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8th Annual Aleksanteri Conference
December 10-12, 2008; the University of Helsinki, Finland


Contact Information
(Not for submissions):

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O.Box 42)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

phone +358-(0)9-191 23627
fax +358-(0)9-191 23615

Aleksanteri Conference <>

Keynote speakers

Download the keynote abstracts

Professor Linda J. Cook

Department of Political Science, Brown University , USA

Linda J. Cook is a Professor of Political Science at Brown University and an Associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University . Her main interests are in the politics of the Russian Federation and other post-Soviet and East European States with a focus on domestic and international influences of welfare states and their transformation, the relationship between democratization and social welfare, and comparative political representations of labour, women and NGOs. She has authored The Soviet Social Contract and Why it Failed (Harvard University Press 1993); Labor and Liberalization: Trade Union in the New Russia (20th Century Fund 1997); and Postcommunist Welfare States: Reform Politics in Russia and Eastern Europe (Cornell University Press 2007).


Director Elena Gapova

Centre for Gender Studies, European Humanities University, (Vilnius, Lithuania / Minsk, Belarus) / Western Michigan University (USA)

Elena Gapova is Director of the Centre for Gender Studies in the European Humanist University in Belorussia and Lithuania and is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology at Western Michigan University (USA). In 2007 she visited the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES) at Södertörn University , Sweden . She writes extensively on gender, nation, class and intellectuals in post-communism. She is editor, among others, of Women at the Edge of Europe (Minsk 2003) and co-editor (with Sibelan Forrester and Magdalena Zaborowska) of Over the Wall / After the Fall: Post-Communist Cultures through East-West Gaze ( Indiana University Press 2004), and she is a board member of the Slavic Review.


Professor Elena R. Iarskaia-Smirnova

Department of Social Anthropology and Social Work, Saratov State Technical University ( Russia )

Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova, Doctor of Sociological Sciences, is a Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology and Social Work at Saratov State Technical University and academic advisor at the Center for Social Policy and Gender Studies. She is co-editor of the Journal for Social Policy Studies. Iarskaja-Smirnova has published scholarly monographs and textbooks as well as numerous articles, in Russian and English, on social inequality, disability policies and social citizenship, the professionalisation of social work, gender and family and, moreover, on methodological issues inspired by anthropological approaches. Among the books she has edited (with

Pavel Romanov) is Social Policy and Social Work in Changing Russia, Moscow , INION RAS 2002.


Associate Professor Janet Elise Johnson

Department of Political Science, Brooklyn College , City University of New York ( USA )

Janet Elise Johnson is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Women's Studies at Brooklyn College , City University of New York. Her research – based on long-term fieldwork in Russia , other post-communist societies, and a variety of transnational spaces – examines gender politics, especially women's organizing, and gender violence policy. In 2007, she co-edited (with Jean C. Robinson) an anthology, Living Gender after Communism (Indiana University Press). Other publications have appeared in the NWSA Journal (2001), Politics & Policy (2006), and Social Politics (2007) as well as collections such as Post-Soviet Women Encountering Transition (2004), Ruling Russia (2005), and Russian Civil Society (2006). A new book, The Global Campaign against Gender Violence in Russia , is forthcoming from Indiana University Press in 2009.


Associate Professor Dagmar Kutsar

Institute of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Tartu ( Estonia )

Dagmar Kutsar is an Associate Professor of Social Policy and Head of the Unit of Family and Welfare Studies of the Institute of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Tartu . Her academic interests surround family, childhood and welfare research and policies (including poverty and social exclusion/inclusion, childhood relative deprivation and poverty, changing family structures and family decision-making), social indicators and social reporting (problems of international comparability) and European research policy. She has co-edited many books e.g. with Jensen, A.-M. et al. (2004)

Children in Ageing Europe , COST A19 Vol 1 and 2. Trondheim : Norwegian Centre for Child Research, and with Aasland A. et al. (1997) The Baltic Countries Revisited: Living Conditions and Comparative Challenges, the NORBALT Living Conditions Project, FAFO Report 230.


Associated Professor Vesselin Popov

Ethnographical Institute and Museum of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences , Sofia ( Bulgaria )

Vesselin Popov is a distinguished scholar in Roma studies. He has dissertated in ethnology and has published widely on the history, culture, folklore and identity formation of Roma people in Bulgaria and the neighbouring areas. His research interests also include present problems and issues, such as policy and community development, labour markets, social policy, children's education and the economic condition of Roma women. He is the Co-chair of the Minority Studies Society Studii Romani linked to the Archive ‘Studii Romani', which is a structural part of the overall library system of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Among his latest publications are The Roma between the Skylla of Marginalization and the Charybdis of

Exotization (in Social and Cultural Diversity of in Central and astern Europe : Old Factors and New, Multicultural Centre, Prague 2005) and Segmentation vs. Consolidation: The Example of Four Gypsy Groups in CIS (in Romani Studies 2004) (both with Elena Marushiakova).


Dr. Kate Thomson

Faculty of Health, Birmingham City University , UK

Kate Thomson is Senior Lecturer in Health Policy and Sociology in the Faculty of Health, Birmingham City University , UK . Her research interests include sociological and policy issues in the field of welfare in Russia , UK and transnational contexts with specific reference to services and support for disabled children. Her published work focuses on welfare mechanisms in all forms including state policies and services, the developing voluntary sector, and informal support networks. She is also interested in methodological questions about negotiating the post-Soviet field and her focus is on micro-level case studies. She has published on these themes, i.e. Regional Welfare System Developments in Russia : Community and Social Services (in Social Policy and Administration, 2002) and Disability

Organization in the (Russian) Regions (in Russian Civil Society: A Critical Assessment, eds. Evans et al., M.E. Sharpe 2006) After graduating from the University of Wales, she completed her postgraduate studies at the University of Birmingham's Centre for Russian & East European Studies.