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2010 Roundtable on Post-Communism

Managing Risks“Coping with Uncertainty: Individual Challenges and Institutional Change Twenty Years after the Introduction of Market Economies”

April 16, 2010
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
IMU Oak Room

Format | Biographical Information about Speakers | Preparatory Reading Material |
Schedule | Co-Sponsors


A public roundtable is featured in the morning with a follow-up seminar for faculty and graduate students in the afternoon, also open to the public. The roundtable focuses on a question that is circulated in advance to the roundtable panelists. Each panelist prepares a 1000-word statement in response to a brief (150-200 word) “provocation”—a statement and series of questions. This question and brief initial responses by each panelist are posted in advance, so that all who attend the roundtable are familiar with the core question and the positions of the panelists. At the morning panel, the chair will introduce the themes and questions of the panel, the participants, and will then ask two commentators to speak for 10-15 minutes, after which each panel presenter will have 10 minutes to address the questions posed by the commentator and to comment on other papers on that panel. Our practice is to designate as commentators scholars who can broaden the multidisciplinary and comparative reach of the panel rather than people who replicate the expertise of the three main panelists. After this the floor is open for discussion. To encourage continued discussion of these themes in a more informal fashion, we continue the Roundtable in the afternoon. At this session we will ask one of the organizers to summarize the issues raised that morning and then invite the audience to make comments or ask questions of the panelists, allowing for several sets of questions and comments before returning to the main guests. In the past this format has ensured lively participation by our attendees, and graduate students in particular.

Biographical Information about Speakers:

The Great Surprise of the Small TransformationÁkos Róna-Tas, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of California, San Diego. Ákos Róna-Tas received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He is the author of The Great Surprise of the Small Transformation: The Demise of Communism and the Rise of the Private Sector in Hungary (University of Michigan Press), a book on the social origins of the market economy in post-Communist Hungary, as well as articles in the American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, Social Science Research, East European Politics and Societies, and in various edited volumes. His general areas of interest include economic sociology, risk and uncertainty, rational choice theory, and statistical and survey methodology. Currently, he is working on credit card markets and consumer credit in emerging economies and risk analysis in food safety regulation.

Into the RedAlya Guseva, Associate Professor of Sociology, Boston University. Alya Guseva received her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. She is an economic sociologist with interests in the market formation, particularly the development of new financial and consumer markets in emerging economies of Eastern and Central Europe. Her dissertation research on Russia’s emerging credit card market culminated in the publication of Into the Red: The Birth of the Credit Card Market in Postcommunist Russia (Stanford University Press, 2008). Together with Ákos Róna-Tas from the University of California, San Diego, Guseva is working on another book project, tentatively titled From Communists to Card-Carrying Consumers: The Construction of Credit Card Markets in Post-Communist Countries, the fruit of a collaborative project comparing developing credit card markets in eight countries (Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, China and Vietnam). The project was supported by the American National Science Foundation.

Privatizing China, Socialism from AfarLi Zhang, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Davis. Li Zhang recieved her Ph.D. from Cornell University. Her research addresses the social, political, and cultural repercussions of market reform and socialist transformations in contemporary China. Her earlier work traces the profound reconfigurations of space, power, and social networks within China's "floating population" under late socialism and globalization. Recently she has completed her second book, In Search of Paradise: Middle Class Living in a Chinese Metropolis (Cornell University Press), an examination of the social and spatial implications of housing privatization and the making of the new middle classes in urban China. She has also co-edited a volume with Aihwa Ong, Privatizing China, Socialism from Afar (Cornell University Press). which explores how social technologies of privatization and neoliberalism articulate with diverse areas of life and politics in China. Her current new research project explores the "inner revolution" of the market transition by examining an emergent psychotherapy and psychological counseling movement in Chinese cities.

Preparatory Reading Material:


Public Roundtable
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
IMU Oak Room

Regina SmythChair

Regina A. Smyth, IU Political Science


Andrew Barnes, Associate Professor of Political Science, Kent State University. Andrew Barnes recieved his Ph.D. from Princeton University. Dr. Barnes' teaching interests are politics of post-communist states, politics of democratization and marketization, comparative politics, research methods, international political economy, and international relations. His most recent publications include: "Extricating the State: The Move to Competitive Capture in Post-Communist Bulgaria,” Europe-Asia Studies, 59:1 (January 2007), 71-95.; Owning Russia: The Struggle Over Factories, Farms, and Power (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006).; “Putin as Gerschenkron + Hamilton + Baldwin? Understanding the Russian Approach to Global Integration,” in Post-Cold War Challenges to International Relations, ed. Yuri Akimov and Dmitri Katsy (St. Petersburg, Russia: Saint Petersburg University Press, 2006), 24-50.

Kelly M. McMann, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Case Western Reserve University. Kelly McMann recieved her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Dr. McMann's research interests are comparative politics, political economy, democratization, political participation, corruption, political legitimacy, Islam, local politics, postcommunist politics, Russia, Central Asia. Dr. McMann currently is conducting research on three topics—corruption, political legitimacy, and Islam. She is writing a book, entitled Grand Plans and Petty Corruption: Adapting to the Market in Postcommunist Countries, which explores why citizens use bribes, personal connections, and promises of political support to obtain government assistance. For this project she has conducted field and survey research in post-Soviet Central Asia and will draw comparisons with other regions of the world. Her initial findings appeared in "Market Reform as a Stimulus to Particularistic Politics," Comparative Political Studies (July 2009) and "The Shrinking of the Welfare State: Central Asians' Assessments of Soviet and Post-Soviet Governance" in the edited volume Everyday Life in Central Asia (Indiana University Press, 2007). In another project, McMann offers a theory to explain how standards for state legitimacy emerge in new states and formerly collapsed states. Specifically, her research explains how individuals come to share similar expectations of their states. Another ongoing project explores why mosques and other Islamic institutions provide social services in some Muslim societies, whereas in others they do not.

Ho-fung Hung, Associate Professor of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University. He received his Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University. Professor Hung researches and publishes on contentious politics, globalization, nationalism, and social theory. His current projects include one that expounds how the Confucianist legacy shaped China’s trajectories of state formation and popular protests from the eighteenth century to the present, in contrast to the Western trajectories. Another project examines the dynamics and limits of the current economic ascendancy of China, as well as its impact on global capitalism. A third project traces China’s changing conception of nationhood in light of Beijing’s contentious interaction with Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan since 1949. Besides these major projects, he also published about the orientalist origins of classical social theories, globalization of epidemics, China’s environmental movements, among others.

Follow-up faculty-graduate student seminar (also open to the public)
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
IMU Oak Room

Chair: Sarah D. Phillips, IU Anthropology


Indiana University Russian & East European Institute, Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center, East Asian Studies Center, Center for the Study of Global Change, IU Center for International Business Education & Research, Department of Economics