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Dr Molly Pucci

Dr Molly Pucci

Assistant Professor of Twentieth Century European History

Molly Pucci is an Assistant Professor of Twentieth Century European History. Before coming to Trinity, she was a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence and a Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. She holds a PhD in history from Stanford University and an MA in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies from Harvard University. Her current book project, which has been funded by the Hoover Institution and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, focuses on the history of communism in Czechoslovakia in the 1920s, from the Comintern to the artistic avant garde. She is interested in the way experiments in culture and internationalism- encompassing literature, poetry, architecture, linguistics, painting, and theater, among other fields,- both reflected and contributed to the radicalization of the political left in interwar Europe.


In the department of history, I teach two Sophister modules. The first, "The Secret Police in Communist Europe" traces the role of secret police forces in communist states and societies through the rise and fall of communism in twentieth century Europe. The second, "On the Edge of the Law: Communists, Fascists, and the Mafia in Modern Italy" examines the debates over the boundaries of law, culture, politics, and language in modern Italy. I also co-ordinate the MPhil in international history and co-lecture in the Freshman module "War and Peace in Modern Europe."


  • Security Empire: The Secret Police in Communist Eastern Europe (Yale University Press, 2020), winner of the Kulczycki Book Prize in Polish Studies from the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies; the Oskar Halecki Prize in Polish and Central European History from the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America; and the Polly Corrigan Prize in Intelligence Studies from the Intelligence and Security Group at King's College London. Honorable Mention from the Women's Forum Prize of the British Association For Slavonic and East European Studies and Shortlisted for the International Witold Pilecki Prize in twentieth century Polish history.
  • "The Soviets Abroad: the NKVD, Intelligence, and State-Building in East Central Europe after the Second World War," article forthcoming with Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian Studies, 2021.
  • “Constructing a Confession: The Language and Psychology of Interrogations in Stalinist Czechoslovakia” chapter in Revising Stalin and Stalinism, eds. James Ryan and Susan Grant (Bloomsbury, 2020) 
  • "A Revolution in a Revolution: The Secret Police and the Origins of Stalinism in Czechoslovakia, 1945-1952", East European Politics and Societies, 32, (1), 2018, pp. 3 - 22
  • "Translating the State: Czechoslovakia's Search for the Soviet Model of the Secret Police, 1945-1953", Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian Studies, 18, no. 2 (spring 2017)
  • “Policing the Police: Counterintelligence, the ‘Instructor Group’ and the Stalinization of the Czechoslovak Secret Police, 1948-1952,” chapter forthcoming in Perceptions of the Top in East-Central Europe, ed. Muriel Blaive(New York: Bloomsbury, 2018).
  • Review of Mark Kramer and Vit Smetana, ed., Imposing, Maintaining and Tearing Open the Iron Curtain, “The Journal of Cold War Studies,” vol. 19, no 1, 2017.
  • Review of Andreas Glaeser, Political Epistemics: The Secret Police, the Opposition, and the End of East German Socialism, in “East Central Europe,” vol. 41, no. 1, 2014.
  • Contribution to Roundtable Discussion on Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, H-Diplo Roundtable, vol. 16, no. 8, 2014.

Invited Talks

  • "The Czechoslovak Communist Party and the 'National Question," Talk at International Conference 100 let od založení KSČ, Prague, Czech Republic (2021)
  • "Live--and Bolshevize: Czechoslovak Communism and the Third International," East European History Seminar, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany (2021)
  • "Two Communisms: Anarchism, Social Democracy, and the Intellectual Origins of Czechoslovak Communism," Imre Kertész Kollege, Jena, Germany (2021)
  • "Marxist Reactions to the Russian Revolution," University of Manitoba, Canada (2020)
  • "Security Empire: The Communist Secret Police and the Making of the Eastern Bloc," Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, Cambridge University (2020)
  • "The Secret Police and the Origins of Communism in East-Central Europe," U.S. State Department, Foreign Service Institute (2020)
  • "The Soviets Abroad: Intelligence, State-Building, and the Security Forces in East Europe," The Political Police and the Soviet System: Insights from Newly Opened KGB Archives in the Former Soviet States, Georgetown University (2020)

Dr Pucci on the TCD Research Support System

Contact Details

Department of History
Trinity College
Dublin 2.
Telephone: +353 1 896 1020
Fax: +353 1 896 3995