Greetings from New York City and 19 University Place! We are so excited to be back on campus with all of our affiliated faculty, students, and fellows. We are also very happy to announce that we will be welcoming back the general public to our events very soon. All non-NYU affiliates interested in joining us back on campus should be on the lookout for announcements and instructions soon!
The past year was an extremely difficult one for us and for our community. The Russian invasion of Ukraine left us shocked and heartbroken. Our thoughts continue, constantly, to be with the people of Ukraine, and we continue to stand with all the people of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and the rest of the world who oppose this senseless, unprovoked war. We are very grateful to all of the audience members and speakers who joined us to reflect on and learn about the ongoing war from a wide variety of interdisciplinary perspectives in panels and lectures hosted throughout the spring. We are also grateful to the administration at NYU who worked with us to advocate for the creation of programs to support displaced Ukrainian scholars with positions at NYU’s European global campuses as well as here in NYC. We will continue to do all that we can to support Ukrainian scholars as well as continue to serve as a source of reliable, high quality information for those looking to stay informed.
We have another very full schedule of events in store for this fall. We are very excited to be kicking off the semester next Thursday, September 8th at 4 pm with Professor Margarita Balmaceda, who will speak on “Ukraine in Russian Energy Chains: Threat, Temptation and Learning from the Past to Understand Ukraine’s and Europe’s Current Energy Challenges“. This event is part of the Ukrainian Energy Studies series, co-organized by the East European, Russian, Caucasian, and Central Asian Faculty Network at the University of Colorado Boulder, which will run throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. This interdisciplinary series will explore the concept of energy as a shaping force in Ukrainian cultural and political history; the aesthetics of particular energy sources (fossil fuels, nuclear energy, renewables) in Ukrainian literature, film, and other media; the Russia-Ukraine energy nexus; Ukrainian energy markets; and environmental effects of energy production, consumption, and catastrophe. The series is co-sponsored by the Jordan Center and the Departments of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, History, and Geography, as well as the International Affairs Program at the University of Colorado Boulder.
In total, the Jordan Center will host (at least!) 26 events this semester, including:
- “Unpacking ‘Traditional Values’ in Russia’s Conservative Turn: Gender, Sexuality, and the Soviet Legacy” with Valerie Sperling, Alexandra Novitskaya, Janet Johnson, and Lisa Sundstrom, September 9 @ 12:00 pm ET
- “The Transition of Ukraine’s Energy: from Part of the Soviet Economy Towards a United Europe” with Andrian Prokip, September 13 @ 4:00 pm ET
- “How the Soviet Jew Was Made” with Sasha Senderovich, September 20 @ 2:30 pm ET
- “Ukrainian in Russian: Life and Death of Russophone Literature in Ukraine” with Mykhailo Nazarenko, September 27 @ 12 pm ET
- “A Full-Value Ruble: The Promise of Prosperity in the Postwar Soviet Union” with Kristy Ironside, October 4 @ 1:00 pm ET
- “The Russian Soul and the Soviet Human in Modern Chinese Culture” with Pu Wang, October 14 @ 2:00 pm ET
- “The Many Faces of Tojixon Shodieva: Celebrity, Empire, and the Soviet Public in Central Asia” with Claire Roosien, October 17 @ 3:00 pm ET
- “Religion and Russia’s War in Ukraine” with Catherine Wanner, October 28 @ 3:00 pm ET
- “The Aral Sea: Environment, Society, and State Power in Central Asia” with Sarah Cameron, December 1 @ 2:00 pm
… and much more!
We are very excited to announce that our Short Term Visiting Fellowship program, Visiting Scholars program, and Postdoctoral Fellowship program will all run this year. We are looking forward to having so many members of our community in one (physical!) place. You can learn more about our Visiting Scholars on our website. This year’s cohort of Postdocs are:
Dr. Laas specializes in political economy, consumer society, gender, the history of the social sciences, and environmental history in the Soviet Union. She currently works on a book manuscript, provisionally titled A Soviet Consumer Republic: Economic Citizenship and the Economy of Waste in the Post-WWII Soviet Union. This project departs from the standard economy-of-shortages narrative and offers a different dimension, an “economy of waste,” to describe Soviet consumption. It argues that after World War II and especially with the onset of Cold War competition with the West, in addition to periodic shortages the Soviet state regularly confronted a new challenge: glutted markets, overproducing factories, and excess commodities. Unlike shortages that were often vindicated by the official Bolshevik ideology as the people’s sacrifice on the road to the country’s industrialization and economic growth, excess and waste were endemic to the malfunctioning of a command economy but far more difficult for authorities to explain and justify. By focusing on the emergence of socialist market research and consumer studies, the book explores how the economy of waste reshaped relationships between the state and its citizens. Laas received her PhD in History from Brandeis University in 2022. Her doctoral dissertation was supported by a Harriman Institute Carnegie Research Grant and a Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship from Brandeis, among others.
