Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer

Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer

Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer is co-convener of the Indigenous Studies working group and is a Faculty Fellow in the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. In 2018-19, she is in a Community Based Learning faculty program to develop her course “Indigenous Peoples: Conflict and Resilience.” She has been a Research Professor at Georgetown University starting in 1997 in the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies (CERES) and the Anthropology Department, and has twice been a Doyle Faculty Fellow. She is editor of the Taylor and Francis journal Anthropology and Archeology of Eurasia and is author or editor of six books on Russia. Her best known monograph is Shamans, Spirituality, and Cultural Revitalization: Explorations in Siberia and Beyond. Her current book manuscript, based on fieldwork in three republics, is Galvanizing Nostalgia: Indigeneity, Sovereignty and Spirituality in Siberia.

Research Interests: Indigenous peoples, ecology activism, religion and politics, human rights, First Nations creative leaders, shamans

Areas of Concentration: Eurasia, Arctic, Siberia, Alaska

Current Research Project: Russia is entering a new period of instability. Professor Balzer’s field-based monograph Galvanizing Nostalgia explores critical questions for the survival of Russia in its current nominally federal form. How are the orientations of non-Russian peoples of Turkic and Mongolian backgrounds, far from Moscow, changing? What does self-determination mean in the Russian context? Is ecology activism possible in the republics, given new threats to the environment and climate, as well as sharpening curtailment of civil society in Vladimir Putin’s Russia? A forthcoming Oxford Encyclopedia of Religion has commissioned me to write an essay “Mysticism and the Arts.”

Photo of Professor Mandelstam Balzer with Sakha musicians
Photo of Professor Mandelstam Balzer with Sakha musicians