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My interests include the anthropology of moralities and ethics; the intertwining of humans, worlds and situations; political activity and theory; the intersection of anthropology and philosophy; and the drug war. These interests are taken up from the perspective of an anthropology strongly influenced by post-Heideggerian continental philosophy and critical theory, the theoretical articulation of which I name critical hermeneutics. My research projects in Russia have included ethnographically examining Russian Orthodox Church drug rehabilitation programs as spaces for moral training, and life-historical research on moral experience in times of post-Soviet social and political change. For the last decade, I have been conducting research with the globally networked anti-drug war movement, in an attempt to rethink some of our most closely held ethical and political assumptions and conceptualizations.
I have authored several books: Morality: An Anthropological Perspective (2008), Making the New Post-Soviet Person: Narratives of Moral Experience in Contemporary Moscow (2010), and HIV is God’s Blessing: Rehabilitating Morality in Neoliberal Russia (2011), and edited a volume titled, Multiple Moralities and Religion in Contemporary Russia (2011). My latest book, Disappointment: Toward a Critical Hermeneutics of Worldbuilding (2018), addresses the ethical, political and ontological grounds of the disappointment many feel today, offering an alternative vision of what a future could be and how to achieve it.
I received my Ph.D. in anthropology from the City University of New York, Graduate Center (2006) and M.A. in liberal arts, with a focus on moral and political philosophy, from St. John’s College (1998). I have been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, a visiting scholar at Columbia University, and a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. My research has been funded through a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), and the European Research Council (ERC), among others.