Dr. Vlasenko is a postdoctoral fellow who studies electoral politics and democratization with specialization in politics of Ukraine and Russia. Her monograph project, ‘The Electoral Effects of Decentralization: Evidence from Ukraine’ investigates how decentralization reform affects electoral mobilization and diversity in a weakly institutionalized democracy. Vlasenko is particularly interested in transitional period reforms, propaganda, legislative politics, and forecasting. Her research has been published in the Journal of Politics. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at Florida State University in 2022, M.A. in Political Science from Florida State University in 2018, M.A. in International Relations from New York University in 2016, and M.Sc. in European Affairs from Lund University in 2013, and B.A. in Political Science from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in 2011. In 2020-2021, she worked at Hertie School in Berlin as a visiting researcher. In 2014-2016, Vlasenko was a Fulbright scholar at New York University. At Florida State University, she taught courses on comparative politics and post-Soviet studies.
Dr. Kuleva is a sociologist of culture, interested in exploring social inequalities in the art world and cultural industries in Russia and the UK. Primarily, she works as an ethnographer to discover the ‘behind the scenes’ of cultural institutions to give greater visibility to the invisible workers of culture. Kuleva received her PhD in art sociology from the National Research University Higher School of Economics in collaboration with Bielefeld University in 2019. The dissertation entailed a comparative study of the careers and professional identities of young cultural workers in visual art sectors in Moscow, St Petersburg and London. Based on more than 70 in-depth interviews, it was one of the first systematic studies of post-Soviet creative labour. Some findings from these studies were recently presented in journal publications including Cultural Studies (2018) and International Journal of Cultural Studies (2019), as well as European Journal of Cultural Studies (2022). Her current research project, The Right to Be Creative, focuses on hidden political struggles at contemporary Russian cultural institutions. Dr. Kuleva previously worked at National Research University Higher School of Economics as an Associate Professor and held the position of Chair of the Department of Design and Contemporary Art in St Petersburg. In 2019-2020, Kuleva was a fellow of the Center for Art, Design and Social Research (Boston, Massachusetts). As a researcher, artist, and curator, she has collaborated with a number of Russian and international cultural institutions, including Manifesta Biennale, Pushkin House in London, Boston Center for the Arts, Garage MoCA, Goethe Institute, Helsinki Art Museum, Street Art Museum, Ural Industrial Biennale and New Holland St. Petersburg.
We are also very excited to announce the arrival of our new Distinguished Journalist in Residence, Dr. Yevgenia Albats! Dr. Albats will be speaking at the Center and throughout NYC in the fall and spring, and will teach courses in the Politics and Journalism Departments in the Spring. Be on the lookout for more information regarding upcoming events with Dr. Albats.
Dr. Yevgenia M. Albats is a Russian investigative journalist, political scientist, author, and radio host. She has been Political Editor and then Editor-in-Chief and CEO of The New Times, a Moscow-based, Russian language independent political weekly, since 2007. On February 28 2022, Vladimir Putin blocked its website, just days after Russia invaded Ukraine. Despite that, Albats contines to run the newtimes.ru, and she kept reporting from Russia until she had to leave the country in the last week of August 2022 after she was fined for her coverage of the war with Ukraine and pronounced a foreign agent. Since 2004, Albats has hosted “Absolute Albats,” a talk-show on Echo Moskvy, the only remaining liberal radio station in Russia. The radio station was taken off the air a week after the war in Ukraine started. Albats moved her talk show to her YouTube channel that now has over 100k subscribers. Albats was an Alfred Friendly Press Fellow assigned to the Chicago Tribune in 1990, and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1993. She graduated from Moscow State University in 1980 and received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University in 2004. She has been a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) since its founding in 1996. Albats taught at Yale in 2003-2004. She was a full-time professor at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, teaching the institutional theory of the state and bureaucracy and theory of regimes, until 2011 when her courses were banned at the request of top Kremlin officials. In 2015 Albats was awarded Tufts University’s Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award. In 2017, Albats was chosen as an inaugural fellow at Kelly Writers House and Perry House at the University of Pennsylvania. From 2019-2020 she taught authoritarian politics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Albats is the author of the four independently researched books, including one on the history of the Russian political police, the KGB, whose graduates are running the country today. She has a daughter and claims Moscow, Russia as her home.
If you haven’t yet spent time at the Jordan Center, it’s never too early to start thinking about our 2023-2024 fellowship opportunities! Visit our website to learn more, and feel free to reach out with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, I would like to remind everyone that The Jordan Center Blog is always looking for pitches and submissions! Professor Maya Vinokour, blog editor, can be contacted directly at email@example.com. We welcome work on topics from all fields of academic inquiry relating to Russia.
If you appreciate the Jordan Center’s work and programming, online and in-person, consider making a financial contribution to help support our lectures, panels, fellowship programs, blog, and more. Any amount can help us further our goal of promoting awareness and understanding of Russia’s past, present, and future, in all its disciplinary and cultural manifestations. Details can be found on our website, and as always feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you all have a wonderful fall, and I look forward to seeing you at the Jordan Center!
Joshua A. Tucker