Robert A. Saunders is a Professor in the Department of History, Politics, and Geography at Farmingdale State College - SUNY, where he teaches courses on International Relations and human geography. 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, Central Asia, and Nordic Europe. His research explores the impact of popular culture and mass media on geopolitics, nationalism, and religious identity.

Dr. Saunders is an internationally-recognized scholar in the field of popular geopolitics, as well as nation branding in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. His articles have appeared in Millennium, Geopolitics, Political Geography, Politics, Social & Cultural Geography, Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, Progress in Human Geography, Nations and Nationalism, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Slavic Review, Europe-Asia Studies, Identities and Russia in Global Affairs, 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. His co-edited volume (with Vlad Strukov) Popular Geopolitics: Plotting an Evolving Interdiscipline was published by Routledge in April 2018. He is currently writing a book on geopolitics, northern Europe, and Nordic noir television series.

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). In 2018, he won the SUNY Russia Programs Network Spring 2018 Travel Award to Russia where he gave four lectures on diplomacy, geopolitics, and International Relations at Saint Petersburg State University. During the fall semester of 2018, he held the position of guest researcher at Aarhus University in the School of Communication and Culture, where he conducted research on the geopolitics of Nordic noir television series. In early 2019, he was named an Affiliate Partner of the Centre for Transnational Media Research at Aarhus University as well as an Affiliate Researcher with the DETECt: Detecting Transcultural Identity in European Popular Crime Narratives, funded by a European Union Horizon 2020 grant.

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Recent Publications

Pissing On the Past: The Highland Clearances, Effigial Resistance and the Everyday Politics of the Urinal (with Rhys Crilley)
Millennium: Journal of International Studies (online in pre-print publication) 26 April 2019
Small Screen IR: A Tentative Typology of Geopolitical Television
Geopolitics, 24(3), 2019, pp. 691-727
(Profitable) Imaginaries of Black Power: The Popular and Political Geographies of Black Panther
Political Geography, 69, 2019, pp. 139-149
Reimagining the Colonial Wilderness: ‘Africa’, Imperialism and the Geographical Legerdemain of the Vorrh
Cultural Geographies26(2), 2019, pp. 177–194
Televisual Diplomacy: I am the Ambassador and Danish Nation Branding at Home and Abroad (with Joel Vessels) 
Politics (online in pre-print-publication) 18 October 2018
Popular Geopolitics: Plotting an Evolving Interdiscipline (co-edited with Vlad Strukov)
Routledge Geopolitics series; Hardback (2018)
Popular Geopolitics and Nation Branding in the Post-Soviet Realm
Routledge Research in Place, Space, and Politics Series; Hardback and e-Book (2017)
Photo credits: Sarah Kobaissy, 2018.


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


Conference papers, public speeches, and other presentations.


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


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


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