Alexei Yurchak's theoretical interests include the analysis of human agency and its interplay with language and discourses of power especially in post-Soviet Russia and Eastern Europe. He is particularly interested in the analysis of how ideologies (political, cultural, national, market, etc.) are projected on and work through language, and what methods of discourse analysis social scientists can use to unpack their discursive power. He is concerned with the cultural shifts brought forth by the collapse of the Soviet ideology, state institutions, and centralized economic principles and the formation of socialist and post-socialist identities and subject positions.
I received my Ph.D. in cultural and linguistic anthropology from Duke University in 1997 (after having received a graduate degree in physics from Russia). My interests and areas of expertise include Soviet history and the processes of post-socialist transformation in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; political institutions and ideologies in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia; political philosophy and language philosophy; the interface between language/discourse and power; comparative studies of communism and capitalism anthropology of media; visual anthropology; experimental artistic scenes (especially, Russia and US); urban geography and anthropology of space. I am both a Professor in the UC Berkeley Department of Anthropology as well as a an Affiliate Faculty member in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.
“Bodies of Lenin: The Hidden Science of Communist Sovereignty," Representations, vol. 129, Winter,2015
- “Lenin's Body Improves with Age" - Interview in Scientific American, 2015
- "Revolutions and their Translators: Maidan, the Conflict in Ukraine and the Russian 'New Left'",Cultural Anthropology, Hotspots, Oct. 2014.
- "Нетленность формы: ленинизм и материальность мавзолейного тела", Неприкосновенный запас, 3 (89) 2013.
"If Lenin Were Alive Now, He Would Know What to Do: Naked Life of the Leader”, in 1990: Russians Remember a Turning Point.Irina Prokhorova ed., Maclehose Press.
- “Necro-utopia: The Politics of Indistinction and the Art of the Non-Soviet,” Current Anthropology, 2 (49), 2008.
- “Suspending the Political: Late Soviet artistic experiments on the margins of the state,” Poetics Today, 4 (29), 2008.
- “Post-Post-Soviet Sincerity: Young pioneers, Cosmonauts and other Soviet heroes born today,” in What is Soviet Now?Thomas Lahusen and Peter Solomon, eds. LIT Verlag, 2008.
- “Если бы Ленин был жив, он бы знал что делать: Голая жизнь вождя!" - Новое литературное обозрение, n. 83, 2007.
- “Night Dances With the Angel of History: Critical Cultural Studies of Postsocialism,” in Cultural Studies. Aleksandr Etkind, ed. St. Petersburg: European University Press, 2006.
- “Soviet Hegemony of Form: Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 3 (45), July 2003.
- “Russian Neoliberal: The Entrepreneurial Ethic and the Spirit of New Careerism,” in Russian Review, 1 (62), 2003.
- “Entrepreneurial Governmentality in Post-Socialist Russia: A cultural investigation of business practices,” in The New Entrepreneurs of Europe and Asia, V. E. Bonnell and T. B. Gold, eds. New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2002.
- “Male Economy. Business and Gender in post-Soviet Russia,” in On (Fe)Maleness. Oushakine, Sergei, ed. Moscow: Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 2001.
- “Tracing a Woman's Image: Symbolic Work of the New Advertising Discourse,” in Woman and Visual Signs. Alchuk, Alla, ed. Moscow: Russian State Humanitarian University Press, 2000.
- “Privatize Your Name: Symbolic Work in a Post-Soviet Linguistic Market” - Journal of Sociolinguistics, 3 (4), 2000.
- "Gagarin and the Rave Kids: Transforming Power, Identity, and Aesthetics in the Post-Soviet Night Life,” in Consuming Russia: Popular Culture, Sex, and Society Since Gorbachev. A. Baker, ed. Duke University Press, 1999.