Russell Zanca

Professor, Department of Anthropology, Northeastern Illinois University

Academic Bio

Russell Zanca (Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999) first began traveling to and studying in the former Soviet Union more than 25 years ago, and to Central Asia more than 20 years ago. He spent his graduate school years outside of Urbana learning about Central Asia at Columbia U., the U. Wisconsin, and Indiana U. Over the years he has published mainly on Uzbekistan, covering topics such as collective farming, the cotton monoculture, cuisine, religion, gender, and Soviet history. He has co-edited Everyday Life in Central Asia with Jeff Sahadeo (2007, Indiana) and written Life in a Muslim Uzbek Village, Cotton Farming after Communism (2011, Wadsworth). Russell has long served on the Central Eurasian Studies Society board, and serves as an editor for the Journal of Eurasian Studies. In 2010 he began working with colleagues at the University of Wisconsin to help establish and enrich the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, and recently became an international coordinator of graduate anthropological studies at the Al-Faraby National University of Kazakhstan in Almaty. Russell serves as a professor at Northeastern Illinois University (1999) as well as an associate at both the University of Chicago’s Center for Eurasian, East European and Russian Studies (2009), and at the University of Illinois’ Russian, Eurasian, and East European Center(2002).