Announcing the 2015–2016 Fellows

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Davis Center is pleased to announce the results of the Fellows Program competition for 2015–2016. The fellows will participate in a seminar on the theme "Mobility, Boundaries and the Production of Power in Eurasia.” During the program, participants will consider 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.

Halit Dundar Akarca, Postdoctoral Fellow

Imperial Formations in Occupied Lands: The Russian Occupation of Ottoman Territories in The First World War

Halit Dundar Akarca holds a PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University (2014). He has contributed to several books and journals on current and historical affairs. During his tenure at the Davis Center, he will be working on his book project entitled “Military occupation and Imperial Formations in Occupied Lands: The Russian Occupation of Ottoman Territories in The First World War”. The book analyzes the roles of local and Russian imperial organizations in the formation of an imperial structure in Eastern Anatolia during World War I.

Alexander Diener, Senior Fellow

Parsing Mobilities in Central Eurasia: Border Management and the New Silk Road

Alexander C. Diener is an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Kansas. After earning his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Alex was a Title VIII Research Fellow at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center. He then taught at Pepperdine University before taking a post-doctoral fellowship at George Washington University (2010-2011) and being named Regional Research Fulbright Scholar for Central Asia (2011-2012). Alex then moved to the University of Kansas where he works in the nexus of political, social, and cultural geography, engaging topics such as geopolitics and borders, identity and mobility, and urban landscape change. He possesses area studies expertise in Central Eurasia, working primarily in the Central Asian states, Mongolia, and the borderlands of Russia and China. Alex has authored or co-authored three books, co-edited three volumes, and published in a wide array of disciplinary and area-studies journals. The NSF, SSRC, IREX, FLAS, AAG, Fulbright, Kennan Institute, and the MacArthur Foundation have funded his research.

Inna Melnykovska, Postdoctoral Fellow

When Big Business Goes Global, but Plays Local. Capital Mobility, Business and Politics in Eurasia

Inna Melnykovska holds an M.A. degree in International Relations from Kyiv State University and a Specialist degree in Economics from Ternopil Academy of National Economy. Parallel to her Ph.D. at the Free University of Berlin, she held appointments as a research fellow at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy as well as at the Universities of Kiel, Berlin and Giessen. Inna’s research and teaching focus on political transformation, economic liberalization and nation-building in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. She is especially interested in the influences and interactions of external forces and domestic context therein. Inna is an expert on regional integration and institutional diffusion in Eastern Europe and Eurasia; and on the EU’s, NATO’s as well as Russia’s and China’s policies in the regions.

Anastassia Obydenkova, Kathryn W. and Shelby Cullom Davis Senior Scholar

Autocratic Diffusion in Eurasia across Boundaries: Mobility and the Production of Power

Anastassia V. Obydenkova holds a PhD in Political and Social Science from the European University Institute (Florence, Italy) and Master of Arts in Political Science from the Central European University (Budapest, Hungary). Dr. Obydenkova has been a Ramon-y-Cajal researcher at the University of Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona) and a senior researcher at Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia), and previously at London School of Economics and Political Science (London, United Kingdom), and the Institute for Economic Analysis (CSIC). Her main research interests are international organizations and regionalism, non-democratic regimes and autocracies, democratization and regime transition, federalism and decentralization, and area studies – China and former Soviet States (Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, Caucasus, etc.).

Jillian Porter, Postdoctoral Fellow

The Art of the Queue: Bodies in Wait from the Revolution to the Post-Soviet Era.

Jillian Porter completed her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley in 2011. She is currently Assistant Professor of Russian in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, and Affiliate Faculty in Film and Media Studies, at the University of Oklahoma. Her research focuses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literature and Russian and Soviet cinema. Porter’s first book, Economies of Feeling: Russian Literature, 1825-1855, studies the economic and emotional paradigms that structured Russian narratives during the reign of Nicholas I. An article drawn from the project, entitled “The Double, The Ruble, the Real: Counterfeit Money in Dostoevsky’s Dvoinik” appeared in the Slavic and East European Journal in the fall of 2014.

Brandon Schechter, Postdoctoral Fellow

Government Issue: The Material Culture of the Red Army 1941-1945

Brandon Schechter will receive his Ph.D. in History at the University of California-Berkeley in May of 2015. His Ph.D. dissertation “Government Issue: The Material Culture of the Red Army 1941-1945” examines the transformative effect of the Great Patriotic War on Soviet society through everyday objects. He has previously studied at European University in St. Petersburg and been a visiting researcher at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow and St. Petersburg with funding and support by Fulbright IIE. Brandon is on the editorial board of The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies, has previously published in Ab Imperio, and has a chapter coming out in a collected volume edited by Wendy Goldman and Donald Filtzer, Hunger and War: Food Provisioning in the Soviet Union during World War II. While at the Davis Center, he plans on revising his dissertation into a book manuscript.