Visiting Fellows 2013-2014
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental
Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK
“The Housing Question and the Production of Uneven Urban Spatialities in Post-Soviet
Moscow and Russia”
Dr Anna Badyina is a Research Fellow at the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, the University of Birmingham and a Visiting Research Associate, the University of Oxford. She holds an MSc in the Built Environment from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and a Doctorate in Human Geography from the University of Oxford. She previously worked professionally in the development industry. Since 2008, she has also served as Consultant and Adviser to the UN agencies, including UN-HABITAT and UNECE (UN Economic Commission for Europe), on matters of housing policy, sustainable housing, land management and spatial planning.
Her research lies at the interface between human geography, sociology and urban and housing studies, involving in particular: (a) spatial politico-economic perspectives on housing and societal transformations under post-socialism; (b) understanding the impacts of new urban politics on socio-spatial inequalities; and (c) sustainability and resilience of housing and urban environment. The outcome of her research is published in international journals such as, for example, Urban Studies and Geografiska Annaler B and in other international outlets and edited books. She co-authored a number of the UNECE Country Profiles on the Housing Sector – the major international policy reviews of housing affairs in respective countries. She is also a co-author of a book on Self-Made Cities published by UNECE, which reviews the problem of informal and substandard housing across Europe and North America.
Abstract of current research:
At Aleksanteri Institute Anna Badyina will focus on preparing a book proposal on The Housing Question and the Production of Uneven Urban Spatialities in Post-Soviet Russia. This research advances the political-economic and socio-spatial perspectives on social reproduction in Russia, focusing on the field of housing. Building on the critical ontology of space, restructurings in the Russian housing domains are conceptualised as the key moments of socio-spatial praxis of capitalism and means of class transformation. Housing is seen as a central facet of ‘the web of life’- a key socio-spatial and material arena through which the new socio-economic order is established and reproduced, while bringing various contradictions. The new order subjects the hitherto socialist residential structures to the praxis of ‘accumulation by dispossession’ by which the old geography of housing is being fragmented and exploited to produce a scarcity of quality residential life and thus leading to the opportunities for generating and extracting extra profits. Constitutive to these processes are new housing ideologies and practices that restructure the 'old' geography of housing at different scales and spatialities.
Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen and Markus Kainu
Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Department of Comparative Politics
“Multilevel Policy of the EU Towards Russia and Russia’s Possible Responses"
Irina Busygina is Professor of Comparative Politics at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and European Studies Institute at MGIMO. She also heads the Center for Regional Political Studies at MGIMO. Her main spheres of research include EU-Russia relations, regional development and regional policy in Russia and the EU (comparatively) and also federalism in EU and Russia. At MGIMO and ESI Irina Busygina currently teaches the courses “Political Geography”, “Regional and local development”, “Political geography of the EU”. Over the several last years, she have conducted extensive research – both individually and with co-authors – connecting challenges of globalization for the Russian domestic and foreign policies with the need of political modernization. Her most recent book is Political Modernization of the State in Russia, published in 2012 by Liberal Mission Foundation (in Russian, with Mikhail Filippov).
Abstract of current research:
A number of scholars have stressed the importance of the multilevel nature of EU-Russia relations, focusing on the interactions between the all-Union institutions and the Russian government, on the Russian bilateral relations with member-states and on the cross-border cooperation at sub-national level. Taking this ‘multilevelness’ as a premise, I make an attempt to find an answer to the following questions. First, under given conditions, is it possible for the EU to come forward with coherent strategy towards Russia, and what are the constraints for shaping such a strategy? Second, how could Russia possibly respond to the policy initiatives from the EU side (taking into account that ‘multilevelness’ will grant Russia additional options)?
I argue that multilevel nature of the EU policy towards Russia will lead to significant asymmetry in ‘value added’ at different levels of interaction. In other words, ‘success’ at some levels and spheres will increase due to multilevel nature of policy (‘low politics’), while the same nature will considerably limit the progress at the other levels (‘high politics’, where the strategy should bedefined). As for Russia, it will definitively try to use this asymmetry playing different games at different levels. I’m going to illustrate my arguments with the cases of Northern Dimension, Ukrainian political crises and bilateral relations of Russia with Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom.
