Director’s Letter: Spring 2019

Dear friends and affiliates of the Jordan Center:

As a new semester starts here at the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia at New York University, once again the attention of the public in United States is being drawn to questions related to Russia’s role in the 2016 US presidential election campaign. The continued prevalence of Russia in US politics illustrates yet again the importance of the Jordan Center’s mandate: to ensure and support high quality research on all things Russia.

We’ve again had a very busy fall at the Jordan Center. A few highlights include:

• A conference on “Economic Histories of Russia and the Soviet Union: Sources, Methods and Perspectives”, hosted by Professor Anne O’Donnell

• Harsha Ram of UC Berkeley speaking on “Khlebnikov, Tatlin, and the Utopian Geopoetics of the Russian Avant-garde

• Mark Galeotti presenting his new book The Vory: understanding Russia’s gangsters in their historical and political context

• Our 2018 Jordan Center Distinguished Lecture from UC Berkeley Professor Yuri Slezkine speaking on “The Life and Death of the Russian Revolution

As always, you can find video from most events on our website in the Video Archive, as well as write ups of events in the Event Recap section. Our goal remains for all of the events to be accessible to anyone who is interested in them, regardless of whether they can attend in person and/or are free at the time we are holding it. As always, we will continue live streaming most events, so please join us virtually when you can!

This spring promises to be just as busy. I’m very pleased to announce the return of our New York City – Russia Public Policy series, jointly run with the Harriman Institute of Columbia University with financial support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Our first event in this series at NYU will take place next week on February 7th from 5:00-7:00 PM and will examine what three different teams of scholars from around the country – including the NYU Social Media and Political Participation (SMaPP) lab – have learned about the activity of Russian “Twitter trolls” during the 2016 election. On April 18th, the series will feature a discussion of Stephen Cohen’s new book War with Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate, with commentary from Cohen and Columbia University’s Jack Snyder.

The Jordan Center will also host a number of conferences this spring, including the Mid-Atlantic Kruzhok Graduate Workshop on February 22-23, the North East Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Society Annual Conference on March 30th, a conference on “Chekhov in Context” on March 29th, hosted by Professors Anne Lounsbery and Ilya Kliger, and a conference on “Russia’s Legal Tradition: Transformations, Continuities, Rupture”, hosted by Professor Jane Burbank. Of course, there will be countless other talks and colloquia, all of which are detailed on our events page on the website.

As many of you know, this past fall was also a time of transition for the Jordan Center, as our previous Program Administrator, Heather Messina, left after three plus years at the Jordan Center. Having heaped thanks and praise on Heather in my last start of the semester letter, I want to take this opportunity to thank Diane Barnes, a longtime NYU administrator par excellence who very generously came out of retirement to serve as our interim Program Director for most of October. We were very fortunate to have someone of Diane’s caliber and experience available, and she was a large part of why the center continued to run smoothly this fall.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce everyone to Joanne Algranati, our new Program Administrator! Joanne comes to us from NYU’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism Management, and we are very happy to have her at the Jordan Center. If you have not already had a chance to meet her, please introduce yourself the next time you are at the Jordan Center for an event.

Hope everyone has a great semester, and looking forward to seeing all of you at the Jordan Center often! As always, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. And if you’d like to support the work of the center, please consider making a donation.


Joshua A. Tucker