Melikian Faculty Affiliates

Margaret Hanson
POLITICS AND GLOBAL STUDIES
Assistant Professor
PhD, The Ohio State University
Research Interests:
Authoritarian governance, law and courts, formal and informal institutions, property rights, comparative political economy and development

Current research:  Margaret Hanson, Assistant Professor of Political Science, conducts research on autocracies, with an emphasis on the former Soviet Union. Specifically, she is interested in how formal and informal institutions interact to shape authoritarian governance; her work centers on the role of law, courts, and the procuracy. She is currently working on a book manuscript titled Managing the Predatory State: Law and Courts in Dictatorships. Focusing on three former Soviet republics, this project explores how dictators use law and courts to solve information problems, manage their subordinates, and curtail the threat of mass protests. She has additional projects that address the measurement of judicial corruption, judicial decision-making in post-Soviet constitutional and civil courts, law and state-building in the former USSR and China, Russian land privatization, and authoritarian investment in human capital. 

 

Ana Hedberg Olenina
INTERNATIONAL LETTERS AND CULTURES
Assistant Professor
PhD, Harvard University
Research Interests:
Twentieth-century Russian literature and film, with a focus on the Soviet avant-garde

Representation of dance in Dziga Vertov_s Man with a Movie Camera 1929Current research: Ana Hedberg Olenina, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Media Studies, is finalizing her book Psychomotor Aesthetics: Movement and Affect in Russian and American Modernity. In the late 19th century, neurophysiology introduced techniques for detecting somatic signs of psychological experiences. Scientific modes of recording, representing, and interpreting body movement as “expressive” soon found use in multiple cultural domains. Based on archival materials, this study charts the avenues by which physiological psychology reached the arts and evaluates institutional practices and political trends that promoted interdisciplinary engagements in the first quarter of the 20th century. In mapping the emergence of a paradigm I call “psychomotor aesthetics,” this study reveals how psychophysiology influenced film acting techniques, spurred the Russian and American film industries’ inquiries into spectators’ physical reactions, and prompted literary scholars to investigate poets’ and performers’ articulation. Among the authors discussed in this study are avant-garde filmmakers Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, and Lev Kuleshov, the inventor of the polygraph lie detector William Moulton Marston, formalist scholars Viktor Shklovskii, Boris Eikhenbaum, and Sergei Bernshtein, performance theorists Genevieve Stebbins and Sergei Volkonskii, psychologists Vladimir Bekhterev, Lev Vygotsky, and Hugo Munsterberg. Both a history and a critical project, the book attends to the ways in which artists and theorists dealt with the universalist fallacies inherited from biologically-oriented psychology – at times, endorsing the positivist, deterministic outlook, and at times, resisting, reinterpreting, and defamiliarizing these scientific notions. In exposing the vastness of cross-disciplinary exchange at the juncture of neurophysiology and the arts at the turn of the 20th century, Psychomotor Aesthetics calls attention to the tremendous cultural resonance of theories foregrounding the somatic substrate of emotional and cognitive experience – theories, which anticipate the promises and limitations of today’s neuroaesthetics and neuromarketing.

Professor Olenina's film course - Fall 2018.

Andi Hess
LEADERSHIP AND INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES
Instructor
M.S., Arizona State University
Research Interests:
Integration sciences and interdisciplinary theory and process, research methods and measurement, nationalism, and identity in post-communist Eastern Europe, as well as developing and leading study abroad programs in the Western Balkans.

Current research: Andi Hess is the Director of the Interdisciplinary Translation and Integration Sciences Initiative at Arizona State University, which aims to help research teams across the university bridge disciplinary gaps. Her research focuses on the Science of Team Science and Interdisciplinary Translation, a process of actively facilitating the exchange of knowledge across disciplinary languages in team research settings. Through the initiative, Andi organizes and leads custom workshops on the Science of Team Science for faculty interested in increasing the effectiveness of team science projects. Other research interests include issues of identity, conflict resolution, and intercultural competencies. She teaches courses in Interdisciplinary Studies and Organizational Leadership, and serves as the Faculty Director for a study abroad program that examines Identity and Conflict in the former Yugoslavia. 

Paul Hirt
HISTORY
Professor of History & Senior Sustainability Scholar
Ph.D., University of Arizona
Research Interests:
Global environmental history, environmental policy and sustainability studies, including Croatia and Slovenia
Anna Holian
HISTORY
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Chicago
Research Interests:
20th-century Germany and Eastern Europe; migration and displacement; architecture and urbanism

Current reseach: Anna Holian is currently working on a book entitled Setting up Shop: Jewish Economic Life in Germany after the Holocaust. The book examines how Jews make a living in Germany after the Holocaust and considers how making a living and making a home were intertwined. Covering the period between the end of the war and the mid-1960s, the book shows that while most Jews did not initially intend to remain in Germany, their involvement in trade was an important means by which they (re-)established roots in the country. It thus challenge the prevailing view that Jews in postwar Germany were merely “sojourners,” temporary residents who were prepared to leave—and abandon their business ventures—at the earliest opportunity. A second book project, on cinematic representations of children in Europe after the Second World War, is also in progress.

