Melikian Faculty Affiliates

Laurie Manchester
HISTORY
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Columbia University
Research Interests:
European Cultural History, Russia


Current research: 
Laurie Manchester, Associate Professor of History, is currently working on a book, From China to Russia: The Return of the “True” Russians. Her book focuses on the roughly 160,000 Russians, most of whom were from pious, monarchist families, who voluntarily repatriated to the Soviet Union between 1935-1960. Most were born in China to parents who fled Russia when the communists took over in 1917. Based in part on one hundred oral interviews the author conducted in seven Russian cities, this book is the first comprehensive study of voluntary return to a illiberal, impoverished, historical homeland. It challenges the dominant theories in migration studies that economic betterment, the desire to live under an ideology that protects individual freedom, or family reunification, motivate migration. Since the majority had no family members waiting for them in U.S.S.R., it was cultural preference and nationalism that motivated their repatriation. Most of the minority who repatriated during Stalin’s lifetime were arrested when they arrived in the Soviet Union. The majority who arrived after Stalin’s death were shocked by how much the colossal changes that occurred in the 1930s had changed the people. It was only after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when repatriates were allowed for the first time to publish newsletters and organize themselves publicly, that they began to collectively articulate themselves as a distinct type of Russians. They saw themselves as more authentic because they had been raised outside of the Soviet Union in a diaspora which preserved traditions from pre-revolutionary Russia. And despite the hardships they suffered in the Soviet period and their feelings of estrangement from “local” Russians, most of those whose families were not repressed do not regret repatriating. This project sheds light on the plasticity of ethnicity and demonstrates how powerful the urge to live in a perceived homeland can be. Contemporary policy makers may imagine that the global population is ever ready to migrate, but the majority of people never consider migrating, and when refugees are forced to flee, most would welcome the opportunity to return home once it is safe to do so. Funds she received from the Melikian Center paid for part of her travel to Moscow in April 2018 to complete the archival research for a paper she is delivering at the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies in Boston this December, titled: “How a Novel about Russian Emigres in China was Published in Moscow in 1957, and what “Local” Soviets and Repatriates Thought about it.”

Professor Manchester shares about her research.

Michael Markiw
UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES
Assoc Librarian (FSC)
M.L.S., University of Western Ontario
Research Interests:
Slavic-area Bibliography

Current professional activity: Michael Markiw serves as an MLA International Bibliography field Indexer within the Slavic Section.  This assignment in cooperation with bibliographers at the New York Headquarters,  blends both research and national-level service by helping to provide access to the most recent scholarship in the fields of Slavic, East European and Eurasian languages and literature. The indexed articles are published in any of the 60 languages within the Bibliography.  At the highest levels of the Modern Languages Association it has been stated that this work is the equivalent of the kind of scholarly research and writing that goes into article production. While this work focuses on Slavic/East European Studies, Markiw also serves as Library Liaison for Arabic, French, German and Italian Studies. 

Martin Matustik
HUMANITIES, ARTS & CULTURAL STUDIES
Professor
Ph.D., Fordham University
Research Interests:
Critical theory, Continental philosophy, phenomenology and existentialism to post-Holocaust and reparative ethics

Current research:  Prof. Matuštík has been awarded a Lady Davis Fellowship for 2018-19 from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, where he will be a visiting professor.  During the fellowship, he will be writing on the topic of memory and unforgiveness in the context of social and religious conflicts, and he will be teaching a graduate course on death and dying with a focus on interfaith and secular practices of mindfulness and care.  For more about the Lady Davis Fellowship see:  http://ldft.huji.ac.il/about

Mladen Medved
Melikian Center
Teaching Fellow
PhD candidate, Central European University
Research Interests:
Uneven and combined development, world-systems analysis, transition to capitalism, history of political and economic thought, Austria-Hungary, Yugoslavia

Current research: Mladen Medved is examining the political economy of Austria-Hungary (1867-1918) from the perspective of uneven and combined development.

