I am a historian who is particularly interested in the political ramifications of medicine and science in Russia and Eastern Europe. My PhD dissertation, defended at Harvard University in 2014, is titled "Pathologies of Civility: Jews, Health, Race & Citizenship in the Russian Empire and the Bolshevik State, 1830-1930."
My research explores the relationship between medical ethnography, imperial governance, and nationalism. I examine how citizenship was conceivable in the context of an empire that explicitly repudiated ideas of uniform rights traditionally associated with the concept of citizenship. In the Russian empire, citizenship was not so much a formal institution, but instead an informal and pervasive set of perceptions based on the idea of a civilizing process. Jewish health was constructed as an indicator of the alleged position of Jews in civilizational hierarchies, and therefore was deeply embedded in debates about Jewish civic rights. I also analyze the concepts of race operating in Russian medicine from the mid-nineteeth century until the 1930s and investigate the mobilizing potential or racialized vocabulary for Russian and Jewish nationalist mobilization.
My broader research interests include: nationalities in the Russian Empire and the USSR; Russian and Eastern European Jewish history; the history of medicine and life sciences; intellectual history; the history of citizenship; ethnographyand racial thought.
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