An examination of post-Soviet society through ethnic, religious, and linguistic criteria, this volume turns what is typically anthropological subject matter into the basis of politics, sociology, and history. Ten chapters cover such diverse subjects as Ukrainian language revival, Tatar language revival, nationalist separatism and assimilation in Russia, religious pluralism in Russia and in Ukraine, mobilization against Chinese immigration, and even the politics of mapmaking. A few of these chapters are principally historical, connecting tsarist and Soviet constructions to today’s systems and struggles. The introduction by Dominique Arel sets out the project in terms of new scholarly approaches to identity, and the conclusion by Blair A. Ruble draws out political and social implications that challenge citizens and policy makers.

Rebounding Identities is based on a series of workshops held at the Kennan Institute in 2002 and 2003.

Dominique Arel is associate professor of political science and the first titular of the chair of Ukrainian Studies at University of Ottawa. Blair A. Ruble is director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center and the author, most recently, of Creating Diversity Capital: Transnational Migrants in Montreal, Washington, and Kyiv (Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005).


Tables and Figures

Introduction: Theorizing the Politics of Cultural Identities in Russia and Ukraine
Dominique Arel

Part I: The Saliency of Cultural Cleavages
1. Theorizing Nationalist Separatism in Russia
Elise Giuliano
2. Institutional Legacies and Language Revival in Ukraine
Alexandra Hrycak
3. “Russian Islam” and the Politics of Religious Multiculturalism in Russia
Katherine Graney
4. Migration, Hostility, and Ethnopolitical Mobilization: Russia’s Anti-Chinese Legacies in Formation
Mikhail A. Alexseev

Part II: The Struggle to Define a Category
5. Beauplan’s Prism: Represented Contact Zones and Nineteenth-Century Mapping Practices in Ukraine
Steven J. Seegel
6. Arbiters of the Free Conscience: Confessional Categorization and Religious Transfer in Russia, 1905–1917
Paul W. Werth
7. Nation Building and Refugee Protection in the Post-Soviet Region
Oxana Shevel

Part III: Changing Attributes
8. Explaining the Appeal of Evangelicalism in Ukraine
Catherine Wanner
9. Soviet Nationalities Policy and Assimilation
Dmitry Gorenburg
10. The Influence of Tatar Language Revival on the Development of Divergent Referential Worlds
Helen M. Faller

Conclusion: Unending Transition
Blair A. Ruble


“This is a superior volume, one of the best I have reviewed over the past several decades, because of its contributions of original research and its new directions to thinking about post-Soviet society and polity.”—David Laitin, Stanford University

“Edited by seasoned scholars and introducing the work of younger scholars, this is a unique work that takes the somewhat overused concept of identity and gives it substance and meaning in particular contexts, turning it into a useful category of social scientific inquiry. The material is new, the research exemplary, and the various essays manage to give new interpretations of the subjects.”—Ronald Suny, University of Michigan

“A creditable sample of the work done in many post-Soviet-study groups sponsored by the Kennan Institute over the last ten years.”—Foreign Affairs

“Geared toward scholars but equally enriching for the layperson, this volume allows readers to gain a greater understanding of the situation in Russia and Ukraine.”—Ukrainian Weekly

“This is a first-class book, exceptionally well organized and clearly written... Highly recommended. All readership levels.”—Choice

“To review such a well-thought-out, well-researched, and well-executed volume is a distinct pleasure.”—Bohdan Harasymiw, Russian Review

“This collection is well worth reading.”—Paul D’Anieri, Slavic Review

“Anyone planning to devise a new course in any of the fields represented here, or in comparative cultural or religious studies, will find ideas for topics and questions here, as well as rich material for a syllabus. Needless to say, any such new syllabus will have to include the volume under review.”—Roman Szporluk, Canadian Slavonic Papers