Professor Julie Curtis's published research has largely been focused on subversive writers of the early Stalin Period (1920s and 1930s). She has spent a great deal of time working in archives in Russia and abroad, and this has enabled her to publish a range of analytical and biographical studies of the life and works of the satirical novelist/playwright Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940). More recently she has turned her attention to Evgeny Zamiatin (1884-1937), an anti-utopian writer much admired by George Orwell. Recently Curtis completed work on the first full biography of Zamiatin to appear in any language; she has also co-edited (with a St Petersburg colleague) a scholarly edition in Russian of his most famous novel, based on a unique typescript she discovered in an American archive.
Curtis has developed a particular interest in Russian drama, and runs a specialist option for students which involves the study of plays from the 1820s right up to the present day. Over the last few years she has been involved in helping with productions of Russian plays in several British theatres (the RSC at Stratford, the Barbican and National Theatres in London, the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry) by providing cast workshops, writing programme features, working on translations, and advising directors and design staff. Future research plans include a study of the 21st-century theatre scene in Russia, parts of which have been notably bold in their challenges to the political establishment.