Harriman Institute postdoctoral research scholars


  • Rhiannon Dowling

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar
    Columbia University
    212 854-4623

    Rhiannon Dowling is a Modern European historian specializing in the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in May 2017. 
    Her book manuscript, “The Soviet War on Crime: The Criminal in Society, 1953-1991” places the problem of crime at the center of late Soviet life. Telling the story of the Soviet “War on Crime” of the 1960s and 1970s, she shows that what started during the “thaw” as an earnest effort to discover the roots of criminality, instead revealed to the broader public a culture of corruption that permeated the state from root to branch. Further, she shows that grassroots efforts to battle corruption which we tend to associate with Gorbachev and his era, actually began in the Brezhnev era, laying the groundwork for many of the most important and surprising elements of perestroika and glasnost.
    At the Harriman Institute, Dowling will be completing her book manuscript, as well as a companion article about one of the first publicly acknowledged Soviet serial killers, whose trial in 1964 exposed the limits of Khrushchev’s campaign for public participation in police and judicial work. She will also be researching her second book project on children’s colonies in Soviet Russia and Ukraine, exploring the parallel development of Soviet pedagogical and penal practices. She will be teaching courses on Russian and Soviet history and the problem of crime. 
    Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. She has published articles in the journal Aspasia: International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women’s History on the role of popular film in Soviet and U.S. Cold War propaganda campaigns, and in the journal Russian History, adapting a chapter of her dissertation into an article on gender and mass participation in the Soviet justice system during the Brezhnev era.

  • Daria Ezerova

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar
    Columbia University
    212 854-4623

    Daria V. Ezerova specializes in twentieth-century and contemporary Russian culture and society with a focus on ideology, theories of space, and Putin-era literature and cinema. She received her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Yale University in 2018. 

    Her book project Derelict Futures: The Spaces of Socialism in Russian Literature and Film, 1991-2012 examines how political power shaped the representation of space and time after the collapse of the USSR. Combining insights from social sciences and critical theory with research on urbanism, literature, and cinema, the project stakes a broader claim that the spatial expression of the idea of progress reveals distinct phases in the way Russian culture registered the fall of the USSR. Through this, it exposes cultural and political complexities obscured by the umbrella category of “post-Soviet” and participates in a transdisciplinary conversation about the interconnection of spatial practices, politics, and culture, as well as broader debates on the relationship between post-socialism and post-modernity. At the Harriman Institute, Dr. Ezerova will be completing her book manuscript as well as an article on the reemergence of the chernukha mode across media after the protests of 2011-13. She will also be teaching courses on post-Soviet and contemporary Russian culture.

    Before coming to the Harriman Institute, Dr. Ezerova was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian Studies at Davidson College. She has an additional research interest in art history and her article on the influence of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood on Russian Symbolism is forthcoming in Slavic Review. She is also interested in the study of popular culture and has a chapter on horror and “body genres” in an anthology on Russian cinema. As the President of the ASEEES Working Group on Cinema and Television, she curates the film series for the ASEEES annual convention.



  • Paula Ganga

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar
    Columbia University
    212 854-4623

    Paula Ganga is a political scientist with an interest in comparative politics, political economy and political methodology with a regional emphasis on Eastern Europe and other post-communist societies. She received her Ph.D. from Georgetown University in July 2018. 

    Dr. Ganga’s book manuscript focuses on political determinants of switches between privatization and nationalization. She examines the economic policy shifts between privatization and nationalization prompted by the interaction of international economic pressures and domestic politics. In this project Dr. Ganga uses an original data set of privatizations and nationalizations since 1950 as well as data from extensive field work in Eastern Europe and shows that populist parties in power may pursue an economic nationalist policy regardless of their formal commitments to international economic openness. 

