Political Science, Yale University
Political Science, Yale University
History and Literature, Harvard College
The substantive questions that drive my
research cohere around the enclosure of public resources, the constitution of
material and social power, and political and social processes of dispossession.
In particular, I am interested in how
transformations in ownership regimes shape everyday people’s lives, and how
those effects translate into changes in local, national, and global politics. I conduct my research in Central and Eastern
Europe and Eurasia, where I use a variety of immersion-based methods as well as
am currently working on two book-length projects. The first concerns theatricality in Eastern
European politics. My manuscript
examines the political economy of facade institutions, including fake
elections, in contemporary Russia and Ukraine, as a way to understand popular
participation in them and--for large parts of local populations--their social
legitimacy. The project draws upon a
wide variety of sources, including participant-observation research, extensive
interviews, regional press, and social media.
It also examines Russian literature from the 19th century to the present to contribute to the history of the idea of Potemkin politics in Eastern European political space. I have published a number of papers related to
this project; the manuscript should be ready for publisher review in early
second current project examines the evolution of property regimes in the twentieth
century through a micro-history of a single rural street in the western
borderlands of Ukraine. Over the space of fifty years, this particular street was occupied successively by fascist, state socialist, and neoliberal regimes. In the project, I analyze moments of hightened tension and structural violence around changes in land ownership: during wartime, when Jewish farmers and others lost their land to confiscatory policies; under the collectivization drives that followed in the wake of war; and lastly, nearly a half-century later, in contemporary privatization schemes implemented in the region. This project draws both upon ethnographic
research carried out on the street over a period of a decade and thousands of documents drawn
from local, regional, and national archives in Ukraine, Slovakia, Hungary, Germany, and the United States.
The Post-Soviet Potemkin Village: Politics and
Property Rights in the Black Earth. 2008. Cambridge
University Press. Winner of the AAASS (ASEEES) Davis
Center Book Prize in Political and Social Studies.
Articles and book chapters
· “Pokazukha and Cardiologist Khrenov:
Soviet Legacies, Legacy Theater, and a Usable Past,” in Mark Beissinger and
Stephen Kotkin, eds. Historical Legacies
of Communism in Russia and Eastern Europe. (New York: Cambridge University
Press, forthcoming 2014), pp. 222-242.
Out under Stalin and Khrushchev: Post-War Sovietization in a Borderlands Magyar
Village,” Problems of Post-Communism,
58:1 (January-February 2011), pp. 58-66.
Life of Borders: Political economy at the edge of the EU” (with André Simonyi) in Joan DeBardeleben and Achim Hurrelmann (eds.), Transnational Europe: Promise—Paradox—Limits
(Palgrave, 2011), 222-238.
contracts and authoritarian projects in post-Soviet space: The use of
administrative resource” Communist and
Post-Communist Studies, 43:4 (2010), pp. 373-382.
facades: Civil Society in post-Orange Ukraine” in
Paul D’Anieri (ed.), Orange Revolution and Aftermath: Mobilization,
Apathy, and the State in Ukraine (Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Johns Hopkins
University Press, 2010), pp. 229-253.
Curtain to Golden Curtain: Remaking Identity in the European Union
Borderlands,” East European Politics and Societies, 23:2 (May 2009), pp. 266-290. Winner of Hungarian Studies
Tell an Axe Murderer: An Essay on Ethnography, Truth, and Lies,” in Edward
Schatz (ed.), Political Ethnography: What
Immersion Contributes to the Study of Power (Chicago, IL: University of
Chicago Press, 2009), pp. 53-73.
Co-recipient of American Political Science Association Giovanni Sartori
What is it good for?” Social Research,
76:1 (Spring 2009), pp. 175-202.
Faces of Petr Arkad’evich: Land and Dispossession in Russia’s Southwest, ca.
2000,” International Journal of Labor and
Working Class History, (Spring 2007), pp. 70-90.
