Upcoming and Recent Events

“Extending the Katechon: Religio-Civilizational Vectors in Russia’s Intervention in the Levant,” Striking from the Margins Conference: State, Disintegration and Devolution of Authority in the Arab Middle East, Issam Fares Institute – American University of Beirut, Lebanon (January 15-17, 2019)
In the mid-19th century, tsarist Russia went to war with an international coalition of Western countries and the Ottoman Empire over the rights of Christian minorities in the Holy Land. A century-and-a-half later, the Russian Federation launched a military campaign to support the Assad regime in Syria, pitting Moscow against the U.S., France, and other powers in the region. In both instances, the Russian state advocated a messianic mission based on ‘protecting’ imperiled peoples and preserving civilization from chaos. Using Engström’s (2014) concept of katechon (κατέχων), this paper examines the visual and discursive geopolitics of Russia’s current engagement in the Levant through the lens of ‘withholding chaos’. My case study will focus on the visual securitization of the holy city of Palmyra and the subsequent concert held there by the Russian military in May 2016. With a focus on the current splintering of the Levant along sectarian and ethnic lines, I examine the moralistic and deontological frameworks that Russia employs in its use of military force, while also reflecting on historical parallels in the country’s past involvement in the Eastern Mediterranean. By framing intervention in religio-civilizational terms, I argue that Russia is using the Levant as a key plank in the resumption of its long-held status as the global defender of traditional values, true religion, and genuine culture.
"Screening the Regions: Framework for Studying the Geopolitical Aspects of Television Drama Series across Europe” (with Anne Marit Waade), 7th European Communication Conference, Lugano, Switzerland, (October 31 – November 3, 2018)
Drawing on Saunders’ (2017) typology of geopolitical television, or "small screen IR," the authors of this paper will develop the ideas further and suggest a framework for studying how these geopolitical mind-sets affect and reflect the production and the reception of the series. By doing so, we will include location study (Hansen & Waade, 2017) and the empirical design developed for the research project What Makes Danish Television Drama Travel in which we have studied the production, the text and the reception of the series across countries and continents. In general, media and fiction inform the way people understand and navigate in a political realm. Television drama genres contributes to this understanding in particular ways, for example horror, action, melodrama, soap and historical drama. In this context, we will focus on political drama and crime drama. We can talk about a certain "House of Cards–effect," in which the series speak into a social and political realm, that let the distinction between reality and fiction pale into insignificance. Furthermore, on a reception and format level, television drama series are consumed in an everyday setting and encompasses a seriality that makes it interplay and blend with everyday life over time. The viewers develop a strong relationship to the characters and the setting in the series, and the series influence the viewers experience and understanding of reality and space. In this context, we will focus on the geopolitical aspects of contemporary European television drama series; how they reflect geopolitical issues, spatial understanding and conflicts across countries and regions, as well as how they work as "world-building" reality schemata for producers and audiences. 
"Pissing on the Past, or the Urinal as a Space of Effigial Resistance" with Rhys Crilley (Open University, UK) at the Millennium Conference 
on Revolution and Resistance in World Politics, London, UK (October 27-28, 2018)
The everyday constitutes a powerful, though often unseen aspect of how politics and International Relations (IR) get done. Employing the concept of "everyday effigial resistance" (Saunders and Holland 2017), we interrogate the act of pissing on an effigy of historical figures associated with the Highland Clearances (Scotland) in the men’s toilet at the Lismore pub in Partick, a suburb of Glasgow. Our theoretically-informed case study examines the sensorial and affective politics of biopolitical effigy, focusing on the sights, sounds, smells and bodily sensations associated with the act of urinating on perpetrators of what some historians have deemed modern Britain’s first act of "ethnic cleansing." In its focus on the masculine spaces associated with this specific performance of everyday resistance, our analysis engages the feminist critique of effigial practices by linking literal/figurative "taking the piss" to (male) genitalia via the act of politicised micturition (unseen by female eyes). We view such activity as a potential act of resistance, one which produces latent somatic markers which may – in time – be activated and result in political action, but also one which is reserved for men. Moving beyond the case study, our paper also interrogates the wider politics of pissing, providing a brief overview of urination as a (geo)political act, focusing on the spatial dimensions that have made it difficult, even impossible for women, the less-abled, LGBTQ and others to relieve themselves in public spaces when compared to heterosexual men. Concurrently, we interrogate the spatial and temporal politics of pissing on something from the past, flagging up urination as a tool of derision and humiliation. 

