2016 Fisher Forum


June 17-18, 2016

General Lounge (Room 210), Illini Union
(1401 W. Green St., Urbana, IL 61801)

Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Organized by: Cynthia Buckley (Professor of Sociology) and Paul McNamara (Associate Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics)

Co-Sponsored by: Fisher Forum Endowment, Illinois International Programming, Center for Global Studies, Global Health Initiative, Russian and East European Institute (REEI) at Indiana University

Fisher Forum Schedule of Events

Health and population trends raise important social, political and economic issues across Eurasia. Demographic developments in this region also inform critical relationships between health and social support, inequality, and human rights across the social science disciplines. Moreover, the Eurasian case informs and challenges several core theoretical approaches in the field of epidemiology and public health. Throughout an intensive two days of sessions, we will focus on how broader theories related to health and population change contextualize the patterns and processes observed in Eurasia. We will examine how the empirical evidence from Eurasia informs and expands existing theories in the areas of population and health. Pursuing this dual focus, we delve into three core questions:

  1. What are the positive and negative health legacies of structural change and institutional resilience in Eurasia?
  2. What are the processes and interpretations employed by individual actors as they navigate uncertainty and make health related decisions in the Eurasian context?
  3. How do the cumulative results of health behaviors in Eurasia confirm, expand or challenge existing theories related to the relationship between economic inequality and health outcomes?


Examining these issues through the study of differentials in health profiles by sex, age and ethnicity, patterns of migrant health selectivity, the progression of the second demographic transition (the onset of low/lowest fertility), indicators of the importance of health care quality over coverage, how stigma and discrimination hinder access to care, and the link between social attitudes/community membership and negative health behaviors supports the integration of Eurasian experiences into larger discussions of health and population trends.

List of Participants:

Cynthia Buckley, Professor of Sociology, REEES, and LAS Global Studies University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Ethnic Differentials in Reported Disability: Insights from Russia and Estonia
Victor Agadjanian, Professor of Sociology University of Kansas International Migration and Sexual Reproductive Health in Post-Soviet Eurasia
Erin Koch, Associate Professor of Anthropology University of Kentucky Displacement and the Politics of Care in Georgia
Nicole M. Butkovich Kraus, Assistant Professor of Sociology Rutgers University Xenophobia and Homophobia in the Russian Federation and Eastern Europe
Yuri Frantsuz, Associate Professor of Social Work St. Petersburg University of Humanities and Social Sciences The Impact of Income Inequality on Health in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Countries
Sarah Phillips, Professor of Anthropology Indiana University Harm Reduction and the Transformation of Public Health and Governance in Ukraine
Jill Owczarzak, Assistant Professor of Health, Behavior and Society Johns Hopkins University Harm Reduction and the Transformation of Public Health and Governance in Ukraine
William Alex Pridemore, Dean and Professor of Criminal Justice University at Albany – State University of New York Crime, Justice, and Death in Post-Soviet Russia
Theodore P. Gerber, Professor of Sociology University of Wisconsin-Madison Housing and Fertility in Russia, 1992-2013
Hannah Reiss, PhD Candidate in Anthropology University of California-Los Angeles Training TB Specialists in Social Medicine: an NGO Patient Support Initiative in Tajikistan


Biographies of Participants

Cynthia Buckley
Cynthia Buckley is Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Prior to her arrival at Illinois, Professor Buckley was a faculty member of both the Department of Sociology and the Department of Eurasian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, she served as the Director of CREEES, Chair of the Department of Eurasian Studies, Training Director for the Population Research Center, and was on the Executive Committee of the Faculty Council. For two years prior to her arrival at Illinois, Professor Buckley was on administrative leave from the University of Texas and served as a Program Director at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). During her time at SSRC, she directed fellowship and research programs for Eurasia. Professor Buckley earned a BA in Economics and an MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of Michigan. Her research interests are in social demography, methodology, global health, international migration, Eurasia, and reproductive health.

Victor Agadjanian
Professor Agadjanian is the Foundation Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Kansas. He received his PhD from the University of Southern California. He conducts research on the various aspects of social and demographic change in developing and transitional settings. He has studied migration, sexual and reproductive behavior, gender, ethnicity, and religion. He has directed several large projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, United States Agency for International Development, and other agencies in sub-Saharan Africa and Central Eurasia (Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia). He has published in several languages in leading international scholarly outlets.

Erin Koch
Erin Koch is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Co-Director of the Health, Society & Populations undergraduate program at the University of Kentucky. Her research and teaching interests include medical anthropology, science and technology studies, infectious disease, and Global Health institutions and practices. She has conducted extensive research in Georgia about the ways in which cultural, political, and economic transformations affect scientific and medical knowledge production in the context of tuberculosis control. She has also examined how protracted displacement—and more specifically changes in IDP-related social services—affect the health status of individuals living in collective centers.

Nicole M. Butkovich Kraus
Nicole M. Butkovich Kraus is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, Newark. Her work focuses on social stratification, intergroup relations, and the nature of prejudice and xenophobia in the Russian Federation and Former Soviet States. Her current projects focus on disaggregating the nature of prejudice, analyzing xenophobia among young Russians, and comparing xenophobia cross-nationally. Kraus recently published “Pride Versus Prejudice: Ethnicity, National Identity, and Xenophobia in Russia” in Comparative Politics with co-author Yoshiko Herrera.

