Director’s Letter- Summer 2017


Dear friends of the Jordan Center old and new:

I hope the spring semester of 2017 has treated all of you well!  As I write this letter from Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow following yet another US-Russia dust up over Syria, I am reminded once again of the importance of the endeavor in which all of us are collectively engaged: ensuring that the discussion of Russia in the world is informed by the presence of high quality scholarship.  Here at the Jordan Center, we aim to further this mission by supporting contact between scholars the world over who are studying Russia from a wide cross-section of academic disciplines, helping to fund the next generation of Russia scholars by providing support to our graduate students, and giving scholars an opportunity to present their work to live audiences in New York and live-streaming audiences the world over.

And what a year it’s been at the Jordan Center in this regard!  2016-2017 featured:

  • Seventeen visiting scholars (including eight short-term fellows and nine writers in residence) from the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Greece.
  • Continued funding for both research and language training for doctoral students (two of whom I just had the pleasure of seeing in Moscow).
  • Over 40 lectures and colloquia, featuring the latest academic research on Russia from around the world across a wide-range of disciplines, including political science, history, literature, culture and journalism.
  • Three larger conferences on “Borders of Biopolitics: Population and Power in Modern Russia”, “Finance beyond Numbers: The Humanities after Neo-Liberalism”, and the “Afro-Asian Writers Association: an Inventory Workshop”, in addition to hosting the 2017 Annual Conference of Northeast Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (NESEEES).
  • The launch of two new initiatives joint with the Harriman Institute of Columbia University and supported by funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The first is the New York City Russia Public Policy Series, which will be hosted once each semester by Jordan and once by Harriman; the spring of 2017 saw our first two events, one at Harriman on “The Reset Trap? Reconfiguring U.S.-Russia Relations in a Time of International Uncertainty” and one at the Jordan Center on “Kompromat: What it is, and what it means for US-Russia relations”. The second new initiative is a joint Ph.D. workshop for Russian and Post-communist politics that meets monthly and alternates between Jordan and Harriman. The workshop is open to students (and faculty!) from any area university, so please let me know if you would like to get involved.

We also are continuing to seek new ways to increase our visibility and to utilize technology to allow the research we support and feature to reach a larger audience. This includes active Twitter and Facebook accounts, our popular and well respected center blog (“All the Russias”) under the exceptional direction of Eliot Borenstein, live streaming of our events, blog posts dedicated to each event that highlight what was presented and the ensuing discussion, and video archiving of the event. For the first time, we held an event that was jointly sponsored by another university (the University of Pittsburg) and simulcast at that venue, with students there contributing questions in real time to our panelists.  Taken together, we have multiple points of entry to all of our research presentations at the Jordan Center – tweets, FB posts, blogs, live streaming, and video archives, plus an active email list with over 2,400 current subscribers – all of which provide us with tools by which those interested in Russia can access events sponsored by the Jordan Center.  Please consider following us on Facebook or Twitter, and of course let us know if you would like to join our mailing list.

As we look ahead to the 2017-2018 academic year, we already have an exciting schedule of speakers, events, and conferences.  In particular, I would like to draw everyone’s attention to our “100 years after 1917” lecture series that will take place in the fall.  This will feature lectures from NYU Jordan Center affiliated faculty Yanni Kotsonis, Jane Burbank, and Anne O’Donnell in addition to Sheila Fitzpatrick from the University of Sydney. We will also be hosting a “what was 1917” interdisciplinary panel aimed at undergraduates that will be hosted by Anne Lounsbery.

On a personal note, I want to thank my outstanding Board of Faculty Advisors, including Anne Lounsbery, Bruce Grant, Ilya Kliger, and especially Jordan Center Emeritus Director Yanni Kotsonis, for making the first leadership transition in the history of the Jordan Center run so smoothly!  And above all – as anyone who has had any contact with the Jordan Center can confirm! – we all remain completely indebted to our incredible Program Administrator Heather Messina, without whom none of this would be possible.

Enjoy the summer, and we hope that many of you will join us in the coming year either in person or online!

All best,
Joshua Tucker
Director, Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia