I am a writer. I am best known for my critical take on the “prestige economy”, my reporting on St. Louis, and my academic research on authoritarian states in Central Asia. My essay collection, The View From Flyover Country, was published in 2015.
As an op-ed columnist for Al Jazeera English, I have written about exploitation, particularly in higher education, the diminishing opportunities of America’s youth, and inequality and gentrification. I have also covered internet privacy, political repression, and how the media shape public perception. My April 2013 article “The wrong kind of Caucasian” is the most popular AJE op-ed of all time.
Since October 2013, I have been a regular columnist for the Vitae section of The Chronicle of Higher Education. I have also written for POLITICO, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Quartz, Slate, The Atlantic, Medium, Radio Free Europe, Opinio Juris, Alternet, HRDCVR, Ethnography Matters, Registan.net, The Common Reader, The New York Daily News, La Stampa, and The New York Times.
In August 2013, Foreign Policy named me one of “the 100 people you should be following on Twitter to make sense of global events”. In October 2013, St. Louis Magazine profiled me as one of 15 inspirational people under 35 in St. Louis. In September 2014, The Riverfront Times named me the best online journalist in St. Louis.
In addition to working as a journalist, I am a researcher and consultant. I have a PhD in anthropology from Washington University in Saint Louis and an MA in Central Eurasian Studies from Indiana University. Most of my work focuses on the authoritarian states of the former Soviet Union and how the internet affects political mobilization, self-expression, and trust.
My research has been published in American Ethnologist, Problems of Post-Communism, Central Asian Survey, Demokratizatsiya, Nationalities Papers, and the Journal of Communication. I am a program associate for the Central Asia Program at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, and a research associate at the Russian, East European and Eurasian Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
I am frequently interviewed by the media and have been a guest on NPR, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, CBC News, BBC World Service, Citizen Radio, FOX, HuffPost Live and other broadcast outlets, as well as an invited speaker at academic conferences and forums on foreign policy, education and technology. I am a regular guest on the radio show This Is Hell.
I occasionally serve as an expert witness in asylum cases involving applicants from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. You can contact me at email@example.com.