My research interests are in the histories of modern Russia and China and in comparative Communism. I am writing a book on the 'politics of the supernatural' which compares the efforts of Communist regimes in the Soviet Union (1917-41) and the People’s Republic of China (1949-76) to eliminate 'superstition' from daily life, in areas such as popular religion, calendrical and life-cycle rituals, agriculture and folk medicine. It compares the ways in which ordinary people deployed religious and magical beliefs and practices as a way of dealing with and putting meaning on the turbulent and often traumatic changes that overtook their lives.
Bones of Contention: Bolsheviks and the Exposure of Saints’ Relics, 1918-30
Fear and Rumour in the People's Republic of China in the 1950s
Revolution and the People in Russia and China
Steve Smith explores how the changes in migrants' social identities contributed to the processes that culminated in Communist revolution in Russia and China.