I am a wearer of many hats: my training is in anthropology, but I have always been a professor of geography and international studies. Fieldwork in the former Soviet Bloc, including Poland, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan, has led me to investigate the aftermath of societal collapse among factory workers, internally displaced people, and victims of ethnic cleansing.
I work primarily in the fields of political and human geography. My area of focus – geographically and culturally – is the ‘post-socialist’ sphere. The questions I study fall within the ‘anthropology of displacement’ – investigating the experiences of forcibly displaced people, the causes of their displacement, and the way they, and others, react to their displacement. Furthermore, my work is characterized by multiplicity of audiences and fora: though I am a scholar and an academic, I study problems that have real, every-day significance for millions of people. I therefore attempt to speak to a much broader audience, to publish via broadly accessible media, and to address both theoretical and practical considerations in my writing. In this way, I ensure that my work contributes to advancing scholarship while simultaneously providing insights and information to those who address the same issues as me, but from outside academia.
I am author of Privatizing Poland: Baby Food, Big Business, and the Remaking of Labor, winner of the 2004 Orbis Prize and the Ed A. Hewett Book Prize. I am currently in the process of finalizing a second book, titled Unsettled: Displacement, Aid and the Problem of Existence in Postwar Georgia, which addresses the internal refugee crisis in the Republic of Georgia. I am also listed among the editors of two volumes: Travelling Facts and Civil Society: Challenging Western Models. I am author of thirty peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and have also written numerous articles and book chapters for non-refereed and popular publications.
I am currently serving a joint-appointment to the Departments of Geography and International Studies at Indiana University. I have previously been employed at University of Colorado, Boulder and have received fellowships at Copenhagen University’s Department of Comparative Cultural and Regional Studies; the Center for Agrarian Studies at Yale University; and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in Berlin, Germany. My Ph.D. is from The Johns Hopkins University, and I have M.A.s from both the University of Chicago and The Johns Hopkins University.