Within the larger inquiry of "Human Rights & Civil Society" are four multidisciplinary, Russia-focused research groups—Human Rights, Education, Disability Studies, and Urban Activism—that provide a variety of approaches and methodological and theoretical lenses for better understanding civil society and state-citizen relations in Russia, past and present.
The study of human rights in Russia has grown to include a range of expansive topics that continue to provide enormous insight into the changes and evolution of post-Soviet society. These include, but are not limited to the effects of international and regional human rights systems on the legal system in Russia, and the rise of human rights movements that deal exclusively with the monitoring of, and advocacy against, certain state practices. The literature on these topics has greatly expanded in the past decade, but considerable work is still needed to fully understand the impact of these strategies, and where policy and research might intersect to create stronger outcomes for the future. In developing a framework for Russian studies in the 21st century, human rights is also an appropriate entry point for the exploration of the intersection of area studies and international studies, as well as for fostering a conversation among scholars and practitioners. A panel at IU devoted to human rights in Russia is being planned for fall 2019.
The conference "Urban Activism and the Development of Civil Society in the Russian Federation" took place at the IU Europe Gateway in fall 2018 to frame a collective inquiry into the patterns of urban collective action by comparing social activism in different cities and different issue areas across the Russian Federation. Papers from this conference will be published in an edited volume by Indiana University Press in 2020. IUB visitors to discuss these issues have included:
Oksana Zaporozhets Urban Studies, HSE-Moscow. "The Adventurous Life of the Moscow Subway: From an Urban Miracle to a Media Corporation."
Andrei Semenov Political Science, Perm State University. "Challenges from Below: Dynamics of Contention in Putin’s Russia."
Leonid Polishchuk Economics, HSE-Moscow. "Co-Production, Civic Culture, and Quality of Governance: Theory and Evidence from Russia"
Education and Reforms in Russia
Professor Ben Eklof of Indiana University's Department of History has been active in promoting a link between the RSW and the prestigious Institute of Education (IOE) as well as the Poletaev Institute at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. These efforts resulted in a successful conference held at the IU Europe Gateway in Berlin in October, 2017: “Seeing Like a State? New Approaches to the History of Russian Education.” A special section of the conference proceedings has been submitted to History of Education Quarterly and an article was published in the History of Education and Children's Literature, vol. 13 (1), Jan 2018, 685-701 [Caroli, Dorena., Eklof, Ben., and Saburova, Tatiana. "Seeing Like A State?" Presented at the international conference at the CIEE Globa Institute, Berlin, October 14-15, 2017.] Anna Sanina talked via telebridge to the RSW community about current challenges in education in Russia in spring 2019.
Disability Studies in Russia is a new and rapidly growing interdisciplinary area that is moving towards the forefront of scholarly efforts to understand social movements, civil society development, political engagement, issues of identity, social inclusion, and historical memory in contemporary Russia. Important historical work is being done in this area as well, to uncover the “hidden history” of the Soviet-era disability rights movement. Preeminent sociologist Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova (HSE-Moscow), who founded disability studies as a companion discipline with sociology and social work when she was a professor in Saratov, was a Scholar-in-Residence at Indiana University’s Institute for Advanced Study in 2011and has continued collaborations with Indiana scholars on disability studies issues. Russian-Indiana cooperation in disability studies continued with productive research visits to IU by Dr. Zhanna Chernova (Sociology, HSE-St. Petersburg) and Dr. Anna Klepikova (Anthropology, European University of Saint Petersburg (EUSP)). In November 2018, REEI Director Sarah Phillips of Indiana University's Department of Anthropology collaborated with Iarskaia-Smirnova, Klepikova, and other colleagues to convene with RSW/CCNY support an international conference at HSE-Moscow on “Breaking Down Barriers 2.0: A Colloquium in Disability Studies.” The colloquium brought together 25 academics, activists, and PhD students studying disability issues in Russia. Many participants were from Russia’s “regions,” including higher education institutions and organizations in Saratov, Ekaterinburg, Kazan, Novosibirsk, Barnaul, and others. One, and possibly more, special issues of the Journal of Social Policy Studies are planned as the result of this colloquium. Phillips and key partners at HSE-Moscow, HSE-Saint Petersburg, and EUSP are planning the next “Disability Studies in Russia” colloquium for 2021 and laying the groundwork for future research collaborations and training opportunities for young disability studies scholars in Russia through the RSW.
The edited collection,"The Other Side of the Moon, or what we do not know about disability" was presented at the 7th Symposium on Medical Anthropology in Moscow in June 2019. Edited by medical anthropologists Elena E. Nosenko-Stein and Alexandra S. Kurlenkova, contributors to the volume include professors Sarah D. Phillips and Anna Klepikova, both of whom were instrumental in the RSW-cosponsored Colloquium in Disability Studies in Moscow in 2018.