The concrete result of the stay is to prepare an article for a submission to an English language peer-reviewed journal.
Academic hosts: Markku Kangaspuro and Hanna Smith
Department of Political Science, Tulane University, New Orleans, USA
“Dictatorship and Information: Autocratic Regime Resilience in Communist Europe and China”
(August 2013, May-June2014)
Martin Dimitrov is Associate Professor of Political Science at Tulane University. His books include Piracy and the State: The Politics of Intellectual Property Rights in China (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and Why Communism Did Not Collapse: Understanding Authoritarian Regime Resilience in Asia and Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2013). He is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Dictatorship and Information: Autocratic Regime Resilience in Communist Europe and China. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University in 2004 and previously taught at Dartmouth College. He is a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations and has held residential fellowships at the American Academy in Berlin; the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Notre Dame; the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford; the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard; and the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard.
Abstract of current research:
One of the fundamental problems of governance in autocracies results from the dictator’s dilemma, which refers to the inability of autocrats to obtain accurate information on their level of popular support (Wintrobe 1998). In the absence of such information, insecure autocrats resort to frequent repression. However, repression only exacerbates the information problem and increases the probability that autocracies would collapse through unexpected coups or revolutions.
My book project focuses on communist autocracies, which are the most durable type of non-democratic regime to emerge since World War I. The striking longevity of communist autocracies suggests that they have found ways to solve the dictator’s dilemma. These solutions, however, are different from the ones that have been offered in the new literature on comparative authoritarianism, which emphasizes competitive elections, protests, and commercialized media as avenues for resolving the information problem in autocracies. I argue that because of their potential to undermine regime stability, these channels cannot be used for routine information gathering on levels of popular discontent in communist autocracies.
Based on a large corpus of materials that I collected at the Bulgarian and Chinese archives (complemented by materials from the East German and Soviet archives), my book offers a new theory of the channels through which communist autocracies solve the dictator’s dilemma. These documents reveal the actual internal understandings of communist leaders of the information problem and of the strategies that they developed to alleviate it. I argue that information on levels of popular support is gathered involuntarily and voluntarily. The involuntary collection of information is executed by the state security apparatus, by the communist party, by journalists (who write internal reports on the mood of the public that are not for publication), and through opinion polling. In turn, citizen petitions and complaints serve as the main avenue for the voluntary provision of information. My book argues that the involuntarily and voluntarily provided information is used to guide decisions about the targeting of repression and concessions in communist autocracies. The book develops a theory of the collection, transmission, and use of information in communist autocracies both during normal times and during times of crisis. The theory is developed through an in-depth study of pre-1989 Eastern Europe (in particular, I focus on the case of Bulgaria) and is tested through the case of post-1949 China.
My plan for my stay at the Aleksanteri Institute is to complete the final draft of the book manuscript and to send it out for review.
Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Katalin Miklossy and Suvi Kansikas
Free University of Berlin, Institute for East European Studies/ Center for Global Politics, Germany
“From Crisis to Development: Putin’s Narrative of Stability”
(January 2014-March 2014)
Julia Gerlach has been a research fellow at the Institute for East European Studies at Freie Universität Berlin since 2007. Her main fields of teaching and research are political change and the nexus of politics and religion in Eastern Europe. Also, she has been involved in the cooperation with partner universities abroad, coordinating the certificate program “German Studies Russia” and the Russian-German double Master’s program in “International Relations” with Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO). Julia has been trained as a political scientist. She holds a MA in Political Science from University of Bonn and a PhD from University of Chemnitz. Her PhD that analyzes how democracies cope with the challenge of extremism has been published in German in 2012 (“Das Vereinsverbot der streitbaren Demokratie. Verbieten oder Nicht-Verbieten?”). She is currently working on co-editing a collection titled “Under Construction. The Role of Religion in Eastern Europe Today” with Jochen Toepfer.