“Klychkov i Pustota: Post-Soviet
Bureaucrats and the Production of Institutional Facades,” in Thomas Lahusen and
Peter Solomon (eds.), What is Soviet Now?
Identities, Legacies, Memories (London: LIT Verlag, 2007), pp. 40-56.
of Peoples’ After the Fall: Violence and Pan-African Community in Post-Soviet
Moscow” (with Eric Allina-Pisano) in Maxim Matusevich (ed.), Africa in Russia, Russia in Africa: 300
Years of Encounters (Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2006), pp.
Rosa Resistance and the Politics of Economic Reform: Land Redistribution in
Post-Soviet Ukraine,” World Politics,56:4 (July 2004), pp. 554-81.
Reform and the Social Origins of Private Farmers in Russia and Ukraine,” Journal of Peasant Studies, 31:3 (July
reformy v Rossii i na Ukraine: sravnitel’nyi analiz,” Otechestvennye zapiski, 4:1 (March 2004), 1-12.
and its Discontents: A Case Study in Voronezh oblast’,”in David
O’Brien and Stephen Wegren (eds.), Rural
Reform in Post-Soviet Russia (Washington, D.C. and Baltimore: Woodrow
Wilson Center Press and Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), pp 298-324.
Room 719, 6 East 16th StreetPhone Number/Extension:
212-229-5747 ext 3085Fax Number:
Politics and political economy in Ukraine and Russia; property,
privatization, and economic reform; informal institutions and bureaucratic
behavior; the politics of concepts in social research; critical
alternatives to analytic vocabularies in comparative politics; the political economies of borderlands; historical
methods in the study of politics; how we think about beginnings and ends of
research languages: English, French, Russian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, and Spanish
Awards and Honors:
Center Associate, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies,
Association for Slavic, East European, and
American Political Science Association
Hungarian Studies Association Mark
prize for the best scholarly article relating to Hungary for “From Iron Curtain
to Golden Curtain: Remaking Identity in the European Union Borderlands,” in the
Spring 2009 issue of East European
Politics and Societies, 2011.
Fulbright Scholarship Board, Council for International Exchange of
Scholars, Fulbright award to the Russian Federation (declined), 2011.
Political Science Association, Giovanni Sartori Award for the best book in
qualitative and multi-methods research for Political
Ethnography, co-recipient, 2010.
University of Ottawa, Faculty of Social Sciences Research Chair in the
Politics of Property, 2010.
AAASS Davis Center Book Prize in Political and Social Studies for best
book published on Russia, Eurasia, or Eastern Europe in anthropology, political
science, sociology, or geography, for The
Post-Soviet Potemkin Village, 2009.
and Humanities Research Council of Canada Standard Research Grant, 2008-2012.
National Council for Eurasian and East European Research Grant,
University Ukrainian Institute Shklar Research Fellowship, 2006.
University Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship,
2005 and 2006.
American Political Science Association Small Research Grant, 2006.
University Picker Research Grant, 2006.
Institute for Advanced Russian Studies Research Scholarship, 2004.
Science Research Council Eurasia Program Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2004-2006.
University Dean’s discretionary research grant, 2004.
Institute for Advanced Russian Studies Research Scholarship (declined), 2002.
University Dissertation Fellowship, 2000.
Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship, 1998.
Individual Advanced Research Opportunities Research Grant, 1998.
University Ukrainian Initiative dissertation research grant, 1998.
Center for International and Area Studies Dissertation Research Fellowship,
International Fellowship, Yale University and Moscow State University, 1997.
Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 1996-2001.
University Graduate School Fellowship, 1995.
University prizes for “Constructed Lives: Author as Saint in the Soviet
Literary Biographical Museum,” 1994: Thomas P. Hoopes Prize; Edward Chandler
Cummings Prize for best senior essay in History and Literature; George B.
Sohier prize for best senior essay in English, Comparative Literature, Slavic
or Romance Languages