    Her major project at Harriman focuses on the Economic Consequences of Populism. The project examines the impact of populists in power both on the prospects for democracy as the way these leaders concentrate power either within state institutions or—more likely—within closed elites around the populist leadership. The economic nationalism and welfare chauvinism emerging from populist rhetoric and gathering ever increasing support across Europe and elsewhere threaten to reshape the domestic and global economic landscape. Dr. Ganga’s research bears directly on how nations view the link between democracy and market capitalism, populism, rising illiberalism in recent political transitions and state capitalism.

    Before coming to the Harriman Institute, Paula was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Skalny Center for Polish and Central Eastern European Studies, University of Rochester, and a George F. Kennan Short-term Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.   

  • Seonhee Kim

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Russian Politics
    Columbia University
    212 854-4623

    Seonhee Kim specializes in the politics of authoritarian and hybrid regimes in the region of Russia, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in December 2019.Kim’s work broadly speaks to the field of comparative politics and political economy, mainly covering the topics of state repression, social movements, judicial politics, authoritarian electoral institutions, space security, and the welfare state. Her doctoral research focused on judicial measures used to repress civil society in Russia since the Bolotnaya protest in 2012. The dissertation project investigates how the use of officially established procedures for the state’s coercion in the pursuit of regime legitimacy results in an unexpectedly moderate level of repression. The case of Russia reveals that the preexisting institutional structure of the repressive apparatus as a whole prefers quantity over quality in the direction of avoiding bureaucratic liability, dictating the terms of investigation, prosecution, and, finally, courts’ rulings. The confluence of the repressive laws and the preexisting institutional inertia results in a proliferating rate of convictions with light punishment, accounting for the relatively mild level of coercion.
    At the Harriman Institute, Kim will work on converting her doctoral dissertation into a book on state repression in contemporary authoritarian regimes, with the addition of cases from comparative states. Other ongoing research projects probe the role of the judiciary in the state’s response to dissent movements in Russia; the strategies for informational control to manage popular discourse. Seonhee Kim has presented her research at several conferences, such as International Junior Workshop for Slavic and Eurasian Studies at UCL, U.K (2016), Post-Communism 25+ at OSCE, Issuk Kul, Kyrgyzstan, (2016), MPSA, Chicago (2018), REECAS NW at UW (2018), and APSA, Washington D.C. (2019).

  • Olena Martynyuk

    Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Ukrainian Studies
    Columbia University
    212 854-4623

    Olena Martynyuk is an art historian with an interest in art theory and philosophy. Her research focuses on Ukrainian and Russian art from the late 20thcentury to the present. She graduated with a Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers University in January 2018. 

    Her dissertation, titled “Postmodern Perestroika: Ukrainian-Russian Artistic Networks of the 1980s-90s,” examines the work of artists in the last Soviet generation. Trained in Socialist Realist methods while witnessing the decomposition of Soviet reality, these Ukrainian and Russian artists invented hybrid art forms that reflected their transitional time period. The dissertation analyzes major paintings of the era, revealing the porous nature of borders separating East and West in the late 1980s, and examines how distant and sometimes distorted echoes of Western theoretical concepts such as Postmodernism, Neo-Expressionism, Transavantgarde, and Neo-Baroque impacted the art of the late Soviet period.

    While at the Harriman Institute Dr. Martynyuk will continue her work on transforming her dissertation into a book manuscript with attention to the influence of Ukraine’s delayed postcolonial emancipation on Ukrainian visual culture of the late 20thcentury.  She will also continue co-editing with Dr. Alla Rosenfeld a compendium of articles on Ukrainian 20th-century art by Ukrainian and Western scholars. 

    Martynyuk is the recipient of the Louise Bevier Dissertation Fellowship. She has taught art history classes at Rutgers University and CUNY College of Staten Island, and has curated exhibitions at the Zimmerli Art Museum, The Ukrainian Museum, and the Ukrainian Institute of America in NYC. Her most recent show of Kyiv perestroika art will open at the Zimmerli Art Museum in spring of 2020.