Abstract of current research:
The aim of this research project is to make sense of political Russia’s path since the year 2000 by analyzing and modelling Vladimir Putin’s narrative of stability (стабильность) as presented to the public during the presidential election campaign of 2012. The hypothesis is that this narrative reflects the fundamental political approach of the Putin administration in a nutshell and thus, can contribute to explaining Russia’s recent and possibly future political development. The narrative includes both, diagnosis of and therapy for political Russia, and is imagined as a precondition for the future development of the country. The narrative of stability and the promotion of in-stability and crises scenarios by the elites as a threat have shaped political culture in Russia, and both instigated and legitimized changes in leadership, polity, and policy in the domestic, the ‘near abroad’, and the global spheres.
Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Vladimir Gelman, Jouni Järvinen
Department of Slavic & East European Languages & Cultures, The Ohio State University, USA
“Graphic Ideology: The Soviet Poster from Stalin to Yeltsin”
(15 February-15 April 2014)
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Helena Goscilo received her early education in England at Rugby Grammar School, her BA from Queens College in New York, and her graduate degrees from Indiana University. After teaching many years in the Slavic Department at the University of Pittsburgh, in 2009 she accepted a position as Professor and Chair of Slavic at the Ohio State University, which she currently holds. Most of her scholarship in recent years has focused on gender and culture in Russia, with an emphasis on the contemporary period, though she has published on 18th, 19th, and 20th -century culture, the topics ranging across art, music, graphics, gesture, gender politics, celebrity studies, and film. Her volumes in the last five years include Gender and National Identity in 20th Century Russian Culture (2006; with Andrea Lanoux), Preserving Petersburg: History, Memory, Nostalgia (2008; with Stephen Norris), Cinepaternity: Fathers and Sons in Soviet and Post-Soviet Film (2010; with Yana Hashamova), Celebrity and Glamour in Contemporary Russia: Shocking Chic (2011; with Vlad Strukov), Putin as Celebrity and Cultural Icon (2012), and Embracing Arms: Cultural Representations of Slavic and Balkan Women in War (2012; with Yana Hashamova). Currently she is working with Vlad Strukov on a collection of articles on the visual depiction of Russian/Soviet aviation.
Abstract of current research:
Titled Graphic Ideology: The Soviet Poster from Stalin to Yeltsin, my envisioned book offers a comprehensive analysis of the poster from the 1930s through the 1980s as a genre ideally suited to the state’s imperative of molding Soviet identity and everyday values while propagating the political ideology that fueled them. The study strongly argues for the indivisibility of aesthetics and ideology across all categories of poster—whether iconic images of Stalin, visuals inseparable from propaganda campaigns, advertisements for consumer goods, or announcements of cultural events. Key questions inevitably raised by my presiding thesis include the following: What was the precise nature of state supervision of poster production throughout its history? How did individual graphic artists negotiate between a mandatory ideology and their artistic convictions? In which category of poster were they particularly successful, and why?
Academic hosts: Sanna Turoma and Saara Ratilainen
Human and Social Studies Foundation, Sofia, Bulgaria
“Growing up with Solidarity: The Cold War Roots of Post-communist Populism”
Tom Junes holds a PhD in History from the University of Leuven (2011) where he was a lecturer in Polish history. As a post-doctoral researcher he has had fellowships in Warsaw, Vienna, and Budapest, and is at present a scholarly collaborator with the Human and Social Studies Foundation in Sofia. His research focuses on student political activity during the Cold War, communist inter-party relations during the Cold War, and populism in Eastern Europe. His monograph Generations of Change. Student Politics in Communist Poland, 1944-1989 is forthcoming with Lexington Books with a Polish version set to be published by the Institute of National Remembrance in Poland. He is also preparing a monograph on the relations of the Polish United Workers’ Party with European communist parties. Other recent publications include "The Demise of Communism in Poland: A Staged Evolution or Failed Revolution?" in The 1989 Revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe: From Communism to Post- Communism edited by Kevin McDermott and Matthew Stibbe, (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013); "Oppositional Student Politics in Poland and South Africa: Youth Rebellion as a Factor in the Demise of Communism and Apartheid." in Studia Historyczne LV, no. 3-4 (219-220) (2012); and "Copycat Tactics" in Processes of Regime Change: The Demise of Communism in Poland and Apartheid in South Africa," co-authored with Adrian Guelke in Критика и Хуманизъм/Critique & Humanism no. 40 (2012): 171-92 [Bulgarian version in Социологически проблеми/Sociological problems no. XLIV-I (2012)].