Hilde Hoogenboom
INTERNATIONAL LETTERS AND CULTURES
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Columbia
Research Interests:
Russian literature; women writers; comparative literary studies

Current research: city_folk_and_country_folk_by_sofia_khvoshchinskaya_trans_nora_seligman_favorovA literary historian, Hilde Hoogenboom researches Catherine the Great, nineteenth-century Russian women novelists, and noble culture. Her introduction to Sofia Khvoshchinskaia’s City Folk and Country Folk (1863) is the first for a dozen translated women’s novels in the Russian Library series at Columbia University Press. Noble Sentiments and the Rise of Russian Novels (2018) examines European book markets and sentimental novels, especially doing one’s duty, in Russian noble service culture. A new project, Noble Rot: Corruption, Civil Society, and Literary Elites in Russia, studies the compromised moral position of writers, women and men, as nobles when addressing corruption from the eighteenth century to the present. Corruption is a major literary theme, yet what Tolstoy called “the world of bribery” is barely examined. This historic outrage, the demonstrations by brave young people today, and the writers Boris Akunin’s and Ludmila Ulitskaia’s cultural legitimization of Alexei Navalny’s and Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s fight against corruption and for civil society, all show that Russians have never normalized corruption. Central to this study are the understudied exposés that the noble writer Alexander Herzen published in his London newspaper The Bell (1857-67), which was smuggled into Russia and read by Alexander II and elites. Most writers, their characters, and their readers were noble government servitors. This longstanding dual role of literary elites upends critiques of Russia’s historically minimal civil society, weakened by corruption. The post-communist notion of civil society as grassroots democracy ignores the eighteenth-century ideal that elites served the greater good, which still inspires writers today.

David Kader
LAW
Emeritus Professor
LL.M., University of London; J.D., University of Washington
Research Interests:
Religion and the Constitution
Tamarra Kaida
Tamarra Kaida
ART/PHOTOGRAPHY
Emeritus Professor
M.F.A. State University of New York, Buffalo
Research Interests:
Russian Art Photography
Jennifer Keahey
SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Colorado State University
Research Interests:
Sustainable development in post-authoritarian contexts, with particular focus on fair trade, organic, and local food systems in Africa and Eastern Europe.

Current research: Jennifer Keahey, Assistant Professor of Sociology, studies social inequality and sustainable development in food and agriculture. Specifically, she investigates the power dynamics shaping: (1) rural livelihoods, identities, and capacities; (2) sustainability standards and certifications; and (3) farmer participation in research and practice. Her research is grounded in Southern Africa and Eastern Europe. In post-apartheid South Africa, she has studied the livelihood challenges facing small-scale rooibos tea farmers, including issues with Fairtrade and organic market access. In post-Soviet Latvia, she has examined the impacts of European Union integration on organic farming and local food movements. While Keahey's current research focuses more broadly on the ethics of development research and practice, she is in the preliminary stages of putting together a comparative historical study of transformative cultures in post-authoritarian societies.

Agnes Kefeli Clay
RELIGIOUS STUDIES
Principal Lecturer
Ph.D., Arizona State University
Research Interests:
Islam in Russia and Central Asia

Current research: Agnes Kefeli, Principal Lecturer in Religious Studies, is currently writing a monograph, tentatively called Ethnic and Ecological Apocalypses in Eurasia.  She is exploring the development and significance of new eschatologies in Eurasia, provoked in part by ecological crises of the twentieth century. In the post-Soviet period, as Islam has recovered from a series of vicious Communist antireligious campaigns, post-Soviet Tatar intellectuals have sought to map out responses to the ethnic and ecological challenges of their day: the nuclear disasters of Kyshtym in Southern Urals in 1957, the submersion of ancient cemeteries for the construction of the Lower Kama hydroelectric station in 1963, intensive monoculture and careless oil and mine digging at the expense of their ancestors’ sacred mounts. In their works, they have outlined sharply divergent views concerning ecological sustainability, multiculturalism, democracy, the exploitation of nature, and the future of their community in the Russian Federation. Drawing on their historical and religious traditions, some have embraced a highly secularized vision of their society; others seek to recover the religion and folkways of their ancestors by resurrecting pilgrimages to their sacred places and reviving former agrarian festivals; others turn to new age philosophies and imagine Tatar Islam as a geopolitical force; still others ally themselves with resurgent global Islam to denounce their Russian colonizers’ historical crimes against the Tatar people. Each of these approaches to the future implies a particular eschatological denouement.

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