I seek to contribute to a critical anthropology of the post-Soviet state through a consideration of place, territory, transnational migration and border work, based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Central Asia and Russia.
My first major project was an ethnography of the making and working of new international borders in the Ferghana valley. I published two edited collections based on this research: the first on 'Movement, Power and Place in Central Asia and Beyond' (Routledge 2012), the second a co-edited volume, on 'Ethnographies of the State in Central Asia: Performing Politics' (Indiana University Press 2014). My 2014 monograph, 'Border Work: Spatial Lives of the State in Rural Central Asia' was awarded the 2015 Joseph Rothschild Prize from the Associationfor the Study of Nationalities, the 2016 Alec Nove Prize from the British Association of Slavic and East European Studies, and the 2017 past presidents' gold book award from the Association for Borderland Studies.
My more recent research has explored the role of emotion in political life and the everyday navigation of spaces of legal exception. With Mateusz Laszczkowski I have edited a Special Issue of Social Analysis on 'Affective States: Entanglements, Suspensions, Suspicions' and contributed to a number of articles on the affective politics of infrastructure. Since 2009 I have also conducted research on the vast ‘grey zone’ between legal and illegal residence and labour for Central Asian migrant workers in Russia. This project has focused on the dense and frequently shifting network of administrative regulations that determine the legality of residence and labour as well as on the ways that this space of indeterminacy is lived.
In 2014 I joined Deniz Kandiyoti as Associate Editor of the journal, Central Asian Survey. I have served as Editor since 2015.