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LEWISBURG, Pa. — Douglas Smith will give the talk, "Love and Power at the Court of Catherine the Great," Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.
Smith is considered one of the leading experts in the country, if not the world, on late 18th-century Russia, the Enlightenment in Russia, and Catherine the Great.
He is the author of numerous articles and two award-winning books: Working the Rough Stone: Freemasonry and Society in Eighteenth-Century Russia, which won the William W. Reese II Memorial Book Award for 1999-2000; and Love & Conquest: Personal Correspondence of Catherine the Great and Prince Grigory Potemkin, winner of the 2004 Heldt Prize.
The New York Review of Books calls Love and Conquest "a wonderfully readable collection that is beautifully translated and shrewdly edited. It is hard to exaggerate how entertaining and poignant these letters are, while Smith's edition is also vitally important for understanding Catherine's regime and the creation of the Russian Empire."
An independent scholar based in Seattle, Wash., Smith received his Ph.D. from UCLA, and has taught at UCLA, Seattle University, and the University of Washington.
Prior to entering academia he worked as a research-analyst for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, based in Munich, Germany, and he served as a Temporary Foreign Service Officer in Tbilisi, Tashkent, and Irkutsk (USSR) during 1987-88.
A member of the American delegation on the U.S. State Department exhibition "Information USA" that toured the USSR in the late 1980s, he also served as a personal translator for former President Ronald Reagan in Los Angeles, when the former President met with Russian dignitaries.
Sponsored by the history and English departments, the comparative humanities and women's and gender studies programs, and the University Lectureship Committee, the talk is free to the public and will be followed by a book-signing. Copies of Love and Conquest will be available for purchase following Smith's talk.