Robert Eugene Johnson Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Robert Eugene Johnson

Professor of History, Emeritus: Senior Southam Journalism Fellow, Massey College
University of Toronto

In a career focused mainly on Russian history, Robert Johnson has given particular attention to questions of urban society and urban development. He has studied and taught about urbanization and industrialization in cross-national perspective, with particular attention to the social dimensions of urban change. He collaborated with Laura Johnson on The Seam Allowance (1983), a study of industrial homework. Their collaboration continues with Regent Park Redux.


Robert Johnson is a graduate of Antioch College (BA, 1965) and Cornell University (PhD, 1974). Since 1971 he has been a faculty member at the University of Toronto, with teaching responsibilities mainly in Russian and European History. Areas of expertise include social history, urban history, and history of the Cold War. He served as Director of the University’s Centre for Russian and East European Studies (1989-2000) and headed the Stalin Era Research and Archives Project (1993-2000).  In 2012 he became Professor Emeritus of History. His research and publications have dealt mainly with social and economic issues in History—often in a cross-national framework. His first major study dealt with urbanization and industrialization in 19th century Moscow (Peasant and Proletarian, 1979). In The Seam Allowance (1983) he contributed a history of “sweated labour” and home-based work in Europe and North America from the 18th century to the 20th. He subsequently wrote about the demographic effects of Soviet industrialization, and more generally about Soviet population trends in the 1930s (based on data from the rediscovered censuses of 1937 and 1939). Urban markets in Russia were another of his research topics. In 2008 he co-chaired an international conference on Eurasian Cities; his own contribution was an exploration of the notion of cosmopolitanism in relation to Moscow’s history. Recent work includes a study of public spaces in Communist and post-Communist Russia.

In addition to academic publications he has been a commentator on Russian affairs in the news media. He has also produced several radio documentaries for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: “In the Stalin archives.” (2003), “The Cold War Declassified” (2006),  and “Revising History” (2013).


    BA Antioch College 1965; PhD Cornell University 1974

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    History; Urban Studies; Journalism


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