Chester Dunning
Chester S.L. Dunning is an American professor of Russian and European history at Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University is a coeducational public research university located in College Station, Texas . It is the flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System. The sixth-largest university in the United States, A&M's enrollment for Fall 2011 was over 50,000 for the first time in school...

 in College Station
College Station, Texas
College Station is a city in Brazos County, Texas, situated in East Central Texas in the heart of the Brazos Valley. The city is located within the most populated region of Texas, near three of the 10 largest cities in the United States - Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio...

, Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...



Dunning is a fifth generation Californian who was born in Scotia, California. His father was Harold L. Dunning (1919-1998), an electrician, and his mother is Helen L. Mills (born in 1926), a retired librarian. Dunning attended elementary school in Fortuna, California, and Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa, California. In 1971, Dunning received his Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 degree with highest honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz
University of California, Santa Cruz
The University of California, Santa Cruz, also known as UC Santa Cruz or UCSC, is a public, collegiate university; one of ten campuses in the University of California...

. He received both his Master of Arts
Master of Arts (postgraduate)
A Master of Arts from the Latin Magister Artium, is a type of Master's degree awarded by universities in many countries. The M.A. is usually contrasted with the M.S. or M.Sc. degrees...

 and Ph.D.
A Ph.D. is a Doctor of Philosophy, an academic degree.Ph.D. may also refer to:* Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*Piled Higher and Deeper, a web comic strip*PhD: Phantasy Degree, a Korean comic series* PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 with distinction in 1972 and 1976, respectively, from Boston College
Boston College
Boston College is a private Jesuit research university located in the village of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA. The main campus is bisected by the border between the cities of Boston and Newton. It has 9,200 full-time undergraduates and 4,000 graduate students. Its name reflects its early...

 in Boston, Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, with the major field in Russian history. He was from 1975-1976 a lecturer at Boston College and from 1977-1979 an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke
University of North Carolina at Pembroke
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke , also known as UNC Pembroke, is a public, co-educational, historically American Indian liberal arts university in the town of Pembroke in Robeson County, North Carolina....

 in Pembroke
Pembroke, North Carolina
Pembroke is a town in Robeson County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 2,399, at the 2000 census, 89% of which is Native American...

, North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

. In 1979, he joined the TAMU faculty.

Among Dunning's books is Russia's First Civil War: The Time of Troubles and the Founding of the Romanov Dynasty, twelve years in the research and writing, nearly seven hundred pages long, a History Book Club selection in 2001, published by the Pennsylvania State University Press. Dunning explains further in the preface that though there were earlier civil wars, mostly of a local nature among princes in Russia, modern Russia begins in 1613 with the founding of the Romanov
The House of Romanov was the second and last imperial dynasty to rule over Russia, reigning from 1613 until the February Revolution abolished the crown in 1917...

 dynasty. Preceding that dynasty was the 15-year Time of Troubles
Time of Troubles
The Time of Troubles was a period of Russian history comprising the years of interregnum between the death of the last Russian Tsar of the Rurik Dynasty, Feodor Ivanovich, in 1598, and the establishment of the Romanov Dynasty in 1613. In 1601-1603, Russia suffered a famine that killed one-third...

, a reference to the severe unrest that nearly destroyed Russia after Boris Gudunov and before the appearance of the czar Michael Romanov. This lengthy work is condensed to 342 pages in the 2004 volume entitled A Short History of Russia's First Civil War.

Another Dunning work is The Russian Empire and the Grand Duchy of Muscovy: A Seventeenth Century French Account. With co-authors Caryl Emerson and Sergei Fomichev, he wrote The Uncensored Boris Godunov: The Case for Pushkin's Original Comedy, released in 2006. Dunning indicates that the primary purpose of this work is to rescue from obscurity Alexander Pushkin's original historical drama Boris Godunov. Dunning maintains that Pushkin's play is a comedy, not a tragedy.

In 2008, Dunning co-edited with Russell Martin and Daniel Rowland the 513-page Rude and Barbarous Kingdom Revisited: Essays in Russian History and Culture in Honor of Robert O. Crummey through Slavica Publishers in Columbus
Columbus, Ohio
Columbus is the capital of and the largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio. The broader metropolitan area encompasses several counties and is the third largest in Ohio behind those of Cleveland and Cincinnati. Columbus is the third largest city in the American Midwest, and the fifteenth largest city...

, Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

. Crummey is a scholar of Russian studies at the University of California, Davis
University of California, Davis
The University of California, Davis is a public teaching and research university established in 1905 and located in Davis, California, USA. Spanning over , the campus is the largest within the University of California system and third largest by enrollment...


Dunning has published refereed articles in Slavic Review, The Russian Review, The Slavonic and East European Review, Comparative Studies in Society and History, The Pushkin Review, The Sixteenth Century Journal, Revue Historique, Voprosy istorii, Russian History/Histoire Russe, Slavic and East European Journal, Stanford Slavic Studies, Canadian-American Slavic Studies, Albion, Forschungen zur osteuropaischen Geschichte, Kritika, and Harvard Ukrainian Studies.. He holds five distinguished teaching awards from Texas A&M. His research reflects his interest in early modern Russia, Anglo-Russian relations, comparative history, and the impact of censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

 on Russian literature. He has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities
National Endowment for the Humanities
The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent federal agency of the United States established by the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965 dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. The NEH is located at...

 and the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...


Dunning teaches two classes per semester and spends the remainder of his time in research and publishing. He earns some $90,000 per year.

Dunning and his wife, Madelon Elsie Kersten (born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1951), formerly of Cambridge
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

, Massachusetts, reside in Bryan
Bryan, Texas
Bryan is a city in Brazos County, Texas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 76,201. It is the county seat of Brazos County and is located in the heart of the Brazos Valley . It shares its border with the city of College Station, which lies to its south...

, Texas. Elsie Kersten, a graduate of Texas A&M University's College of Architecture, remodels homes and is a published photographer. Their son Stephen Dunning (born in 1989 in Bryan, Texas) received his Bachelor of Music degree cum laude from University of North Texas in 2010 and is a music teacher in Houston, Texas.
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