Saule Moldabekova
INTERNATIONAL LETTERS AND CULTURES
Senior Lecturer
Ed.D., St. Petersburg Academy of Culture
Research Interests:
Russian language pedagogy

Current academic and professional activity: Saule Moldabekova, a senior lecturer of Russian in the School of International Letters and Cultures, served as a member of the U.S. Russia Expert Program Selection Committee from May 7 - May 16, 2018, in Washington, DC (IREX).  During the Melikian Center's Summer 2018 Critical Languages Institute (CLI), Moldabekova will serve as resident director/program director of the Russian program in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Aaron Moore
Aaron Moore
HISTORY
Associate Professor
PhD, Cornell University
Research Interests:
Empire, Comparative Colonialism, World War II, and War & Revolution

Current research: Aaron S. Moore, Associate Professor of History, is working on a book, Damming Asia: The Cold War and Japanese Post-Colonial Overseas Development.  Damming Asia examines the history of Japan’s overseas dam construction and the reconfiguration of the rural and urban in various Asian nations from the age of Japanese imperialism before 1945 to the post-war era when Japan became a global overseas development power within the US Cold War order in Asia. By analyzing representative dam projects, it examines how the influential Japanese post-1945 aid model of “comprehensive development” introduced new power dynamics rooted in the colonial past that transformed the rural and urban in Burma, South Vietnam, South Korea, and Indonesia. Viewing dams as “assemblages of power,” it untangles the web of complex relationships and networks that lend these structures durability and transformative power.

Robert Niebuhr
BARRETT HONORS COLLEGE
Honors Faculty Fellow
Ph.D., Boston College
Research Interests:
Modern Central and Eastern Europe: politics, diplomacy, global studies

Current research:  Robert Niebuhr is currently working on a book that examines the intersections of Yugoslav and Chinese foreign policy during the Cold War.  This book, tentatively titled, Clash of the Titans: Tito, Mao, and the Politics of National Liberation during the Cold War, expands on prior research dealing with the Titoist state and international relations; he is completing this research with two colleagues, Dr. Zvonimir Stopic and Dr. David Pickus, both currently in China.  Their study seeks to place the role of Tito’s transformation from hostile actor to global statesman as part of the larger struggle for power and legitimacy in the decolonizing Global South.  China and Yugoslavia at times both competed and cooperated in this dynamic space.  With support from the Melikian Center, Niebuhr is gathering some archival materials in summer 2018 to complete this book and will present to the Center in the upcoming academic year.  He is also finalizing his book on the political transformation of Bolivia owing to the influence of the Chaco War (1932-35, versus Paraguay), currently under contract with the University of Nebraska Press and has recently begun work examining the plight of the prisoners of war from that conflict.  

Robert W. Oldani
MUSIC
Emeritus Professor
Ph.D., University of Michigan
Research Interests:
19th-C. Russian Music, Mussorgsky
Ileana Orlich
INTERNATIONAL LETTERS AND CULTURES
President's Professor
Ph.D., Arizona State University
Research Interests:
Romanian literature; comparative literature; American studies in East Central Europe; gender studies; ethnic and religious conflict in East Central Europe
Michael Ostling
BARRETT HONORS COLLEGE
Honors Faculty Fellow
Ph.D., University of Toronto
Research Interests:
Witchcraft and demonology in early modern Poland; anthropology of religion; Jacek Kuroń's radical pedagogy.

Current research: Michael Ostling is working on a book manuscript with the working title “Teaching Democracy by Living It: The Radical Pedagogy of Jacek Kuroń.” Kuroń (1934-2004) is best remembered as a leader of the anti-communist resistance in Poland, first as the organizer of KOR (Komitet Obrony Robotników, Committee for the Defense of the Laborers) in the 1970s and then as an advisor to the Solidarity movement in the 1980s, culminating in the "round table" negotiations that made possible a peaceful end to one-party government in Poland in 1989. However, Kuroń’s career as a dissident activist came about as an unintended side-project growing out of his practice of democratic pedagogy. As an organizer of the socialist co-educational scouting movement (the so-called Walterowcy), Kuroń attempted to transform the hierarchical, military-style scout summer-camps into schools of radical democracy, with child-participants making and taking responsibility for all substantive decisions. Multiple stints in prison and a ban on government employment after 1968 prevented the completion of Kuroń’s doctoral dissertation, an attempt to place this democratic pedagogy on a theoretical footing. Ostling's project intends to recover Kuroń’s pedagogical thought through the creation of an edited reader of translated essays and excerpts from his lifelong attempt to teach and live democracy. 

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