Current Post-Doctoral Fellows
Nataliia Laas, September 2022-August 2023
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.
Anastasiia Vlasenko, September 2022-August 2023
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.
Margarita Kuleva, December 2022-November 2023
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.
Past Post-Doctoral Fellows
Nikolay Erofeev, March 2022-May 2022
Dr. Erofeev is an architectural historian whose work focuses on socialist architecture and urban planning. His monograph project, ‘Architecture and housing in the Comecon’ looks at architecture and urbanisation patterns produced by global socialism. Combining in-depth scrutiny of the design of the built environment with an analysis of the everyday processes of subject-making that shaped the socialist project in Mongolia, the project aims to provide a new understanding of the urban and domestic spaces produced in the Global South. Erofeev received his D.Phil (PhD) in History from the University of Oxford in 2020 where he was a Hill Foundation Scholar and his specialist degree (M.A.) in the History of Art from the Moscow State University in 2014. His doctoral project discussed the design and production of prefabricated mass housing in the Soviet Union and argued the architectural story of this understudied ‘bureaucratic modernism’ represents a much more creative and influential development in the history of modern architecture as a whole. Erofeev had academic appointments at Manchester Metropolitan University where he was teaching Master of Architecture dissertations. Erofeev is currently conducting research at the University of Basel as a postdoctoral fellow supported by the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship.
Jennifer Flaherty, September 2020-August 2021
Dr. Flaherty is a postdoctoral fellow specializing in nineteenth- and twentieth- century Russian literature, culture and intellectual history, with current research interests in Hegel’s influence on Russian thought as well as labor theory. Her book project on representations of peasants investigates how the stylistic innovations of nineteenth-century Russian literature express the tensions of modernity that lie at the heart of its agrarian myth. She received her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of California at Berkeley in 2019, her M.A. in Humanities from the University of Chicago in 2010, and her B.A. in Philosophy from Appalachian State University in North Carolina. She’s had academic appointments as a visiting assistant professor in the department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the College of William of Mary, and as a lecturer at in the Slavic department at UC Berkeley. Flaherty has conducted research as an American Councils Fellow in Moscow and with Harvard’s Institute for World Literature. Her doctoral dissertation received support from UC Berkeley’s Townsend Center for Humanities. She has a forthcoming article in The Russian Review and has published in Tolstoy Studies Journal and PMLA.
Emily Laskin, September 2022-August 2023
Dr. Laskin specializes in the literature of Central Asia, working extensively in Russian and Persian. Her current book project, No Man’s Land: The Geopoetics of Modern Central Asia, focuses on the literature of the so-called Great Game, the Russo-British rivalry for influence in Central Asia, putting Russian and British imperial writing on Central Asia in dialogue with contemporaneous Persian literature published across the region, from Kabul, to Bukhara, to Istanbul. Laskin’s recent work on the literature of the Great Game appears in Novel: A Forum on Fiction, and she is an editor of the forthcoming volume Tulips in Bloom: An Anthology of Modern Central Asian Literature. She received her Ph.D. in 2021 in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and also holds an M.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from Columbia University. Her doctoral dissertation was supported by a Mellon/ACLS fellowship and a Berkeley Dean’s Fund grant for archival research in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Vladimir Ryzhkovskyi, November 2020-October 2021
Dr. Ryzhkovskyi studied Russian, Soviet and East European history in Ukraine, Russia, and the US, where he recently earned a PhD from Georgetown University. By foregrounding the link between empire, culture, and knowledge, Ryzhkovskyi’s research probes the place of Russia and the Soviet Union within global history, particularly in relation to forms of Western imperialism and colonialism. His current book project, Soviet Occidentalism: Medieval Studies and the Restructuring of Imperial Knowledge in Twentieth-Century Russia, explores the twentieth-century history of medieval studies in late imperial and Soviet Russia as a model for demonstrating the crucial importance of Soviet appropriation of Western culture and knowledge in the post-revolutionary reconstituting and maintaining the empire following 1917. In addition to pursuing the imperial and postcolonial theme in the history of Soviet modernity, Ryzhkovskyi has published articles and essays on the history of late imperial and Soviet education, the history of late Soviet intelligentsia, and Soviet philosophy. A volume of unpublished writings by the Soviet historian and philosopher Boris Porshnev, co-edited with Artemy Magun, is forthcoming from the European University Press in 2021.
Delgerjargal Uvsh, November 2020-October 2021
Dr. Uvsh received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2020. She conducts research and teaches primarily in the field of comparative politics, with a focus on post-Soviet politics, the political economy of natural-resource dependence, institutional and regime change, and research methods. Using Russia as a critical case, Delgerjargal’s book project, “Reversal of the Resource Curse? Negative Revenue Shocks and Development in Russia and Beyond,” develops a theory of when and how declines in natural-resource revenue (negative revenue shocks) incentivize political elites to support private business activity and reverse the “resource curse.” Delgerjargal expanded her interest in the relationship between natural resources and institutional changes in a forthcoming book chapter, where she explores the short-term effects of negative revenue shocks on political regimes. Another extension, published in Land Use Policy, analyzes novel satellite data on forest-cover change in western Russian regions and shows that the dynamics of forest growth and deforestation have been different in the first versus the second decade of Russia’s transition. You can read more about Delgerjargal’s work at www.delgerjargaluvsh.com.
Sasha de Vogel, September 2021-August 2022
Dr. de Vogel studies the politics of authoritarian regimes and collective action, particularly in Russia and the post-Soviet region. Her research examines when and why autocratic regimes promise concessions to protestors, how these promises affect mobilization and their impact on policies. Her research underscores that reneging, or deliberately failing to implement concessions as promised, is a fundamental strategic dimension of concessions. Her book project focuses on protest campaigns against the Moscow City government about policy-related grievances in the mid-2010s. During this period, more protest campaigns were promised a concession than experienced a detention, yet these concessions rarely resolved protesters’ grievances. Other research interests include comparative politics, authoritarian institutions, repression, authoritarian responsiveness and urban politics. Sasha received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Michigan in 2021, and also holds an MA in Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Regional Studies and a BA in Slavic Studies from Columbia University. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation/Harriman Institute, among others.