Themes We Explore

Ideas, Ideologies, and Power visual

Ideas, Ideologies, and Power: Eurasia Past and Present

2016–17 program coordinated by Professors Rawi Abdelal and Justin Weir.

Imperial Legacies & International Politics in the Post-Soviet Space

2012–13 program coordinated by Professors Timothy Colton and Serhii Plokhii.

Informing Eurasia

Inaugural 2011–12 program coordinated by Professors Terry Martin, William Mills Todd III, and Rawi Abdelal.

Mapping Cultural Space Across Eurasia

2014–15 program coordinated by Professors Julie Buckler, Eve Blau, and Kelly O'Neill.

Mobility, Boundaries, and the Production of Power in Eurasia

2015–16 program coordinated by Professor Rawi Abdelal.

Subjectivities and Identities in Eurasia

2013–14 program coordinated by Professors Stephanie Sandler and Terry Martin.

Ideas, Ideologies, and Power visual

2016–2017: Ideas, Ideologies, and Power: Eurasia Past and Present

The 2016-2017 Davis Center Fellows Program is coordinated by Professors Rawi Abdelal (Business School) and Justin Weir (Slavic Languages and Literatures). The theme of the program is "Ideas, Ideologies, and Power: Eurasia Past and Present." Participants of this program trace the ideational and ideological lineage of contemporary debates about the character of the post-Soviet region—sometimes called Eurasia. Recognizing that Eurasia is a term freighted with meaning, the group is exploring how the past informs present practice, as well as how contemporary events invite a re-narrating of the past. 

Scholars in this program are working on the influence and mobility of ideas, the construction and evolution of ideologies, and the inter-connections among different forms of power. Questions of culture, language, literature, art, political economy, and geopolitics inform their exploration.

2015–2016: Mobility, Boundaries, and the Production of Power in Eurasia

Over many decades, scholars have demonstrated the importance of borders, boundaries, and hierarchies to understanding the polities and peoples of Eurasia. The theme for the 2015–2016 Davis Center Fellows Program built on that foundation but drew on an evolving body of scholarship concerned with the various forms, practices, and implications of human mobility, past and present. Program participants considered the politics of mobility and the ways in which individuals, communities, and states have derived power from their ability to influence movement across the regions once dominated by the tsarist and Soviet regimes.

Mobility has long been a crucial force across Eurasia. In its many forms, migration — coerced and voluntary, temporary and permanent, nomadic and agricultural, domestic and transnational — has shaped the social, political, economic, and cultural contours of the region. Yet migration is only one of many manifestations of Eurasian mobility.

2014–2015: Mapping Cultural Space: Sites, Systems, and Practices across Eurasia
 

The theme of the 2014–2015 Davis Center Fellows Program was coordinated by Professors Julie Buckler (Slavic Languages and Literatures), Eve Blau (Graduate School of Design), and Kelly O’Neill (History). The seminar for 2014–15 explored the significance of cultural space as both an object and a tool of analysis, taking as its focus Eurasia, an area of the world where political and cultural boundaries have been repeatedly reconfigured.

With “Mapping” as the central theme, participants brought together their overlapping geographical-cultural interests, considering diverse practices of mapping cultural space in different disciplinary modes, and examining mapping practices more generally as forms of cultural politics.  Not least, they reflected on “mapping” as a revealing metaphor for their own scholarly practices and production.

2013–2014: Subjectivities and Identities in Eurasia

The theme for 2013-2014, coordinated by Terry Martin (History) and Stephanie Sandler (Slavic Languages and Literatures), was "Subjectivities and Identities in Eurasia." Imagining a personal, ethnic, religious, sexual, or national identity may be no simple matter in any culture, but for the people of Russia and Eurasia this always has been a fraught process. The very question of subjectivity has been self-consciously scrutinized and as readily rejected as embraced. The Fellows Program this year examines a range of theoretical approaches and case studies, with an eye to gaining a greater understanding of where the work of constructing identity happens (in domestic, public, textual and virtual spaces) and what factors constrain, promote, and shape that work.

2012–2013: Imperial Legacies and International Politics in the Post-Soviet Space

The theme for 2012-2013 was “Imperial Legacies and International Politics in the Post-Soviet Space,” which was coordinated by Professors Timothy Colton (Government) and Serhii Plokhii (History). Areas explored under this theme included history, identity issues, security, political economy, and regime building in Russia, Ukraine, and other countries of the region. Other topics of interest included social and cultural factors such as migration, public health, religion, organized crime, environmental degradation, popular culture, and the mass media.

2011–2012: Informing Eurasia: Informational Approaches to Eurasian Cultures, Politics and Societies

Professors Terry Martin (History), William Mills Todd III (Slavic Languages and Literatures) and Rawi Abdelal (Harvard Business School) coordinated the 2011-2012 program, with the theme “Informing Eurasia: Informational Approaches to Eurasian Cultures, Politics and Societies.” The theme focused on the work scholars in literature and culture, history and the social sciences do on topics that use the analytical category of information to examine politics, history, culture, the economy and society. These informational approaches are particularly fruitful in the study of Russia and Eurasia and under this theme, scholars were invited to consider the Soviet and post-Soviet relationship between state and society with reference to the construction, acquisition, circulation, protection, and use of political information by both the state and ordinary citizens.  Relevant topics covered some of the following: