This Week

Monday, April 17, 2017 to Friday, May 26, 2017
Harriman Institute Atrium (12th Floor IAB, 420 West 118th St.)

Please join us for an exhibition of works by artist Mikhail Belomlinsky, curated by Natasha Sharymova and Julia Belomlinskaya.

Exhibit Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm

Opening Reception: 6:00pm Monday, April 17, 2017

Mikhail Belomlinsky started drawing as soon as he could hold a pencil, and hasn't stopped since. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, he received a M.F.A. in illustration from the St. Petersburg Academy of Fine Art, one of the most respected art schools in Europe. Soon after graduation, Belomlinsky was given an opportunity to illustrate J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, and his journey began. He has worked in the illustration market ever since and has been commissioned to illustrate books, posters, greeting cards, caricatures, cartoons, and digital illustration in addition to a variety of other art-related jobs. 

In 1989, Belomlinsky moved to New York City and has worked as a creative director for Novoe Russkoe Slovo, the largest Russian daily newspaper in the United States. He has published over 100 books worldwide and his work has been featured in numerous galleries and exhibitions.

Click here to visit Mikhail Belomlinsky's website.

Image: Marlene Dietrich (1964), ink on paper, mixed media

Monday, May 1, 2017
1512 International Affairs Building (420 West 118th St, 15th floor)

Please join the Harriman Institute and the Institute of Modern Russia for a screening of the documentary film Nemtsov, followed by a Q&A with writer and director of the film Vladimir V. Kara-Murza. The event will be introduced and moderated by Kimberly Marten, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, and Director of the Harriman Institute's Program on U.S.-Russia Relations. Please CLICK HERE to register.

Run time: 66 minutes
Language: Russian with English subtitles

This film chronicles a remarkable political career. It is narrated by those who knew Boris Nemtsov when he was a young scientist and took his first steps in politics, when he held high government offices and was considered Boris Yeltsin’s heir apparent, and when he led Russia’s democratic opposition. Nemtsov recalls the movement against the nuclear plant in Gorky, Soviet Russia’s first free elections, Nizhny Novgorod as the “capital of reforms” under his governorship, the million signatures against the war in Chechnya, conflict with the “oligarchs,” talks over the Kurile Islands, the burial of the last Czar, participation in the protest movement, and other chapters in a long political life. The documentary contains rare archival footage, including some from the Nemtsov family. This film is a portrait; it is not about death. It is about life—the life of a man who could have become president of Russia.

Vladimir Kara-Murza is vice chairman of Open Russia, a Russian pro-democracy movement. He was a longtime colleague and advisor to opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, and chairs the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom. Kara-Murza is a former deputy leader of the People’s Freedom Party, and was a candidate for the Russian State Duma. He has testified on Russian affairs before parliaments in Europe and North America, and has published op-eds the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and other periodicals. He is the author of Reform or Revolution (Moscow 2011), and a contributor to Russia’s Choices: The Duma Elections and After (London 2003), Russian Liberalism: Ideas and People (Moscow 2007), and Why Europe Needs a Magnitsky Law (London 2013). Kara-Murza was previously a correspondent for RTVi, Novye Izvestia and Kommersant, and editor-in-chief of the Russian Investment Review. He directed two documentary films, They Chose Freedom (on the dissident movement in the USSR) and Nemtsov (on the life of Boris Nemtsov). Vladimir Kara-Murza holds an M.A. (Cantab.) in History from Cambridge.

'Nemtsov' trailer (Russian)
Monday, May 1, 2017
2:00pm - 4:00pm
1201 International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St)

Please join us for a discussion with filmmaker Julia Loktev in conversation with Professor Anna Katsnelson about Loktev's film The Loneliest Planet. Note: the film will not be screened at this event.

Julia Loktev is a filmmaker known for her three critically acclaimed feature films, The Loneliest Planet (2011), Day Night Day Night (2006), and Moment of Impact (1998). She was born on December 12, 1969, and lived in Chernaya Ryechka, Leningrad, with her parents Leonid and Larisa Loktev until December 1978, when they immigrated to the United States, settling in Loveland, Colorado. Julia received a BA from McGill University and an MFA from the New York University Graduate Film School. She lives in Brooklyn. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
1512 International Affairs Building (420 W 118th Street)

Please join the Columbia Department of Slavic Languages, the Harriman Institute, Read Russia, and Columbia University Press for a roundtable discussion on translation.

How does the craft of translation affect the reader's experience? How do relationships between translators and authors shape the translating process and the final product? What does it mean to translate faithfully artistic works that exist at the boundary of the communicable? Join master translators Antonina Bouis, Lisa Hayden, Thomas Kitson, and Marian Schwartz in discussion with Ruth Franklin, book critic and author of Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life. Featuring Sergei Lebedev's Oblivion (New Vessel, 2016), Eugene Vodolazkin's Laurus (Oneworld, 2015), Iliazd's Rapture (Columbia University Press, 2017), and Leonid Yuzefovich's Horsemen of the Sands (Archipelago, 2018). 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 to Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Second Floor Common Room, Heyman Center for the Humanities

For up to date information on this event please visit the event page on the Heyman Center website. Registration for this event is required. Please register here

Click here for directions to the Heyman Center. Note that to access the venue you must provide picture ID and sign in at the security desk.

Science has long been associated with modernity, but the belief that it was its engine, that the modern world owed its existence to modern science, only rose after the beginning of the twentieth century. Pioneered by followers of Edmund Husserl (like Alexandre Koyré), and developed in various places in and outside Europe and the United States, the engine thesis became a widespread article of faith, a commonplace even, with far-reaching academic and political consequences.

Academically, the notion animated the emergence of a number of new disciplines. If science had created the modern condition, then one could only hope to understand modern society (and live in it, and lead it) if one understood science – as a phenomenon. On this principle, Herbert Butterfield helped launch the history of science, arguing that modernity was born in the Scientific Revolution. Robert Merton started the sociology of science, associating the modern democratic order with a scientific ethos. And in philosophy, Karl Popper coupled scientific rationality to the “Open Society” that science required. Many of these scholars developed theories of society in tandem with theories of science. Others started to teach understanding science, most influentially James B. Conant, who offered “Case Histories” in chemistry and physics to all Harvard undergraduates.

But the study of science as the engine of modernity was never a purely academic exercise. At the same time that the above disciplines were created, science came to be taken as the key to economic growth and the basis of modernization – views intimately tied up with the establishment of “science policy” as a function of the state, and “development” as a political aim around the world. Belief in the universality of science reinforced the notion of a single path to modernity. But while such “modernization theory” is mainly known from its American manifestations, similar (and sometimes rival) approaches developed in Asia, the Middle East, and the burgeoning European Union. Science became a subject of study also in Latin America and the Soviet Union. Paradoxically, the belief in universal science proved itself rather diverse. Some of this came out in early UNESCO, which placed science at the heart of its conception of modern culture, and made it the basis for relentless forms of modernization that were not globally welcomed.

In this workshop we want to examine the meanings and implications of the science-as-modernity’s-engine thesis. Where did the notion come from? What did its advocates try to achieve? And how were science and modernity themselves reconfigured in the launch of the science studies disciplines? At the same time, we want to explore the links between academia and action. How was the centrality of science related to views of science policy and development? How did these perspectives vary with what modernization meant in different places? And how did the various ensembles of scholarly activity, discipline formation, and policy design relate to the great upheavals of the time: the devastations of the First and Second World War, the crisis of Europe and its empires, the ascendancy of the United States and the USSR. If this is what modernity looked like, then how was science construed as its originator?