Past Presentations and Symposia

"Why Norden? Why Now? - Nordic Noir, (Geo)politics, and Neoliberalism" at Nordic Noir, Geopolitics and the North ReNEW workshop, Aarhus University, Denmark (October 4, 2018)
"Who Gets to Imagine the Community in Cyberspace? A Reflection on the Past(s), Present, and Future(s) of Digital Nationalism" at the Nations in Cyberspace conference, hosted by the Nationalism Studies Program, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary  (June 28, 2018)
"Screening the North: A Call for Geocriticism in Critical Television Studies," Visual Perspectives on the North and the Arctic, part of The Changing Environment of the North project, at Tampere University, Finland (June 15, 2018)
"Scandinoir’s Border-Crossings/Crossers: The Geopolitics of Nordic Transnational Television," Transnational Television Drama at Aarhus University, Denmark (June 8, 2018)
"#Geopolitics: Diplomacy in the Age of Twitter," School of International Relations at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia (April 27, 2018)
"Popular Culture Matters! Exploring the Links between Popular Culture and World Politics" at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Francisco, CA (April 3, 2018)
"Branding KZ in Cyberspace: Ten Years after Borat," Silk Roads Again II: Eurasian Studies in the Digital Age, Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea (December 9, 20177)
"Beer as Geopolitical Intervention: Effigy, Sensory Politics, and Resistance in Everyday IR” at Popular Culture and World Politics v. 10, Newcastle University, UK (November 24, 2017)
"Scoping/Scaping the Geopolitical in Occupied (2015- ) and Nobel (2016- )" at the Landscapes in Television Drama Series  international research colloquium, Aarhus University, Denmark (September 28, 2017)
"Fantastical Visions and Visual Fantasies of Russianness: Viking (2016) and Guardians (2017) as Agents of Russian Soft Power" at the Cinema, Soft Power and Geo-political Change symposium, University of Leeds (June 20, 2017)
"Imaginaries of Russian Expatria: Then and Now," at the Londongrad and Londongradians: Identities, Imaginaries and Cultural Practices of Russians in the UK workshop (sponsored by the "Global Russians: Transnational Russophone Networks in the UK" AHRC-funded research project) at the University of Edinburgh (June 16, 2017)
"Sexing Up Russo-American Relations, Or Drumpfing Pootie-Poot," at the Media and Sexualisation of Everyday in Post-Soviet Spaces workshop at the University of Leicester, hosted by the BASEES study group on (Digital) Media and Cultures (June 15, 2017)
"Blank Spaces on the Map or Eurasian Chessboard? The West’s Geographical Imagination of Post-Soviet Central Asia" at the Forum on Post-Soviet Culture, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands (December 22, 2016)
"Geopolitical Television: A Brief History and Tentative Taxonomy" at Popular Culture and World Politics 9, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo, Canada (November 11-13, 2016)
"Global Pop-Culture Flows and the Challenge to Nation Branding Efforts" at the International Colloquium: Nation Branding and the Creative Industries - What Nation? What People? What Synergies?, Aarhus University, Denmark, September 23, 2016.
"Bridging Teaching and Research within PCWP Continuum: Bron/Broen as Assignment and Artefact" at The Winds of Change: New Challenges and Opportunities for Teaching Politics and IR, 9th Annual PSA/BISA Learning and Teaching Conference, Newcastle University, UK, September 14, 2016.
"See, Hear, Feel/Verify: Identifying Potential Case Studies in Large-Scale Popular Geopolitical Conflicts," European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS), Tübingen, Germany, April 7, 2016.
"Mapping Neofolk: A Tentative Geography of a New Musical Genre," annual convenention of the American Association of Geographers, San Francisco, CA, March 31, 2016.
"The Popular Geopolitics of the Coming Second Cold War: Anecdotes, Observations, Analysis" at Typical Russian Autocracy Versus Shockingly Depraved Europe: A Conference on Cultural Stereotypes and Popular Geopolitics in the Putin Age, University of Copenhagen, December 19, 2015.
"Mapping the Mediterranean: Imagining Mare Nostrum from the Papyrian Past to the Geovisual Present" FUA-SUNY's 7th Annual De Re Mediterrenean Conference, Florence University of the Arts, Florence, Italy, December 4, 2015.
Roundtable participation at the annual convention of Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Philadelphia, PA - "Russia as Shield (Katechon): Sculpting a New Grand Narrative through Research and Pedagogy" and "Russian Terrorism: New Avenues of Research," (November 21-22, 2015).