Abstract of current research:
During my visiting fellowship at the Aleksanteri Institute, I will be researching the origins of the ideas that lay behind the rise of populism in post-communist countries from a Cold War era perspective based upon a case study of Poland. My research project starts from the observation that the rise of populism in Poland and other countries in Central Europe - most recently in Hungary - possesses some specific traits that warrant it to be typed a strand of its own. While the post-communist transition period, roughly between 1989 and 2004, has certainly played its role in this process, I will argue that a specific generational experience during late socialism provided the rationale through which present-day Central European politicians perceive their actions and policies. Borrowing a paradigm set from recent studies on the ‘populist challenge of democratic illiberalism’ in countries such as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria, my research will first venture into the political activity of anti-communist students in the final decade of the communist regime in Poland and subsequently explore the linkages that exist between that activity and the populist politics in Poland of the past decade.
Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Suvi Kansikas and Mila Oiva
Russian Academy of Sciences, St.-Petersburg, Russia
“The Multiple Modernities Perspective in Historical Sociology and Russia’s Post-Communist Transformations”
Mikhail Maslovskiy is a Senior Researcher at the Sociological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences (St.-Petersburg). He has an M.A. (University of Warwick, 1995) and a Doctor of Science (2004) degrees in Sociology. In 2009 he received a professorship at Nizhny Novgorod State University. He is the author of six books and numerous articles in Russian journals on Max Weber’s political theory, contemporary sociological theories, historical sociology, sociology of law and political sociology. His recent articles on new theoretical approaches in historical sociology and their application to Russian society have been published in such periodicals as Sotsiologicheskii zhurnal, Mir Rossii, Politicheskaya nauka and in the book Max Weber and Russia (Aleksanteri Series 2/2010). At different stages of his career he received grants of the British Council, Open Society Institute and other foundations. Professor Maslovskiy is an Aleksanteri Fellowship alumnus. In November 2012 he was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Glasgow.
Abstract of current research:
My current research project is aimed at theoretical reconstruction of the multiple modernities perspective on post-communist societies. The objective of the proposed study is to contribute to sociological conceptualisation of the transformation processes in post-Soviet Russia on the basis of the multiple modernities approach. One of the project’s goals is to transcend the boundaries between theoretically oriented historical sociology and the mainstream perspectives on post-Soviet transformations. The project draws on Johann P. Arnason’s version of the multiple modernities theory that considers both cultural and political aspects of civilisational dynamics and devotes sufficient attention to unintended consequences of human actions.
The main sources of the project include Arnason’s writings on civilisational analysis and the Soviet model of modernity; historical studies focused on civilisational and imperial traits of the Soviet system; sociological studies of social and cultural obstacles to modernisation in post-communist Russia. In the project the social and political processes in Russia will be analysed as a case of path dependency which is both post-communist and post-imperial. At the same time it will be argued that Arnason’s critical theory of modernity that emphasises the role of social creativity allows us to discuss the possibility of changing the existing trends. From this perspective the rise of new social movements may have a crucial impact on the future course of Russia’s modernisation.
The research project will result in publication of a book in English. During the visit to Aleksanteri Institute I intend to work on the manuscript of one of the book’s chapters and to collect materials for another chapter.
Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Markku Kangaspuro and Kaarina Aitamurto
Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Sweden
“The Concept of Civilisation in Contemporary Russia”
Kåre Johan Mjør (b. 1973) defended his PhD at the University of Bergen in 2009, and has in the period 2011–2013 been a postdoctoral research fellow at the Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University. His postdoc project has examined the canon of Russian philosophy – its creation at the turn of the twentieth century and its maintenance in post-Soviet Russia – and the results of this project will be published as two separate articles in 2013/2014. Otherwise, his main research interest so far has been Russian historiography: of philosophy, of culture and ideas, as well as of the Russian nation. He is the author of Reformulating Russia: The Cultural and Intellectual Historiography of Russian First-Wave Émigré Writers (Brill, 2011), a book that analyses the histories of Georgii Fedotov, Georgii Florovskii, Nikolai Berdiaev and Vasilii Zenskovskii. He has also published articles on the historiography of late imperial Russia (first and foremost Vasilii Kliluchevskii), on post-Soviet philosophical culture (the reception here of Berdiaev and Fedotov) and on the Russian Internet and its digitization projects. His first academic publication was a book on Lev Tolstoy (University of Bergen, 2002). His most recent research projects focus on Russian conceptual history, with particular emphasis on the notions of “Russian civilisation” and the “Russian Idea.” He is also embarking on a comprehensive analysis of the concept of tvorchestvo in Russian thought, from Vladimir Solov’ev to Mikhail Bakhtin.
