Features

“Body Leads”: Medicalizing Cultural Difference, or, what are we doing when we Say Putin Has Asperger’s Syndrome?

A recent USA Today article described a report from a Department of Defense think tank study that suggested that President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has “neurological abnormalities” and, perhaps, an Autism Spectrum Disorder. The report, part of a project entitled “Body Leads,” which claims to use analysis of bodily behavior to suggest underlying neurological states, was originally written …

Books

Alexander Etkind’s Warped Mourning

Warped Mourning: Stories of the Undead in the Land of the Unburied

by Alexander Etkind

Stanford University Press, 2013; 328 pages.

 

Scholars of social and cultural memory in the post-Soviet space are well aware of the Memory at War project—the international collaborative effort to understand battles over memory as they were waged in postsocialist Poland, Russia, and Ukraine. …

Features

Reflex/Рефлекс

Reflex. The images themselves seem to come reflexively.  The clinician’s percussion hammer bouncing off of the knee. A startled infant.  I hadn’t thought much about the idea of the reflex. At least not since the fifth grade, when I had unsuccessfully tried to condition four white laboratory mice to respond either to the sound of a bell or a flashing …

Web Roundups

Sports? What sports? A web roundup on Sochi 2014

As usual, The Onion sums up what all the other English-language coverage of the Sochi Olympics will likely sound like. Maryam Omidi goes to Zizek for an explanation of the widely-circulated twin toilet story. How are Western magazines covering the Olympics? Brian Whitmore, Kirill Kobrin and Mark Galeotti discuss the politics surrounding the Sochi games. William Nickell explores the history …

Features

Informality as an analytical category in research on healthcare

In November 2013, the Academic Swiss Caucasus Net (ASCN) and the Interfaculty Institute for Central and Eastern Europe at the University of Fribourg hosted a conference that aimed to “identify and compare forms, functions and meanings of informal structures and practices in Eastern Europe and Central Asia” (SOYUZ list-serv, call for papers). In this essay, I comment on conversations that …

Books

Morten Axel Pedersen’s Not Quite Shamans

Not Quite Shamans: Spirit Worlds and Political Lives in Northern Mongolia

by Morten Axel Pedersen

Cornell University Press, 2011. 272 pages, US$28.95, paperback.

 

The intersection between the collapse of the Soviet state and the resurgence of religious practices has by now acquired a substantial body of scholarship both in anthropology and in other disciplines. A number of recent accounts …