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How did the Soviet Union (re)incorporate the peoples on the edges of the former Tsarist empire?
How did people in the non-Russian republics come to identify with the Soviet Union and even develop an affinity for Russia?
These questions have driven much of my work as a graduate student at Harvard University. I study postwar Soviet nationalities policy with a particular focus on education, language, and national identity. My approach to research is to address an issue that I have encountered in the region and attempt to answer the question: “Why did things turn out that way?” I see myself as a scholar of the margins of empire, seeking to answer these questions by analyzing the interlocking topics of language, education, and constructions of national identity with a particular focus on non-Russian republics such as Armenia and Moldova.
I first began to engage with these issues as an undergraduate majoring in history at Arizona State University. After two summers of studying Eastern Armenian at ASU's Critical Languages Institute, I spent the 2006-2007 academic year at Yerevan State University in Armenia on an NSEP/Boren grant. After graduating from Arizona State, I traveled on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Moldova, where I taught English at Comrat State University from 2009 to 2010. Upon the completion of my Fulbright grant, I moved to Pristina, Kosovo, where I worked as the in-country project officer at Future Voters of Kosovo, a civic education initiative funded by a State Department grant to Arizona State University. In 2010 I matriculated at Harvard University in the master's program in Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies. My thesis project focused on the role that mass education and the Soviet system of interethnic relations played in fostering loyalty to the Soviet Union among minorities in the south of Moldova. I am currently pursuing a PhD in history at Harvard.
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