Carnegie Corporation Awards $900,000 to UW-Madison for Russian Studies

A project established in 2016 to strengthen Russian studies at UW–Madison will continue through 2020 thanks to a $900,000 award from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The renewed funding will allow the Wisconsin Russia Project (WRP) to continue building Russian studies programming, broadening UW-Madison’s pool of Russia experts, and creating an international network of social scientist who study contemporary Russia.

The WRP, which is administered by UW–Madison’s Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA), has already made significant progress in its first two years.

So far, 13 postdoctoral fellows, graduate student fellows, and researchers have spent a semester or more at UW-Madison under the auspices of the WRP. These select visiting scholars and students from the U.S. and Russia collaborated with Wisconsin researchers in the fields of sociology, political science, law, and political economy.

“This grant will permit the Wisconsin Russia Project to build upon the momentum it has achieved,” said Ted Gerber, professor of sociology and faculty director of the initiative. “Now we can consolidate our advances toward accomplishing the project’s objectives, and take it in new directions.”

In addition to bringing new knowledge and talent to university classrooms, the project has spearheaded other initiatives to enrich Russian studies at UW–Madison, including the creation of a new tenure-track position in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. In 2017, a Russia-focused scholar on issues of land tenure—Assistant Professor Paul Dower—joined the faculty.

The Wisconsin Russia Project also organized a July 2018 conference attended by more than 50 Russia scholars from across the U.S., Europe, and Russia.

The second phase of the WRP will continue to support these initiatives while pursuing further potential for expansion. Gerber and colleagues plan to broaden the scope of the WRP by deepening collaboration with the UW’s Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, bringing to campus specialists on Russia-related international dimensions of public policy and on regional analyses of Russia using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques, and incorporating a teaching component into the project’s postdoctoral fellowships.

“This renewed funding will significantly magnify our overall impact on the quality of social science research and training on Russia, multiply and reinforce cross-national research collaborations, and solidify Wisconsin’s international reputation as a key center of excellence in this area” Gerber said.

The grant was awarded under Carnegie Corporation of New York’s International Peace and Security program, which seeks “to build a more secure, peaceful, and prosperous world through independent analysis and action addressing critical global challenges.” Carnegie Corporation of New York is a philanthropic foundation created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to do “real and permanent good in this world.”

CREECA is a member of the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS,) which comprises the area studies centers at UW-Madison.  IRIS is a unit of UW-Madison’s International Division.