Mirjam Voerkelius

PhD Candidate

Late Modern Europe

Research Interests

I'm a historian of Late Modern Europe with my research focusing on Soviet and environmental history. My dissertation, Evolution in Times of Revolution, examines the conflicted history of Darwinism in the Soviet Union. At the heart of my research is the Moscow Darwin Museum. Founded before the October Revolution, this institution survived over 70 years of Soviet rule. In addition to popularizing Darwinism, the museum housed researchers who worked on comparative psychology, cryptozoology, and extinction. What unites these seemingly disparate projects and research is the central problem of defining humankind's place in nature. What was the relationship between the laws of human and natural history? How do humans influence evolution? Are we truly just an animal among other animals? In sum, the Darwin Museum with its long history functioned as a key site for research, for shaping future generations of biologists and nature protectionists, and for negotiating the close but conflicted relationship between evolutionary theory with Bolshevik revolutionary ideology.


German, Russian, French (reading knowledge)

Fellowships & Awards

Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Predoctoral Fellow

Doris G. Quinn Foundation Fellowship

DAAD/German Academic Exchange Dissertation Research Grant

Michael I. Gurevich Prize in Russian History, UC Berkeley

Regents Fellow, UC Berkeley

DAAD/German Academic Exchange Study Abroad Fellowship

LMU-UC Berkeley Research in the Humanities Fellowship