Essays

Essays are selected scholarly articles published without prior peer-review process.

The common space of neo-authoritarianism in post-Soviet Eurasia

This essay describes the widening common space of neo-authoritarianism in Eurasia. Preliminary results of ongoing research show how Russia and the Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan synchronically introduced similar anti-democratic measures to restrict freedom of academia, civil society, and political participation in response to major social and political events such as popular uprisings, financial crises, and successful successions of state power. The goal of this essay is to introduce a theoretical framework for the comparative analysis of various types of hybrid non-democratic regimes not only in post-Soviet Eurasia, but also in other regions that experience democratic backsliding.

Essay by Oleg Antonov and Artem Galushko March 5, 2019

Academic Freedom in Russia: Between the Scylla of Conservatism and the Charybdis of Neoliberalism

Independent scientific and professional organizations began to suffer especially after the introduction of the so-called law on “foreign agents”. Ideological control over science, together with espionage, begins to directly influence the state of academic rights and freedoms. The topic of human rights has almost disappeared from teaching, and research in the field of queer sociology is in fact banned. However, the most vulnerable are those who either teach or demand respect for human rights at the university, and then the loss of employment is the result of a direct ideological confrontation with the rector, such as for the author of this text.

Essay by Dmitry V. Dubrovskiy March 5, 2019

Romani immigrants from Romania in Poland in the 1990s. Ethnographic observations

This paper presents a handful of ethnographic observations concerning the Romanian Romani people migrating to Poland in the 1990s. This migration wave, although not very well known in the world, became a very important factor influencing, among others, the perception of the Romanian Roms, the Romani people in general, and even citizens of Romania as such by Poles. For Romani immigrants, this was most often the first opportunity to stay abroad

Essay by Sławomir Kapralski and Paweł Lechowski September 6, 2018

The case of Chief G’psgolox’s totem pole “Rescuing”, keeping, and returning

In the year 1872, Chief G’psgolox from the Kitlope Eagle clan of the Xenaaksiala/Haisla people (in Kitlope Valley, British Columbia, Canada) decided to have a totem pole carved and erected. In 1928 the pole was cut down on behalf of a Swedish consul to be shipped to Stockholm the following year.

Essay by Anders Björklund June 18, 2018

Letters from the heart of darkness Dr. Ludvig Moberg, ethnographic collections, and the logic of colonial violence

It was very common to force people to work for the Congo Free State, and the point of building the railway was to make transportations easier and to get rid of the time-consuming caravans. It is probably one of these men, forced to work until he died, that Moberg collected the skull from. There is no explanation for why he collected skulls in the first place, but he studied medicine for his exam when returning to Sweden.

Essay by Johan Hegardt June 18, 2018

Christian Brinton: A modernist icon A portrait and a study of the collector

Like the lives of the saints, Brinton consciously crafted his own vita, iconography, and legend by inserting himself within the genealogy of his collection. From the portrait icon to the pious patron, the portraits of Christian Brinton tell us something of not only the actor, but also the narrative of Russian art that the collector constructed.

Essay by Mechella Yezernitskaya June 18, 2018

The Icons of “the Red Banker” Olof Aschberg and the transactions of social capital

Just as the Soviets could trade “Rembrandts for tractors,” Aschberg could trade icons for social capital, while his donations also served the purpose of establishing links between himself in Paris and his business, cultural, and political contacts in Stockholm and ensuring the longevity of Swedish contacts with its great neighbor to the east, Russia.

Essay by Carl Marklund June 18, 2018

Scattering, collecting, and scattering again The invention and management of national heritage in the USSR

It is here claimed that it is practically impossible to determine whether the collector and connoisseur in question (namely Igor Immanuilovich Grabar, 1879—1960) was, indeed, saving his objects from scattering and destruction — or contributing to their further enslavement by exploiting them in a capacity that was radically alien, if not inimical, to their nature.

Essay by Irina Sandomirskaja June 18, 2018

Imperial scatter Some personal encounters and reflections

The Basilys had both the means and opportunities to collect and exhibit Imperial elite art and books. In doing so, it is argued here that they wished to present an alternative narrative of Russia’s past to the Soviet political, economic, and modernist artistic program that they witnessed unfolding in Soviet Russia.

Essay by Edward Kasinec June 18, 2018

Longing for order the post-Soviet architectural discourse in Lithuania

Lithuanian architecture of the past 25 years is a mirror of social decomposition is here argued. It is suggested that is should serve as a space for engagement with outcomes of this decomposition instead of glossing over it. Further that architecture and architects might contribute to the dissensus in all spheres of life existing today, or might cultivate fantasies about the social unity and spirituality of their art-craft.

Essay by Arnoldas Stramskas June 18, 2018