Why is Russia fighting a war in Ukraine? And how is the war shaping the world? Scott Feinstein, an expert in Russian politics and violence in Eurasia, shines light onto the erected monsters and myths that helped drive Europe into its largest conventional military conflict since World War II and discusses how the war and emerging myths will continue to shape our world, from international relations to civil society here in the Midwest.
Scott Feinstein is an assistant professor of political science whose research emphasizes that at the center of civil war and violence are the ethnic groups and their cultural bonds. Feinstein’s book manuscript, “The Power of Nations: Secession and Civil War in Post-Soviet States, shows that following state collapse countries will engage in civil war when a highly coherent ethnic group senses a security threat from the state. His work has been published in leading political science and interdisciplinary journals and been supported by several prestigious funding agencies, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Science Foundation. To conduct research for these projects he spent over 3 years taking interviews and digging through archives in Russia, Moldova, and Ukraine, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He has also applied his work on ethnic groups to examine identity politics here in the United States, including projects focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Recently with a team of ISU scholars he was awarded a Civic Innovation award from the NSF to study and assist Ukrainians displaced by war.
He received his MA in politics from New York University and PhD in political science from the University of Florida.
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The LAS Dean’s Lecture highlights faculty excellence in learning, discovery and engagement. Each semester, the dean invites LAS faculty of distinction to present lectures from their own areas of expertise on topics of interest to the general public, designed to stimulate high-quality, intellectual discussion among faculty, staff, students and community members.