"Separatism in the New Millennium: Looking Back, Looking Forward," a keynote address at Pulling Together or Pulling Apart: Identity and Nationhood - Spain, Europe, the West, Department of Hispanic Studies, Trinity College Dublin, June 26, 2015.
"Geopolitical Enemy #1? Anglophone Popular Culture, Vladimir Putin, and the Politics of Representation," Russian Culture in the Era of Globalisation, University of Leeds, UK, June 11, 2015.
"'Brand' New States: Post-Socialist Europe/Eurasia, Country Branding, and the Challenges of National Differentiation," at
The Future(s) of Post-Socialism Symposium at the Post-Socialism Research Institute (PSRI), Stony Brook University, New York, April 18, 2015.
Globalization, Governance and the United Nations," Panel Chair, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, Albany, New York, Septmber 23, 2015.
"The Popular Geopolitics Feedback Loop: Thinking Beyond the ‘Russia versus the West’ Paradigm," Popular Geopolitics in Russia and Post-Soviet Eastern Europe, University College - London, February 20, 2015 (co-presented with Dr. Vlad Strukov, University of Leeds).
"Neopaganism and Nationalism in Northern Europe since 1800: A Preliminary Analysis," Northern Myths, Modern Identities: The Nationalization of Mythologies in Northern Europe, University of Groningen, Netherlands, November 29, 2014.
"Borat: Satire, Politics, and National Image in the Post-Soviet "East" (Public Lecture) and "Popular Geopolitics: The Role of Film, TV, and Other Media in Contemporary International Relations" (Master Class) at the Department of Cross-Cultural & Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen, November 24-25, 2014.
"Laughable Nations: Parodying the Post-Soviet Republics," Princess Dashkova Russian Centre at the University of Edinburgh, October 30, 2014.
"Imagining the Post-Soviet Realm: Popular Culture, Post- Cold War Politics and Geographical Imaginaries," School of Modern Languages and Cultures' Leeds Russian Centre, University of Leeds, October 9, 2014.
"Ancient Greco-Roman World in the Cinema," Faculty Participant, NYU's Faculty Resource Network Enrichment Seminar, June 9-13, 2014.
TEDx Talk, "Life in the Bubble: The Curious Culture(s) of Academia," Two River Theatre, Red Bank, NJ, June 11, 2014.
Closing remarks at Farmingdale State College's "A Network for Understanding the New Europe" panel discussion entitled "Subject to Negotiation: EU-US Trade," April 29, 2014.
"The Post-Soviet Bogeyman: Geographical Imagination and the Filmic Representation of Russians since 1991," Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Annual Convention, Boston, MA, November 22, 2013.
"Global Learning in College: Asking Big Questions, Engaging Urgent Challenges," Conference Attendee, Omni Providence Hotel, Providence, RI, October 3 - 5, 2013.
Caspian Forum, Invited Guest, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York City, September 25, 2013.
"The Emotional Geographies of Neopaganism: Memory, Marginality, and Metamodernism," Fourth International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, July 2, 2013.
"Understanding the New Europe: Immigration," Faculty Participant, NYU's Faculty Resource Network Summer Seminar, June 10 - 14, 2013.
"The Politics of Sci-Fi: Power, Popular Culture, and Questions of Identity," invited lecture at the M.A. Program in English, Florida Gulf Coast University, March 21, 2013.
McGraw-Hill "History Digiposium" Panel Participant, Boca Raton Resort & Club, Boca Raton, FL, February 28 - March 2, 2013.
"The Geopolitics of Russophonia: Language, Cultural Programs, and Nation Branding in Post-Soviet Space," Global Russian: Exploring New Research Perspectives, Princess Dashkova Russian Centre at the University of Edinburgh, January 24, 2013.
"Pop Culture 'Worlding' Strategies: Tapping Our Students’ Cultural Knowledge Reservoirs in Discussions of World Geography," Faculty Resource Network National Symposium: New Faces, New Expectations, New Orleans, November 17, 2012.
"Policing Zombiism: Lessons for Law Enforcement, National Governments, and the International Community," invited talk at the Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Christian University, October 25, 2012.
"Zombies in the Colonies: Imperialism and Contestation of Ethno-Political Space in Max Brooks' The Zombie Survival Guide," Monstrous Geographies: Places and Spaces of Monstrosity at Harris Manchester College, Oxford University, July 19, 2012.
Academic Fellow, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, 10-day intensive research fellowship on terrorism and counter-terrorism, Tel Aviv, Israel, May-June 2012.