Abstract of current research:
The idea and concept of a “Russian civilisation” became popular in Russian academic, religious and public discourses during the 1990s, and this so-called “civilisational turn,” where various facets of Russian culture became subject to holistic and at times also politicised approaches, has been interpreted as a substitute for the abandoned ideology of Marxism-Leninism. Nevertheless, the notion appears to have survived the immediate period of transition and has remained influential also after the turn of the millennium among Russian public intellectuals, within the Russian Orthodox church as well as in more traditional academic venues. And when the then prime minister Vladimir Putin in January 2012 declared that Russia was a “unique civilisation,” the concept gained actuality again.
The research that I will carry out during my fellowship period at the Aleksanteri Institute explores the most current uses of “Russian civilisation,” in particular among public intellectuals and academic writers. I will focus on what Boris Kapustin calls the “big discourse”: the scholarly literature on civilisation in contemporary Russia, which in turn may influence the “small discourse” of politics – of which the Putin article may serve as an example. The material for the project include recent books by Sergei Redkozubov and Nikolai Sokolov (2008), Sergei Kara-Murza (2011), Igor’ Iakovenko and Aleksandr Muzykantskii (2011) and Valerii Il’in (2009). I will also analyse the nationalist think tank “Institute for Russian civilisation” (www.rusinst.ru), which has been responsible for several series of contemporary studies as well as of new editions of classical texts in Russian thought, which are hereby presented to the Russian audience as “theories” of Russian civilisation.
The project analyses the meanings of the notion of “civilisation” itself, its temporal orientation (is it a project or does it already exist?), the notions of modernity that it embodies, and its function within the overall framework of post-Soviet identity formation.
Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Markku Kangaspuro and Jukka Pietiläinen
Institute of Philosophy, Philipps-University of Marburg, Germany
“"Homo Sovieticus": The Origin of a New Soviet Man”
Maja Soboleva is a Private Lecturer and Research Associate of Philosophy at Philipps-University of Marburg, Germany. She studied chemistry in St. Petersburg and philosophy in St. Petersburg, Erlangen and Marburg. She received her doctoral degree in chemistry in 1992, a PhD in philosophy in 2000 and habilitated in philosophy in St. Petersburg in 2005. She was the Mildred Miller Fort Foundation Visiting Scholar in European Studies at Columbus State University (USA) in 2008/2009. In 2010, she habilitated in the Philipps-University of Marburg. Maja Soboleva is an author of several books, including: Die Philosophie Michail Bachtins: Von der existenziellen Ontologie zur dialogischen Vernunft (Hildesheim, 2010); Aleksandr Bogdanov und der philosophische Diskurs in Russland zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts. Zur Geschichte des russischen Positivismus (Hildesheim, 2007); Russische Philosophie im Kontext der Interkulturalität (Nordhausen, 2007); Philosophy as a “Critique of Language” in Germany (St. Petersburg, 2005). She has contributed to a numerous peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes, including Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, Russian Studies in Philosophy, Transcultural Studies: A Series in Interdisciplinary Research, New Contributions to Dilthey’s Philosophy of the Human Sciences. Her arias of specialization are epistemology, philosophy of language, and history of philosophy. Her arias of competence are dialogical philosophy, philosophy of symbolic forms, phenomenology, and theory of meaning, hermeneutics, philosophy of culture, Marxism, and Russian philosophy.
