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  • Faculty

  • Jessica Pisano

    Associate Professor and Chair of Politics


    Office Location
    D - Albert & Vera List Academic Center - 6 East 16th Street

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    Jessica Pisano


    Jessica Pisano is an Associate Professor of Politics at The New School for Social Research. Her research and teaching focus on the contemporary and twentieth century politics of Eastern Europe and Eurasia. She conducts her research in Russia, Hungary, and Ukraine, where she is interested in the experiences of ordinary people who live far from capital cities. Much of her work focuses on the enclosure of public resources, the constitution of material and social power, and political and social processes of dispossession. She asks how shifts in political economy shape everyday people's lives, and how those effects translate into changes in local, national, and global politics. Her research is interdisciplinary, drawing on archival sources as well as a variety of immersion-based methods, including participant-observation research.

    Professor Pisano is the author of The Post-Soviet Potemkin Village: Politics and Property Rights in the Black Earth (Cambridge University Press, 2008), which received the Harvard University Davis Center Book Prize in Political and Social Studies in 2009. She is currently completing a book-length manuscript about political theater and the social foundations of regime legitimacy in Russia and Ukraine. She is also writing a history of property on a single street in Eastern Europe between 1938 and 2014.

    More information is available at Professor Pisano's personal website

    Degrees Held

    PhD 2003, Yale University

    Recent Publications


    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, 2014), pp. 222-242.

    “Opting 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.  

    “The Social Life of Borders: Political economy at the edge of the EU” (with A ndré Simonyi) in Joan DeBardeleben and Achim Hurrelmann (eds.), Transnational Europe: Promise—Paradox—Limits (Palgrave, 2011), 222-238.   

    “Social contracts and authoritarian projects in post-Soviet space: The use of administrative resource” Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 43:4 (2010), pp. 373-382. 

    “Legitimizing 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. 

    “From Iron 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 Association Mark Pittaway prize.

    “How to 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 Award.  

    “Property: What is it good for?” Social Research, 76:1 (Spring 2009), pp. 175-202.

    “The Two 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.

    “‘Friendship 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. 175-198.

    “Sub Rosa Resistance and the Politics of Economic Reform: Land Redistribution in Post-Soviet Ukraine,” World Politics,56:4 (July 2004), pp. 554-81.

    “Land Reform and the Social Origins of Private Farmers in Russia and Ukraine,” Journal of Peasant Studies, 31:3 (July 2004).489-514.

    “Agrarnye reformy v Rossii i na Ukraine: sravnitel’nyi analiz,” Otechestvennye zapiski, 4:1 (March 2004), 1-12.

    “Reorganization 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.

    Research Interests

    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 regimes.

    Primary research languages: English, French, Russian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, and Spanish


    Awards And Honors

    Distinguished University Teaching Award, The New School, 2017.

    Hungarian Studies Association Mark Pittaway biennial 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. 

    American 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.

    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Standard Research Grant, 2008-2012.

    National Council for Eurasian and East European Research Grant, 2007-2009.

    Harvard University Ukrainian Institute Shklar Research Fellowship, 2006.

    Harvard University Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2005 and 2006.

    American Political Science Association Small Research Grant, 2006.

    Colgate University Picker Research Grant, 2006.

    Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies Research Scholarship, 2004.

    Social Science Research Council Eurasia Program Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2004-2006.   

    Colgate University Dean’s discretionary research grant, 2004.   

    Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies Research Scholarship (declined), 2002.   

    Yale University Dissertation Fellowship, 2000.   

    Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship, 1998.   

    IREX Individual Advanced Research Opportunities Research Grant, 1998.   

    Yale University Ukrainian Initiative dissertation research grant, 1998.   

    Yale Center for International and Area Studies Dissertation Research Fellowship, 1997.   

    Fox International Fellowship, Yale University and Moscow State University, 1997.   

    National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 1996-2001.   

    Yale University Graduate School Fellowship, 1995.   

    Harvard 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          

    Current Courses

    Directed Dissertation Study

    Directed Dissertation Study (Spring 2021)

    Ind Senior Prject

    Ind Senior Prject (Spring 2021)

    Independent Study (Spring 2021)

    MA Seminar

    Russia and America

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