Nancy Ries

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Nancy Ries

Professor of Anthropology, Emerita
  • BA, Boston College, 1976
  • MA, Cornell University, 1989
  • PhD, Cornell University, 1993

Symbolic anthropology, social theory, Russian culture and society, peace and conflict studies

Social and cultural transformation in Russia: poverty, crime, corruption, elites, mafia; comparative anthropology of post-socialism; violence and war in comparative perspective; social theory of weaponry.  Elephant poaching and the anthropology of the anthropocene.

  • "What Happened to the Russian Mafiya: Chaos to Crisis Militarization under Putin." (2012)
  • "Thugocracy: Bandit Regimes and State Capture" in Safundi (2020). 
  • "The Broken Nuclear Taboo." Leviathan Journal, University of Edinburgh (2016).
  • Ukraine and Russia: The Agency of War.  Fieldsites - Hot Spots: Cultural Anthropology Online. October 28, 2014. Curated collection of short essays.
  • "Potato Ontology: Surviving Postsocialism in Russia" in Cultural Anthropology (2009); winner of Cultural Horizons Prize
  • "Russia in Transition: The Films of Sergei Loznitsa" film review in Slavic Review (2008). 
  • Communal Living in Russia: A Virtual Museum of Soviet Everyday Life, National Endowment for the Humanities Teaching and Learning Resources website, co-authored with Ilya Utekhin, Slava Paperno, and Alice Nakhimovsky (2006-2008)
  • Book series co-editor, "Culture and Society after Socialism" (Cornell University Press, 2000-present)
  • "Talking about Talk," in Etnograficheskoe Obozrenie [Ethnographic Perspectives] special issue  devoted to Russian Talk (2006)
  • "Anthropology and Eurasia: Why Culture Matters in the Study of Postsocialism, invited cover essay for AAASS NewsNet (2005)
  • Russkie Razgovory Russian translation of Russian Talk (Moscow: NLO Press 2005)
  • "Profiling the Bourgeoisie: the New Elite about Themselves" in Family Ties (Moscow: NLO Press, 2003), Ries Profil' Burzhuaznosti (PDF)
  • "Everyday Comfort and Terror: Anthropology and Local Theory" in New Literary History (2002) Anthropology and the Everyday (PDF)
  • "Honest Bandits' and 'Warped People': Russian Narratives about Money, Corruption, and Moral Decay" in Ethnography in Unstable Places (Duke University Press, 2002) "Honest Bandits and "Warped People" (PDF)
  • "Russia," chapter in Encyclopedia of National Cultures (MacMillan, 2001)
  • "Russian Culture," in Encyclopedia of Russian History
  • "Business, Taxes, and Corruption in Russia in Anthropology of East Europe Review (1999)
  • Russian Talk: Culture and Conversation during Perestroika, (Cornell University Press, 1997)
  • "The Burden of Mythic Identity: Russian Women at Odds with Themselves" in Feminist Nightmares: Women at Odds - An Anthology of Essays on the Problematics of Sisterhood (New York University Press, 1994)
  • Other articles in Ethnographic Perspectives and Soviet Ethnography (Moscow); The Anthropology of East Europe Review, Kyoto Journal
  • Book reviews in American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, Russian Review, Slavic Review, and Slavonica
  • Guest editor for The Anthropology of East Europe Review (2003, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1995)
  • Core Faculty, HESP/OSI Higher Education and Scholarship Development Project (Slovenia, Bosnia, Serbia-Montenegro - 2003-2006)
  • Elected Member, AAASS Board of Trustees (2004-06) and Executive Committee (05-06)
  • NCEEER Board (2000-06): Chair, AAASS Student Prize Committee (2004-06)
  • Co-founder, SOYUZ: Post-Communist Cultural Studies Interest Group
  • Balmuth Prize for Teaching and Student Engagement (2021)
  • Cultural Horizons Prize for "Potato Ontology" (2010)
  • Member (2007-08), Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ
  • NEH Teaching & Learning Resources Grant (Co-PI with Alice Nakhimovsky, 2006-08)
  • Heldt Prize for the Best Book by a Woman in Slavic and East European Studies, 1997
  • National Council for Soviet and East European Research, Research Grant for fieldwork on narratives of social change and class stratification in Russia. Colgate University Research Council Grant, 1997
  • Social Science Research Council Three-Year Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1994-1997
  • Phi Beta Kappa, National Slavic Honor Society