I am a writer. I am best known for my critical take on the “prestige economy” and for my work on authoritarian states in Central Asia.
As an op-ed columnist for Al Jazeera English, I write about exploitation, particularly in higher education, and the diminishing opportunities of America’s youth. I also cover 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 monthly columnist for the Vitae section of The Chronicle of Higher Education. I have also written for Foreign Policy, Slate, Registan.net, Medium, POLITICO, Radio Free Europe, Opinio Juris, Alternet, Ethnography Matters, The Atlantic,and La Stampa.
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 addition to working as a columnist, 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 have consulted for several policy organizations, including the Open Society Institute, Freedom House, and the New America Foundation.
I am frequently interviewed by the media and have been a guest on HuffPost Live, Al Jazeera, CBC News, BBC World Service, Citizen Radio, FOX, 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.
In addition, 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 occasionally serve as an expert witness in asylum cases involving applicants from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.