Melikian Faculty Affiliates

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. 

Victor Peskin
POLITICS AND GLOBAL STUDIES
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Research Interests:
Intersection of international relations, comparative politics, and human rights
Laura Popova
BARRETT HONORS COLLEGE
Honors Faculty Fellow
Ph.D., University of Chicago
Research Interests:
Eurasian archaeology

Current research:  Laura Popova’s research mostly focuses on the politics of land use in the Eurasian steppe, past and present, highlighting the ways in which the socio-political, ecological, and cultural orders of pastoral societies shape and restructure global and local environments. She is currently working on an article that examines the droughts of the late 1800s in the Eastern European steppe regions in Russia and how they were “naturalized” by scientists and government officials who were working to ameliorate the problem. In particular, she is focusing on reforesting efforts that were part of several proposed solutions in the Volga steppe region and how those projects impacted future environmental choices and how people envisioned the steppe. In addition to this, she is currently an area coordinator for Europe and Asia for LandUse 6k (http://landuse.uchicago.edu/), which is part of the LandCover 6K (http://www.pages-igbp.org/ini/wg/landcover6k/intro) project. The goal of this project is to make a digital, integrative map of land cover change in the world that is linked to detailed archaeological and historical data. This map will provide policy makers and scientists a better understanding of exactly how humans have changed the world over time and how that links to climate change trends. This study is linked to her undergraduate student research project tracking how people currently imagine climate change in Arizona (www.imaginingclimate.com). The goal is to eventually make this social media platform available worldwide for people to share their stories of what life will be like in 2050 based on climate projections.

Nancy Roberts
ECONOMICS
Emeritus Professor
Ph.D., Arizona State University
Research Interests:
Microeconomic Theory, Public Finance
Stefan Stantchev
HUMANITIES, ARTS & CULTURAL STUDIES
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Michigan
Research Interests:
Religious and economic factors that shaped power relations within Europe and throughout the Mediterranean, circa 1000 to circa 1500
Peter Schmelz
MUSIC
Associate Professor
PhD, University of California, Berkeley
Research Interests:
Popular music and popular culture (in both the US and Eastern Europe), music and the Cold War, and music and politics more broadly, as well as music and film, and sound studies.
John Duncan Shaeffer
GEOGRAPHICAL SCIENCES AND URBAN PLANNING
Principal Lecturer and Undergraduate Advisor
Ph.D., Arizona State University
Research Interests:
Regional geography, including Russia and its surroundings; cultural and historical geography
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Iveta Silova
TEACHERS COLLEGE, MARY LOU FULTON
Professor and Director of the Center for the Advanced Studies in Global Educations
PhD, Columbia University
Research Interests:
Globalization, Democratization, and Policy ‘Borrowing’ in Education
Danko Sipka
INTERNATIONAL LETTERS AND CULTURES
Professor
Ph.D., University of Belgrade, Ph.D., Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
Research Interests:
Linguistics, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Polish

Current research: Danko Sipka is working on a cross-disciplinarbook project titled From Society to Lexicography and Back: Slavic monolingual dictionaries as ideological maneuvers. His project concentrates on monolingual dictionaries as ideological maneuvers at the times of accelerated and condensed history. He will concentrate mostly on Romanticism (especially the aftermath of the Decembrist Revolt and the events around the Revolutions of 1848), Modernism (in particular in the aftermath of the October Revolution), and Postmodernism (most notably the period following the liberal revolutions of 1989). The present projects stem from Sipka's book titled Lexical Conflict: Theory and practice (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and the ensuing recently completed book project Lexical Layers of Cultural Identity (under a publication contract with Cambridge University Press). The latter monograph uses the material from Slavic languages to demonstrate that cultural identity of its speakers is shaped in three distinct lexical layers: deep (mostly in inherited lexicon), exchange (through lexical borrowing) and surface (in lexical engineering and refereeing). Monolingual dictionaries are front and center in the latter layer, which makes the present research projects narrowing down their focus on an important area of the field studied in the previous two monographs. Dictionaries are generally considered dull lists of words. Quite conversely, Sipka considers them rich depositories of socio-political and cultural practices and he sees them as entities that have agency on their own in their wider sociocultural context. The present book project strives to elucidate the mechanisms of societal influence on the dictionaries and the ways dictionaries contribute to shaping societies in Slavic cultures.  He will hold invited lectures on the topic of the recently completed monograph in Belgrade, Novi Sad, and Poznań (in June 2018), and conference papers in Montana (May 2018) and Ohrid (June 2018).

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