"Mediated Memories and Digital Identities" at Material Identities: Representing our National and European Selves in National Museums and Beyond, hosted by EUNAMUS, Athens, Greece, April 24, 2012.
"Mediating Arab Space: Covering the Middle East from the 'Arab Spring' through a 'Post-bin Laden World,'” Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, San Diego, CA, April 4, 2012.
"Laughing Eastwards: Parody, Power, and Popular Geopolitical Representations of the Post-Second World," Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, New York, NY, February 27, 2012.
"Turning Sheep into Wolves: Modeling Effective Strategies for Research among Online Students in the Social Sciences," Faculty Resource Network National Symposium 2011 - "Emerging Pedagogies for the New Millennium," San Juan, Puerto Rico, November 19, 2011.
"Media Matters: Anticipating and Managing Challenges to Nation Brand Identity in the Global Village," The Berlin International Economics Congress 2011: An International Conference on the Future of Global Politics, Nation Branding, Sustainable Tourism and International Investment in a Globalized World, March 13, 2011.
"(Red) Hot Wires: The Soviet Legacy and Its Impact on New Media Zones in Eurasia," The Etiology and Ecology of Post-Soviet Communication, Columbia University, May 7, 2010.
"The Ghost in the Machine: Digital Power Structures and the Soviet Legacy in the New Eurasia," New Media in the New Europe-Asia, University of Birmingham, March 30, 2010.
Organizer and panelist, "Reading and Writing Russia in 1s and 0s: Digital Culture, New Media, and the Virtual Vox Populi" (Roundtable), National Convention of the Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, Boston, MA, November 13, 2009.
"Cyber-Nationalism in the Virtual Near Abroad," Office of the Director of National Intelligence Open Source Center Workshop’s "The Impact of Emerging Media on Russian Reality,' Reston, VA, September 10, 2009.
Invited participant at the Open Society Institute’s Higher Education Support Program (HESP) Regional Seminar for Excellence in Teaching: "Visual Studies of Immedia: Exploring Postmodern Immediacy of Mass Media," European Humanities University, Vilnius, Lithuania, May 23-27, 2009.
"Mapping the Digital Geography of the Second World: From the Land of Тетрис to the LiveJournal Nation," Centre for Advanced Studies and Education (CASE) Visual and Cultural Studies Laboratory at the European Humanities University, May 22, 2009.
"[Not] Made in the USSR: A Comparative Study of Nation Branding Strategies across Post-Soviet Space," Constructing Nation: From Modernity to the New Millennium, Univ. of Colorado, March 13, 2009.
"Branding Terror: How Islamist Terrorists Use Image-Making and International Marketing in the Global Village," International Studies Association Annual Convention, New York, NY, February 18, 2009.
"Beyond Dracula: Branding Transylvania as a European Region," National Convention of the Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, Philadelphia, PA, November 20, 2008.
"Between the Matrix and Moscow: Cyber-Russians in the Near Abroad," Russia Online: the Russian-Language Blogosphere and Participatory Internet conference at the Harriman Institute of Columbia University, October 17, 2008.
"Extending the ‘Europe of Regions’ up to and beyond the Carpathians," International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Francisco, CA, March 27, 2008.
"Making an Islamic Nation: How the West Turned Muslims into Ummahists," Immigration, Minorities and Multiculturalism in Democracies conference, Montréal, Quebec (Canada), October 25, 2007.
"A Silk Purse from a Pig’s Ear? The 9/11 Effect on Putin's 'War on Terrorism,'" International Studies Association Annual Convention, Chicago, IL, February 28, 2007.
"Kazakhstan versus Sacha Baron Cohen: (Mis)representations of Post-Soviet Central Asian Identity in the West," National Convention of the Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, Washington, DC, November 18, 2006.
"Digital Imaginaries of Power: National Minorities, Cyberspace, and the New Politics of Reality," American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, August 31, 2006.
"New Russians, New Media, New Abroad," The Mass Media in Post-Soviet Russia International Conference (BASEES), University of Surrey (UK), April 7, 2006.
"Borat Sagdiyev, the Bête Noire of Kazakhstan," British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES) Annual Conference, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge (UK), April 3, 2006.
"Transnational Reproduction and Its Discontents: The Politics of Intercountry Adoption in a Global Society," International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Diego, CA, March 23, 2006.
"Terrorism’s Role in Shaping Post-War France, the European Union, and the Muslim Presence in the West," 25th Anniversary Conflict Studies Conference, University of New Brunswick (Canada), October 15, 2005.