I received my PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge in 2005 and my BA in Anthropology from the University of British Columbia in 1995.
Prior to joining Laurier, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University (2005-2006) and at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany (2005).
My research has analyzed the processes through which places and landscapes on Ukraine’s Black Sea Coast acquire identities and material forms in relation to changing state boundaries, political economic relations, and geopolitics in Europe. My doctoral research about Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa was based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in 2001- 2002, and showed how residents’ engagements with the city’s histories, texts and pre-revolutionary architecture challenged some of Ukraine’s nationalizing narratives by positioning the city as a cosmopolitan “place apart.” Using the metaphor of kaleidoscope, I traced the ways in which engagements with history, myth and literature in museums, schools, walking groups and markets conjured the city as part of divergent and overlapping cultural geographies of nation and empire.
Since 2008 I have examined the ecological and material politics of place-making in a Ukrainian-Romanian Transboundary Biosphere Reserve in Ukraine’s Danube Delta. I have published a series of articles about the impact of new environmental regulation on human and more-than-human landscapes. These include the role of the politics of scientific expertise and the material capacities of irrigation infrastructure in preventing activists from restoring a lagoon ecosystem; how understandings of politics and the political in nonliberal places challenge the adoption of participatory environmental management approaches premised on liberalism; and the ways in which socialist modernization and postsocialist deindustrialization have terrestrialized townspeople’s livelihoods and accelerated the siltation of canals in the Danube Delta town of Vylkove known as “the Ukrainian Venice.” My current research is focused on apiculture and the development of apiculture-related scientific research in Ukraine.