Biography

Robert A. Saunders is a Professor in the Department of History, Politics, and Geography at Farmingdale State College - SUNY, where he teaches courses on comparative religions, global politics, and 20th-century world history. In addition to his role as an instructor, Dr. Saunders also serves as the campus liaison to the United Nations. He holds a Ph.D. in Global Affairs from Rutgers University and degrees in History from Stony Brook University (M.A.) and the University of Florida (B.A.). His geographic areas of focus include Russia and Central Asia, Europe, and the Muslim world. His research explores the impact of popular culture and mass media on geopolitics, nationalism, and religious identity.

Dr. Saunders' articles have appeared in Progress in Human Geography, Nations and Nationalism, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Slavic Review, Europe-Asia Studies, Identities, Russia in Global Affairs, and Geopolitics, as well as other journals. He is the curator of the "Popular Culture and IR" blog channel at E-International Relations.

Based on his extensive work on Kazakhstan's feud with the British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, Harper's labeled him the "world's leading Boratologist." His 2008 book on the subject is entitled The Many Faces of Sacha Baron Cohen: Politics, Parody, and the Battle over Borat. He is also the author of Ethnopolitics in Cyberspace: The Internet, Minority Nationalism, and the Web of Identity (2010) and the co-author, with Vlad Strukov, of the Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation (2010). His most recent book is entitled Popular Geopolitics and Nation Branding in the Post-Soviet Realm (Routledge, 2017), which explores the tension between Western pop-culture representations of the former Soviet republics and their own attempts at country branding. He is currently co-editing (with Strukov) a volume tentatively titled Popular Geopolitics: Plotting an Evolving Interdiscipline.

During the fall of 2014, Dr. Saunders held a Visiting Senior Research Fellowship at the University of Leeds hosted by the School of Modern Languages and Cultures' Leeds Russian Centre. In 2017, he was named an Honorary Fellow of the Leeds Russian Centre. Dr. Saunders is also a member of the "Soft Power, Cinema and the BRICS” research network, which is funded by the British Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to carry out a range of research and outreach activities between 2015-2017. In 2016, Dr. Saunders was awarded the prestigious Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, a system-wide accolade for sustained scholarship presented by the State University of New York (SUNY).

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Recent Publications

Geopolitical Television at the (B)order: Liminality, Global Politics, and World-building in The Bridge
Social & Cultural Geography (online in pre-print publication) 20 November 2017
​The Ritual of Beer Consumption as Discursive Intervention: Effigy, Sensory Politics, and Resistance in Everyday IR (with Jack Holland) 
​Millennium: Journal of International Studies (online in pre-print publication) 5 November 2017
​Small Screen IR: A Tentative Typology of Geopolitical Television
Geopolitics (online in pre-print-publication) 3 November 2017
​Popular Geopolitics and Nation Branding in the Post-Soviet Realm
Routledge Research in Place, Space, and Politics Series; Hardback and e-Book (2017)
The Popular Geopolitics Feedback Loop: Thinking beyond the ‘Russia versus the West’ Paradigm (with Vlad Strukov)
Europe-Asia Studies, 2016, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp. 303-324

Research

Ongoing research projects, abstracts of peer-refereed articles, and links to books and other publications.

Presentations

Conference papers, public speeches, and other presentations.

Teaching

Pedagogical philosophy, a list of courses taught, an overview of online teaching methodologies, sample course content, etc.

Blog

Short essays and analytical pieces on topical issues associated with my research, scholarship, and teaching.

Photos

Photos, images, and other visual documents related to my research, scholarship, and teaching.