Brazil, and their role in the emancipation of servile labour. An article on Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna will be published in Autumn 2011 in The Russian Review.


Selected publications

Authored books

  • The Cossacks. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007.
  • Warriors and Peasants: The Don Cossacks in Late Imperial Russia. Macmillan, 1999/2000.

Articles (selected)

  • 'The Mother Benefactor and the Sacred Battalion: Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna, the Editing Commission, and the Emancipation of the Serfs'. The Russian Review 70 (October 2011): 584-687.
  • 'Trial Run: The Deportation of the Terek Cossacks'. In Removing Peoples, edited by Claudia Haake and Richard Bessel, 254-79. Oxford, 2009.
  • 'Как Отрабатывался Механизм Репрессий: Высылка Терских Казаков в 1920'. Отечественная История 5 (2008): 83-95.
  • 'From Region to Nation: The Don Cossacks, 1870-1920'. In Russian Empire: Space, People, Power, 1700-1930, edited by J. Burbank, M. von Hagen and A. Remnev. Indiana University Press, 2007.
  • 'Orthodoxy'. In A Companion to Nineteenth Century Europe, 1789-1914, edited by S. Berger. Blackwells, 2006.
  • 'The Cossaks'. In The Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, edited by D. Shelton. Macmillan, 2004.
  • 'The Don Cossacks During the 1905 Revolution: The Revolt of Ust-Medveditskaia Stanitsa'. Russian Review, 57, no. 4 (1998).
  • 'The Cossacks'. In A Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution, edited by E. Acton. Edward Arnold, 1997.
  • 'Women in a Warrior Society: Don Cossack Women 1860-1914'. In Women in Russia and Ukraine, edited by R. Marsh. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Contact details

Dr Shane P. O'Rourke
Vanbrugh College V/219
Department of History
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: Internal 2971, External (01904) 322971