Join us on Oct. 7 or Dec. 16, for our Fall Open Houses. Click here to register now.
Ian Lanzillotti
Ian Lanzillotti

Assistant Professor of History

History & Political Science

Morlan Hall, Room 202


Dr. Ian Lanzillotti is Assistant Professor of History at Bethany College. He specializes in Russian and Soviet history with a particular focus on the Caucasus region. His teaching interests include European, Islamic, and Central Asian history and comparative empire.

Dr. Lanzillotti grew up in Queens, New York, and Tampa, Florida. Over the course of his research and studies, Dr. Lanzillotti has traveled extensively throughout Russia and the former Soviet states.

As a teenager, Dr. Lanzillotti developed an interest in the history of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe through a confluence of factors: listening to the stories of his grandfather’s Russian live-in aide, following news reports on post-Soviet and post-Yugoslav conflicts, reading George Orwell novels, and listening to politically engaged folk music and punk rock.


Ph.D., The Ohio State University in Columbus (2014)

M.A., Indiana University in Bloomington (2008)

B.A., University of South Florida in Tampa (2005)

Areas of Passion & Research
Dr. Lanzillotti is a specialist on tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union as multi-ethnic and multi-confessional empires. His broad thematic interests revolve around the study of nationalism, ethnicity, empire, borderlands, and intercommunal conflict. Dr. Lanzillotti is particularly interested in the ways in which ethnically and religiously diverse states — from empires to modern nation-states — have managed their populations and the problems that they have encountered and/or created in doing so.

Dr. Lanzillotti also strives to advance of the study of the Caucasus, a region of breathtaking snow-capped mountains, lush alpine meadows, and dozens of unique linguistic and cultural communities nestled within rocky valleys and gorges. A cultural and religious bridge between Europe and Asia, the Caucasus has long been of great importance for both global security and world trade. Problems of ethno-nationalism, religious extremism, terrorism, and energy security have recently increased the region’s strategic importance. The North Caucasus in southern Russia, which includes Chechnya and Dagestan, has become one of Eurasia’s most troubled hotspots. The Caucasus has received only sporadic attention in the aftermath of terrorist attacks and wars. Our understanding of the region suffers from a lack of deep scholarly engagement. Dr. Lanzillotti is part of small but growing group of Western scholars that has ventured to the local archives and mountain villages of the North Caucasus to understand the dynamics of everyday life and the effects of Russian policies in this multi-ethnic region.

Personal Interests
Music, basketball, hiking, and traveling.

Favorite Quote, Book, or Movie … why?
This is toss up between George Orwell’s “1984” and Boris Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago” because when he read them as a teenager, they, each in very different ways, sparked his passion for understanding the lived experience of the Russian Revolution, Stalinism, and Soviet communism more generally.

Fun Facts

  • While conducting archival research in the North Caucasus, Dr. Lanzillotti studied Kabardian, a variant of the Circassian or Cherkess language, which is part of the Northwest Caucasian language family.
  • Has been a Knicks fan since his childhood days in Queens, New York
  • Has been collecting vinyl records since the age of 13
  • Plays drums, guitar, and a little accordion
  • Played drums in punk rock bands in high school

Volunteer Work

Second Harvest Foodbank (Youngstown, Ohio)

Recent Publications

  • “Frieden dank erfolgreicher Reintegration: Kabardino-Balkarien,” Religion und Gesellschaft in Ost und West, No. 6 (2019), pp. 13-15
  • “Toward an Explanation of Intercommunal Peace in Kabardino-Balkaria: Post-War Nationalities Policy and Late Soviet Society in the North Caucasus,” Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 70, No. 6 (2018), pp. 942-965.
  • “Historiography and the Politics of Land, Identity, and Belonging in the Twentieth-Century North Caucasus,” Nationalities Papers, Vol. 44, No. 4 (2016), pp. 503-521.
  • “The Sleeping Beauty of the Caucasus”: Kavkazskii Uzel and Contemporary Views on Politics and Security in Kabardino-Balkaria,” Journal of Caucasian Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2 (2016), pp. 143-176.
  • “From Princely Fiefdoms to Soviet Nations: Interethnic Border Conflicts in the North Caucasus and the Village of Lesken,” Central Asian Survey, Central Asian Survey, Vol. 31, No. 2 (2012), pp. 209-227.