Geert Somsen
Senior Lecturer
Maastricht University

Marwa Elshakry
Associate Professor of History
Columbia University

Eugenia Lean
Associate Professor of East Asian Language-Culture
Columbia University

Lorraine Daston
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Alex Csiszar
Assistant Professor of the History of Science
Harvard University

Andrew Jewett
Assistant Professor of History and of Social Studies
Harvard University

Elena Aronova
Assistant Professor
University of California Santa Barbara

Elise Aurières
Ph.D Student
Université Paris 1 - Panthéon-Sorbonn

Nick Jardine
Emeritus Professor
University of Cambridge

Steve Fuller
Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology
University of Warwick

Adriana Feld
Professor of Secondary and Higher Education
National Council of Scientific and Technical Research, Buenos Aires

Thomas Mougey
PhD Candidate, Department of History
Maastricht University

Jahnavi Phalkey
Senior Lecturer in History of Science and Technology
Kings College London

Małgorzata Mazurek
Associate Professor of Polish Studies
Columbia University

George Reisch
Independent Scholar

Gabriela Soto Laveaga
Professor of the History of Science
Harvard University


The Center for Science & Society at Columbia University
The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
Weatherhead East Asian Institute
Department of History
Center for International History
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Marwa Elshakry and Geert Somsen

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 International Affairs Building)

Please join us for a talk with Dr. Sarah E. Mendelson, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council, and Harriman Institute alumna.

Support for this event was provided by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Dr. Sarah E. Mendelson discusses her experience serving in both the U.S. Mission to the U.N. and the U.S. Agency for International Development during the Obama years. She had a front row seat to a wide array of issues including pushing back on closing space for civil society and foreign assistance, combating human trafficking, and responding to the largest crisis in forced displacement since World War II. She reflects on what worked in policy entrepreneurship and what did not.

Ambassador Sarah E. Mendelson served as the U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations until January 20, 2017. Confirmed by the Senate in October 2015, she was the USUN lead on international development, human rights, and humanitarian affairs. There she oversaw campaigns to get numerous country-specific resolutions passed in the General Assembly, including the first one on the human rights situation in Crimea, and to get NGOs including the Committee to Protect Journalists accredited to the U.N. despite objections of Russia and many other member states. She led efforts to elevate the issue of combating human trafficking and was senior lead for the President’s Summit on Refugees. She has spent over two decades working on development and human rights as a scholar and practitioner. Prior to her appointment as Ambassador, she served as a Deputy Assistant Administrator at USAID from 2010-2014 where she was the Agency lead on democracy, human rights, and governance. The author of over seventy scholarly and public policy publications, Ambassador Mendelson received her BA from Yale University and her PhD (and Harriman Institute Certificate) from Columbia University.

Thursday, May 4, 2017 to Saturday, May 6, 2017
International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St.)

The Harriman Institute hosts the 22nd Annual ASN World Convention.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Click here to register. 

ASN’s Annual World Convention is as international as ever with 700+ panelists from 52 countries. The program will feature in excess of 160 panels, including the screening of more than a dozen new documentaries.

The Convention offers an exceptionally strong lineup of panels on all regions of the former Communist world and Eurasia: Central Europe (22 panels), Russia (22), Balkans (19), Ukraine (17), Central Asia/China (13), Turkey/Greece (12), and the Caucasus (10). Our thematic sections – Nationalism Studies (20 panels) and Migration (10) – are also on the rise.

A record 23 book panels will be featured, including the latest from Tim Snyder (On Tyranny), Marci Shore (The Ukrainian Night), Josh Tucker & Grigo Pop-Eleches (Communism’s Shadow), Lawrence Douglas (The Right Wrong Man), Max Bergholz (Violence as a Generative Force), Alex Cooley (Dictators without Borders) and Bob Legvold (Return to Cold War). The full list appears at

There will be special roundtables on “The Deepening of Authoritarianism in Turkey,” "The Contribution of Walker Connor to the Study of Nationalism,” and “The Trump Election and its Consequences for the Balkans,” as well as workshops on “How to Get an Article Published” and How to Prepare Proposals for Fellowships, Seed Grants and Post-Docs.

The opening reception will be held on the 15th Floor of Columbia University’s International Affairs Building, (420 W. 118th St.), New York on Thursday, May 4th at 7:30 PM. The closing reception will be in the same location — on Saturday, May 6th at 5:30 PM. The ASN Harriman Book Prize, the Best Doctoral Students Papers Awards and Film Festival Award will be featured in a special ceremony on the Saturday (time to be announced).