Melikian Faculty Affiliates

Jennifer Keahey
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
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.

Ekaterina Khaustova
Research Advancement Administrator
PhD, Russian State Social University (Moscow)
Research Interests:
Economic history and economic development of the Russian Empire with a focus on Russian wages and living standards and Russian and early Soviet Industrialization.

Current research:  Ekaterina Khaustova, PhD, is currently working on two papers. One of the papers is “Real Wages in Russia before and after 1917” with BGraph: real wages of building labourers in Russia 1853 1937ob Allen, distinguished professor, University of Oxford and New York University Abu Dhabi. Using their newly established database for three Russian cities, the paper measures real wages in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Kursk between 1853 and 1937. The wages are those of building laborers, building craftsmen, and employees in cotton mills. Prices are measured in terms of subsistence baskets that approximate the World Bank poverty line. Attention is given to the problem of comparing living standards across climate zones, and a solution is suggested. Russian living standards grew very modestly between 1853 and 1913–much less than the growth in output per worker. Real wages in Russia jumped by 50% to 100% between 1913 and 1928. When seen from the Russian perspective, this looks like a big advance; when seen from an international perspective, it is much less. Real wages dropped to their pre-war level between 1928 and 1937, as the social surplus, which had been distributed to the working class and peasants after the 1917 Revolution, was mobilized for the industrialization drive.



Another paper, “A late escape Malthusian pressures in late 19th century Moscow,” is with Vadim Kugraph_unskilled_nominal_wages_and_price_indexfenko (University of Hohenheim) & Vincent Geloso (Texas Tech University). They use newly collected data on monthly birth, death, marriage and infant mortality rates from 1871-1910 in Moscow city and a combined price and wage index for 1824-1917 (Allen and Khaustova, 2017). This allows them to capture one of the most interesting periods in the Russian history: industrialization, which took place after the emancipation of labor. They appeal to the VAR framework involving growth rates of real wages of the unskilled workers, birth rates (or nuptiality, depending on specification) and death rates.



Orde Kittrie
J.D., University of Michigan
Research Interests:
Public International Law, International Economic and Business Law, International Negotiations, Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Photo of Barbara Klimek
Barbara Klimek
Social Work
Clinical Associate Professor
PhD, University of Warsaw
Research Interests:
Macroeconomics of social care provision, and also issues around social services and other aspects of contemporary and historical refugee and asylum-seeker cases.
Neveser Koker
Barrett Honors College
Honors Faculty Fellow
Ph.D., University of Michigan
Research Interests:
Citizenship, inclusion and exclusion, politics of belonging, imperialism and colonialism, cosmopolitanism, transnational feminism(s), feminist political theory, 18th and 19th century political thought, comparative political theory

Current research: Neveser Köker, Honors Faculty Fellow at Barrett, the Honors College, is currently working on a book, Traveling Affinities: Politics of Belonging Beyond Nation and Empire. This book considers how imperial subjects and citizens made claims to political belonging in the period prior to the consolidation of nationalism as an ideology. Focusing on French and Ottoman texts produced between 1718 and 1905 that narrate movements across geographic, political, and cultural borders, Köker explores shifting dynamics of political identification and belonging that defy easy geopolitical narratives, either of long-standing confrontation between “East” and “West” or of cosmopolitan coexistence in “contact zones.” She argues that the relational and affective sensibility that characterizes belonging to a political community was cultivated and sustained through cross-cultural exchange: ideas and ideals of religion, geography, ethnicity, and most insistently, masculinity, femininity, and sexuality provided the terms of intelligibility through which imperial belonging was articulated, and imperial governance was defended and contested. She has presented a chapter of this project, “Civilizing Phantoms: Missionaries, Reformers, and the ‘Muslim Woman Question,’” at the annual American Political Science Association meeting in San Francisco, CA, August 31-September 3, 2017 and at the annual Association for Political Theory meeting in Ann Arbor, MI, October 12-14, 2017.

Pauline Komnenich
Ph.D., University of Arizona
Research Interests:
Community Health Care Delivery, Sociolinguistics
Ilene Lashinsky
Adjunct Faculty
J.D., Arizona State University College of Law
Research Interests:
Commercial law and insolvency law, particularly commercial law reform in Southeastern Europe
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Photo: Irina Levin
Irina Levin
Melikian Center
Postdoctoral Fellow
Ph.D., New York University
Research Interests:
Former Soviet Union, the Caucasus, Turkey; migration, citizenship, law, sovereignty, nationalism, gender and sexuality, labor

Current research: Drawing on language proficiency in Russian, Turkish and Azerbaijani, and on extensive fieldwork with Meskhetian and Ahiska Turkish communities in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, Dr. Levin explores contemporary issues of disputed citizenship, legacies of displacement and trauma, and the particular social and political significance of identity documents, from the points of view of both states and individuals trying to establish and maintain security in precarious times.  

Read Dr. Levin's blog entry

Dr. Levin's Honors Eurasian Borderlands course - Fall 2018.

Donald Livingston, Jr
Senior Lecturer
Ph.D., University of Washington
Research Interests:
Russian; Slavic Linguistics