Abstract of current research:
During her visit at the Aleksanteri Institute, Dr. Soboleva will be studying and preparing the paper “Homo Sovieticus”: The Origin of a New Soviet Man for publication. This project focuses on one important aspect of social modernization of Soviet Russia, namely the creation of a new Soviet man. By the interpretation of the concept “Soviet man”, the political concept should be differentiated from the ethical concept. The current project is aimed at the reconstruction of the history of this ethical concept. The hypothesis is that there are three periods in the theoretical reflection on the nature of a new man. The first period, the 1920s, is connected with the theoretical debate between Lenin and Bogdanov concerning the idea of the proletarian culture. The second period, the 1930s and 1950s, can be characterized as a development of the normative morality. This approach tends to a normative ethics which codify the criteria, principles, and norms adapted to a given political system. The third period, the 1960s, is constituted by the transition of ethical thought from moral ideology to moral theory. The Soviet ethics as a theoretical discipline emerged. The thesis that the ethical concept of a Soviet man is a late product of the Soviet thought should be proved in line with the current research. This research project should provide new insights about one specific aspect of the ideological modernization in the Soviet Russia. The result of this project may help to render more precisely the notion “Soviet man”, and to grasp the real praxis of ideological transformations. The category of the “Soviet man” can be integrated into understanding of the Cold War history under the aspect of cultural productions on the ideological front. It reflects also the dynamic in the self-understanding of the soviet society.
Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Mila Oiva, Sanna Turoma
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, London
Metropolitan University, UK
“In the Shadow of the State. Street Societies in Russia”
Dr Svetlana Stephenson is a Reader in Sociology at London Metropolitan University. She has worked at the Russian Centre for Public Opinion Research (Levada centre), and as Leverhulme Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Essex. She holds a Candidate of Sociology degree from the Institute of Sociology, the Russian Academy of Sciences. She is the author of Crossing the Line. Vagrancy, Homelessness and Social Displacement in Russia, Ashgate, 2006. In 2012 she co-edited a book on Youth and Social Change in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, Routledge. Her research has been published in Radical Philosophy, Criminal Justice Matters, Journal of Youth Studies, The Sociological Review, Europe-Asia Studies, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, Slavic Review, Social Justice Research and Work, Employment and Society, among others. Her research has involved studying disadvantaged social groups in Russia and their social organisation (street children and adult homeless people, youth gangs, child labourers and sex workers), as well as perceptions of social justice and human rights in a comparative context.
Abstract of current research:
Svetlana is currently working on a book on criminal gangs and street social organisations in Russia. The book looks at the historical foundations of street social orders and at collective self-production of non-violent, violent and criminal groups. The evolution of street groups in Russia in certain historical periods is analysed as part of the order-building project at the macro and micro levels, when a group or a network can strive to create governance from below, resolve the uncertainties and threats arising from endogenous and exogenous violence and find opportunities for collective self-reproduction. In so doing, some of the groups develop regimes of mutual accommodation with other power agents in the outside world. The book approaches the members of these groups not as displaced individuals, struggling to navigate social chaos, but as purposeful agents looking to re-place themselves in social structure and build legible social order at the margins of society. The book is predominantly based on the analysis of qualitative in-depth interviews with members of various violent and non-violent street networks and groups, and experts from NGOs, the police, local and central authorities in Moscow and Kazan.
During her fellowship at the Aleksanteri Institute in August and September 2013 Svetlana will work on the theoretical chapter of her book.
Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Meri Kulmala and Kaarina Aitamurto
San Francisco State University, Departments of Political Science and International Relations, USA
“The Discourse of Civilization in Russia's Foreign Policy”
Andrei P. Tsygankov is Professor at the departments of Political Science and International Relations at San Francisco State University. Tsygankov is a contributor to both Western and Russian academia. In the West, he co-edited several collective projects and published multiple books, including Russia’s Foreign Policy (2006, the second edition, 2010, the third edition, 2013), Anti-Russian Lobby and American Foreign Policy (2009), and Russia and the West from Alexander to Putin (2012), as well as many journal articles. In Russia, his best known books are Russian Science of International Relations (2005, co-edited with Pavel Tsygankov, also published in Germany and China), Sociology of International Relations (2006, co-authored with Pavel Tsygankov, also published in China), and Russian International Theory (2013). Tsygankov also contributed to policy and media publications, including Asian Survey, Moscow Times, Politique étrangère, Russia in Global Affairs, Russian Analytical Digest , and others. Tsygankov consulted various publishers and state agencies, and he served as Program Chair of International Studies Association (ISA), 2006-07.
