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Dr Ruth Coates

Dr Ruth Coates

Dr Ruth Coates
B.A.(Bristol), D.Phil(Oxon.)

Senior Lecturer

Office 1.51, 17 Woodland Road
17 Woodland Road,
Clifton, Bristol BS8 1TE
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 928 8190


Ruth Coates specialises in nineteenth and early twentieth-century Russian intellectual history. Her research interests are in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Russian religious thought, Russian Orthodox theology and culture and its influence on secular Russian thought, and the work of the twentieth-century philosopher and literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin. 

She is the author of Christianity in Bakhtin: God and the Exiled Author (CUP, 1998) and co-editor of The Emancipation of Russian Christianity (Edwin Mellen, 1995) and Landmarks Revisited: The Vekhi Symposium 100 Years On (Academic Studies Press, 2013).

Her most recent book, Deification in Russian Religious Thought: Between the Revolutions, 1905-1917 (OUP, 2019) is a study of the reception of the Greek patristic doctrine of deification in late imperial Russian religious thought, with a focus on works by D. Merezhkovskii, N. Berdiaev, S. Bulgakov, and P. Florensky.

Ruth Coates has acted as primary supervisor of theses on deification in the work of Vladimir Solov'ev, the early reception of St Seraphim of Sarov, female characters in early Dostoevsky, and the reception of Dostoevsky in the 1890s.

She welcomes enquiries about potential supervision of postgraduate research projects in the following fields:

  • Russian religious thought
  • Russian philosophy and the history of ideas
  • Russian Orthodox culture and its reception in literature and thought
  • Dostoevsky
  • Bakhtin


(BA 1986, DPhil 1994) graduated in Modern Languages (German and Russian) from the University of Bristol in 1986, and obtained a DPhil from the University of Oxford in 1994. She held a Laming Junior Fellowship at Queen’s College, Oxford (1992-94), during which time she was resident in Russia. She then held temporary lectureships at the University of Manchester (1995-97) and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London (1997-99). She joined the Russian department at Bristol in 1999 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2007.


Undergraduate teaching:

Year 1: Understanding Russia: Critical Approaches; Introduction to Russian Literature

Year 2: Russian Orthodox Culture; The Struggle for Russia: 19th-Century Debates on Self and Society; Hedgehogs and Foxes: The Nineteenth-Century Russian Novel

Year 4: Dostoevsky; Anticipating the End: Russian Thought in the Shadow of Revolution, 1890-1917

Postgraduate teaching:

The Rise of the Novel in 19th-Century Europe

Theories of Visual Culture: Text and Image


Contributions to to the Russian-language teaching programme at all levels.




  • 19th-century Russian literature and thought
  • the thought and culture of late imperial Russia
  • Russian Orthodox culture
  • Orthodox theology
  • Dostoevsky
  • Bakhtin

Selected publications

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Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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