Associate Professor of History
Office Location: 223 Meredith Hall
Natalie Bayer specializes in European intellectual history and Russian/Soviet history, offering courses on European Enlightenment, nationalism in Modern Europe, the French Revolution, freemasonry and fraternalism in Modern European history, Russian Imperial history, the history of the USSR, and Soviet experience. She also teaches world history.
Bayer’s research focuses on the study of freemasonry and its role in the transmission of ideas. She is currently working on a book, analyzing interactions between European and Russian masonic lodges during the eighteenth century. A future second project will be devoted to a more broad-based study on the transmission and reception of the Western philosophy of Cartesianism in Russia in the long eighteenth century.
Bayer has published extensively on the subject of eighteenth-century freemasonry, the Scottish Enlightenment and Russian history in English, Russian, French and Spanish. Her most recent publications on freemasonry include a chapter in The Super-Enlightenment: Daring to Know Too Much and participation in a prosopographic dictionary of eighteenth-century freemasons Le Monde Maçonnique des Lumière. She has delivered keynote speeches at the University of Sheffield (UK), the Canonbury Conference in London (UK), the symposium on “Expressions of Freemasonry” at the University of Leiden (The Netherlands), and the Study Group on Eighteenth-Century Russia meeting in Hoddesdon (UK).
A native of Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia, she graduated from Moscow State University with a degree in modern European history. She received her Ph.D. in European intellectual history from Rice University in 2007, studying under John Zammito, one of the most prominent historians of the European Enlightenment and the history and philosophy of science. After teaching at Trinity University in San Antonio as a Visiting Assistant Professor, Bayer was selected as the inaugural post-doctoral fellow for the study of Freemasonry and Fraternalism at the History Department of UCLA. Working with Professor Margaret Jacob, she was responsible for creating and teaching an innovative course on freemasonry and fraternalism in European history at UCLA and at the Grand Lodge of California. In 2010 Bayer took up the tenure-tracked position of Assistant Professor at Drake.
In addition to her teaching and research, Bayer is an editorial assistant of the Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism, and has served on the editorial board. She has also been a member of the academic committee of the International Conference on the History of Freemasonry, as well as a member of the Masonic research standards and practices committee for the Quarry Project.
Bayer’s spare time is devoted to her family. When she is not running after her two young boys, she enjoys reading, cooking, dancing and watching art house movies with her husband.