Abstract of current research:
The central objective of the proposed project is to understand the growing shift of Russia toward the language of a local civilization or distinct values and self-sufficient culture as opposed to the earlier emphasis on values similar to the West or state sovereignty in international politics. Today, the vision of Russia as a civilization in the world of competitive cultural visions is increasingly advocated in public speeches by prominent officials. Behind the policy emphases on building the Eurasian Union, resisting Western interventions in the Middle East, or turning to Asia-Pacific region are not only considerations of economic development and balance of power, but also those of Russia’s resurgence as a state-civilization.
Russia’s turn to the language of civilization should be understood in the context of several inter-related global, regional, and domestic developments. Globally, Russia confronts the ongoing efforts by the United States to spread democratization across the world and present the Western values as superior to those of the rest of the world. Regionally, Russia is threatened by the fear of radicalized and militant Islam. The collapse of the Soviet state ended the appeal of the communist trans-national idea and created a vacuum of values. The growing influence of Islamist ideologies, rising immigration from Muslim-dominated former Soviet republics and desolation in the North Caucasus have created a dangerous environment.
In researching the topic, I would like to (1) deliniate key elements of Russia’s civilizational thinking as established in the country’s intellectual currents; (2) conduct a discourse-analysis of main speeches by Russia’s officials from the perspective of their emphasis on distinct values of a special civilization; (3) select several case-studies for a closer investigation. While at Aleksanteri Institute, I plan to conduct interviews with experts on Russia’s international policies and take advantage of the University of Helsinki’s libraries.
Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Markku Kangaspuro and Hanna Smith
University of California, Berkeley, Department of Anthropology, USA
“Lenin's body: the politics of science and history”
Alexei Yurchak is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation (Princeton University Press, 2006), which won the 2007 Vucinich Book Prize for the most important contribution to Russian, Eurasian, and East European studies from ASEEES. The Russian version of this book (translated, rewritten and expanded by the author) is being published by Neprekosnovennyi zapas in Spring 2014. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Representations. At the Aleksanteri Institute he is working on a book on the history and present of the Soviet project of preserving Lenin’s body and the bodies of a few other communist leaders for eternity. The project is interdisciplinary (situated between anthropology, history, political theory and science studies). He is also working on a series of papers, and eventually a book, on current political art in Russia and elsewhere, and on a book (co-authored with a geographer) on urban transformation, entitled “Global St Petersburg: The Politics of Time, Space, and Aesthetics In a Post-Communist Metropolis.” His published papers can be viewed here: https://berkeley.academia.edu/AlexeiYurchak
Abstract of current research:
My project, “Lenin’s Body: the politics of science and history”, investigates the political, scientific and cultural aspects of the unique Soviet project of maintaining Lenin’s body in the Mausoleum in Moscow for the past 90 years, and the implications of this project for the debates about Russia’s political identity today. This project is based on ethnographic research and interviews with the scientists of “Lenin Lab” in Moscow, archival research in three Russian state archives, and analysis of the contemporary political debates in Russia about the fate of Lenin’s body.
Although the Russian state today no longer makes references to Leninism for political legitimacy, the Mausoleum remains open to the public and Lenin’s body is still maintained and treated in the same manner as it has been for ninety years. In recent years this body has become a focal point of a fierce debate about Russia’s emerging political identity. Depending on one’s position in this debate, one tends to have a different opinion about what the preservation of Lenin’s body has meant historically and what its fate should be today. Why has Lenin’s body – but, significantly, not his texts, words and ideas – become one of the most controversial subjects in the debates about Russia’s past and future? What is the contemporary political, cultural and scientific significance of this body? What might be its future?
My project addresses these questions by focusing on the debates around Lenin’s body and on material and scientific practices that have shaped it. During my stay at Aleksanteri Institute I will be working on two final chapters of this book project and doing research in the “Glasnost Collection” of the Slavonic Library of Helsinki University.
Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Anna-Liisa Heusala and Sanna Turoma