BA, (MA) Russian Language & Literature, Oxford University
BA, College of Letters, Wesleyan University
I’ve worked as a professional journalist for two decades, having first started out as a stringer in Moscow during the last years of the USSR. Thanks to the great fortune of winning an Alicia Patterson fellowship, I spent a year reporting from the war zones of the former Soviet lands and Afghanistan. For the next six years, from 1996 to 2001, I was based in Moscow, where I covered Russia and the ex-USSR as a staff correspondent for TIME. Courses Taught:
Since returning to the U.S., I've written two books of nonfiction. BLACK EARTH is a history of Russia’s first post-Soviet decade, as told by way of a travelogue. THE LOST SPY is part history, part detective story—a biography of Isaiah "Cy" Oggins, a 1920s American Communist turned Soviet spy. In 1947, after eight years in the Gulag, Oggins was "liquidated"--murdered in Moscow, by lethal injection, on Stalin's orders. BLACK EARTH and THE LOST SPY were both published W.W. Norton and named to a number of Best-Books-of-the-Year lists, including those of The New York Public Library, NPR, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Times Literary Supplement. BLACK EARTH was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
In addition to teaching, I write on U.S. and foreign affairs for national and international publications, including Harper’s, National Geographic, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Orion, Outside, The Washington Post, and Wired. I've also appeared as a commentator on the BBC, CNN, and NPR, and have reported and written for PBS documentaries, including a Bill Moyers Special on 9/11.
At Lang, my interest lies in creating a classroom not of pre-professional journalists, but critical readers and writers. The emphasis is not on acquiring skills, but learning craft—through writing, rewriting and more rewriting. Although I teach in the Writing program, I enjoy opening the classroom to as wide a spectrum of media as possible—from documentaries to photojournalism to music.
As a working journalist, teaching at Lang has been a boon to my writing life. More than any single publication or editor, the undergraduates I’ve encountered have helped to restore my faith in the practice and purpose of journalism in America.
Reading for Writers: Journalism - The Iraq War as Nonfiction StoryRecent Publications:
Intermediate Journalism: The Iraq War as Nonfiction Story
Advanced Non-fiction: Novelists As Journalists
Intermediate Non-fiction: Novelists As Journalists
Introduction to Journalism: Reporting New York
• Black Earth: A Journey Through Russia After the Fall (WW Norton, 2004)Email:MeierA@newschool.eduResearch Interests:
• Chechnya: To the Heart of A Conflict (WW Norton, 2005)
• The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin’s Secret Service (WW Norton, 2008)
War Reporting; The Wars in Afghanistan & Iraq; Russian & East European History, Politics, and Culture; Terrorism and Intelligence; Politics of Central Asia & The Caucasus.
Currently at work on The House of Morgenthau: An American Family (Random House), a history spanning four generations and the presidencies of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.
The Authors GuildAwards and Honors:
The Paul Klebnikov Fund
• Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Fellow. Dorothy & Lewis B. Cullman Center for Writers & Scholars at the New York Public Library
• National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow
• Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
• Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellow