Thompson Rivers University

Wilson Bell (he/him)

Name: Dr. Wilson Bell (he/him)
Position: Associate Professor
Phone: 250.828.5229


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Research Interests

Research focuses on the Gulag prison camps in the Soviet Union under Stalin. Particular interests include the mobilization of forced labour during WWII, black market activity in the camps, illicit sexual activity in the camps, and the interaction between the Gulag and Soviet society more generally.

Awarded a two-year (2015-2017) Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant for a new project: "44 Lenin Avenue: Siberia's 20th century history as told through its most remarkable building"

The same project also won a three-year (2019-2022) SSHRC Insight Grant, valued at $55,000.


PhD, University of Toronto, 2011

MA, University of Toronto, 2001

BA, Dalhousie University, 2000 (First-Class Honours)


Recent peer-reviewed publications:

"Prinuditel'nyi trud v tylu. GULAG i total'naia voina v Zapadnoi Sibiri." Trans. V. Sokov. Chapter 5 of Fenomen GULAGa: Interpretatsii, sravneniia, istoricheskii kontekst. Edited Michael David-Fox. Boston and St. Petersburg: Academic Studies Press, 2020: 221-263.

Book: Stalin's Gulag at War: Forced Labour, Mass Death, and Soviet Victory in the Second World War (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019). Paperback printed Dec. 4, 2018; hardcover printed Dec 27, 2018. See:

"Tomsk Regional Identity and the Legacy of the Gulag and Stalinist Repression," Chapter 9 of Russia's Regional Identities, edited by Edith Clowes, Ani Kokobobo and Gisela Erbsloh. London: Routledge, 2018.

"Forced Labor on the Home Front: The Gulag and Total War in Western Siberia, 1940-45," Chapter 6 of The Soviet Gulag: Evidence, Interpretation, and Comparison, edited by Michael David-Fox (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016): 114-135.

"Sex, Pregnancy, and Power in the Late Stalinist Gulag," Journal of the History of Sexuality 24.2 (2015): 198-224.

"Was the Gulag an Archipelago? De-Convoyed Prisoners and Porous Borders in the Camps of Western Siberia," Russian Review 72.1 (2013): 116-141.

Employment History

Associate Professor, Thompson Rivers University, July 2019-present

Visiting Scholar, Dept of History, Dalhousie University, July 2019-June 2020

Assistant Professor, Thompson Rivers University, July 2012-June 2019

Visiting Instructor/Visiting Assistant Professor, Dickinson College, July 2009-June 2012

Sessional Instructor (adjunct), University of Guelph, Sept-Dec 2008

Teaching Assistant, University of Toronto, 2005-2009

Courses Taught

Courses taught either every year or in rotation (every 2-3 years) include:
HIST 1160, Europe 1500-1789
HIST 1260, Europe 1789-1939
HIST 2250, Cultural and Artistic Traditions of Europe
POLI 2140, Resistance and Revolution
HIST 3000, The Historian's Craft
HIST-POLI 3530, The Concentration Camp
HIST 4200 (Special Topics), World War II in Europe
HIST 4200 (Special Topics), Russia and Eastern Europe
HIST-POLI 4710, Communism and the Environment

Professional Affiliations

Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies (ASEEES)
Canadian Association of Slavists (CAS)


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