Yuri Frantsuz
Prof. Frantsuz defended his “kandidatskaya” dissertation on the financial problems of demographic policy implementation from the Academy of Sciences Institute for Social and Economic Problems at the Unit of Demography and Manpower Resources. He received an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Minnesota. Currently, he is a “docent” (Russian equivalent to Associate Professor) at the St. Petersburg University of Humanities and Social Sciences, where he teaches 9 courses. He also lectures at St. Petersburg State University and the National Research University-Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg Branch), where he teaches courses in English on Social Problems and Demography. Additionally,, he teaches a course on Russian Demography via Skype for his institution’s partner university in the U.S., the University of Houston. He has received several honors and awards for teaching and research, both in Russia and the U.S. He is also a grantee of Central European University (Hungary), and a participant of various national and international professional conferences. His major research focus is fertility, which can be viewed as a health outcome. While analyzing demographic policy in his “kandidatskaya” dissertation, he touched on some of the paramount reproductive health problems in Russia. He has presented on health issues at the international IUSSP conference in Tours, France (“New Dimensions for Studying Obesity”). The topic of health was present in several of his publications on demographic development in Russia. Health issues are an integral part of several of his courses: he applies epidemiological transition theory to the pattern of mortality decline in the USSR/Russia, and discusses how self-preserving behavior contributes to health status in his courses on Sociology and Social Problems.

Sarah D. Phillips
Sarah D. Phillips is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Russian and East European Institute (REEI) at Indiana University. She double majored in Russian and Anthropology as an undergraduate at Wake Forest University, and earned her PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2002. In 2015, Phillips was awarded the Association for Women in Slavic Studies Outstanding Achievement Award. Also in 2015, Phillips was elected Board Member-at-Large for ASEEES, and she was Treasurer for the Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) from 2012 to 2015 (elected position). She was editor-in-chief of Anthropology of East Europe Review from 2008 to 2013. Her research specialties are in gender, health, disability, social movements, and identity politics in the former Soviet Union, especially Ukraine. Phillips has published two books with Indiana University Press, Women’s Social Activism in the New Ukraine: Development and the Politics of Differentiation (2008) and Disability and Mobile Citizenship in Postsocialist Ukraine (2011). She is currently completing (as co-investigator) a collaborative four-year research project at the intersection of anthropology and public health called “A Novel, Bottom-up Approach to HIV prevention among Injecting Drug Users in Ukraine” with Principal Investigator Jill Owczarzak (Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University). At Indiana University, Phillips teaches courses in the Anthropology of Russia and East Europe, Postsocialist Gender Formations, and Medical Anthropology, as well as the REEI MA Capstone seminar.

Jill Owczarzak
Jill Owczarzak isAssistant Professor of Health, Behavior and Society at Johns Hopkins University. She received her PhD from the University of Kentucky. She is a medical anthropologist with expertise in qualitative research methods, exploring the influence of cultural, social, and political forces on health disparities, and the ways in which frontline service providers use evidence-based HIV prevention interventions. Currently, she is a Dual Principal Investigator of a 5-year NIH-funded research project that explores the effects of organizational characteristics and implementation fidelity on the effectiveness of the HIV prevention intervention SISTA. She is also the Principal Investigator of a 4-year NIH-funded research project that will explore HIV prevention intervention development and implementation among nongovernmental organizations that work with intravenous drug users in Ukraine. In addition, she has also served as an investigator on several other research projects, including a 5-year multi-site research project that aimed to develop a social network-based HIV prevention intervention for black men who have sex with men, a project exploring supportive housing programs, drug use, and HIV risk, and a project that explored the use of advanced communication technology methods in science-to-service dissemination among nongovernmental organizations in Eastern Europe.

William Alex Pridemore
Dr. Pridemore is Dean and Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at University at Albany – State University of New York. He received his PhD in 2000 from Albany and spent 2003-2004 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard in the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. In 2015, he received the Freda Adler Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology’s Division of International Criminology and the Gerhard Mueller Award from the Academy of Criminal Justice’s International Section, both for significant contributions to international criminology over the course of his career. He is a founding Editorial Board member of the new Annual Review of Criminology, the American Society of Criminology’s liaison to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was the Founding Director of Indiana University’s Workshop in Methods. Dr. Pridemore’s main research interests include the impact of social structure on homicide and suicide rates, role of alcohol in violence and mortality, and sociology of health and illness. Other research interests include violence and premature mortality in Russia, determining effects of policy on outcomes like violence and health, rural criminology and sociology, and measurement and method. Dr. Pridemore’s research has been funded by National Institutes of Health, National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, National Institute of Justice, and National Science Foundation. His research is interdisciplinary in nature and has been published in leading journals in several disciplines, including criminology (Criminology, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Justice Quarterly), public health and epidemiology (American Journal of Public Health, Addiction), and sociology (Annual Review of Sociology, Journal of Health & Social Behavior, Social Forces, Social Problems). He also edited a volume on law, crime, and justice in transitional Russia, which was published by Rowman & Littlefield.

Theodore P. Gerber
Theodore P. Gerber is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA) at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Gerber’s research examines social inequality, economic change, public opinion, migration and family processes in contemporary Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and other former Soviet countries. He has authored or co-authored 45 articles that were published in top peer-reviewed journals such as American Sociological Review and American Journal of Sociology. His work has also appeared in prominient political science journals (Foreign Affairs, International Security, Political Science Quarterly, and the Washington Quarterly), the top journal in the History of Science (Social Studies of Science), high quality interdisciplinary publications, and journals specializing in the former Soviet Union (Post Soviet Affairs, Europe-Asia Studies, Problems of Post-Communism). He has conducted over 30 original surveys in Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, other former Soviet countries, Iraq, the Philippines, and the United States.

Hannah Reiss
Hannah Reiss is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2012, she was named a SSRC Pre-Dissertation Fellow. Her research explores the social contexts of illness, treatment, and care for tuberculosis patients and their families in Tajikistan. She is interested in how social forces, conditions, practices, and understandings promote or impede treatment as patients and their families navigate illness and therapy.

Library Guide: Population, Health and Social Change in Eurasia

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