This user does not wish to be contacted by the media at this time.

Jessica Pisano, Ph.D.

The New School

Address: 79 5th Avenue 7th Floor

City: NY, New York - 10003

Country: United States

About Me:

Jessica Pisano is an associate professor and chair of the Politics Department at the New School for Social Research in New York and a longtime associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. She has been conducting immersion-based research in Central and Eastern Europe for over twenty-five years and has been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses about the region for sixteen years. She has been an invited professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and have been awarded numerous fellowships nationally and internationally for my work on politics and political economy in Eastern Europe. She has received grants from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, among others. In 2017 she received a university-wide award for distinguished teaching at The New School.  Her book, The Post-Soviet Potemkin Village (Cambridge University Press, 2008), was awarded the Davis Center Book Prize in Political and Social Studies for “an outstanding monograph published on Russia, Eurasia, or Eastern Europe in anthropology, political science, sociology, or geography” and was reviewed in journals such as Foreign Affairs, Slavic Review, and Cahiers du Monde Russe. Her research has appeared in journals such as World Politics, Social Research, East European Politics and Societies, among many others. She is currently completing a book about political theatre in Ukraine and Russia. Her other current research includes a twentieth century history of a single street that traverses the border between Ukraine and the European Union.

Research Interests

Political Economy

Comparative Political Institutions

Non-Democratic Regimes

Post-Communist Politics

European Politics

Elections, Election Administration, and Voting Behavior

Specific Areas of Interest

Politics Of Property

Borders And Walls

Political Regimes

Countries of Interest




My Research:

Jessica Pisano’s research and teaching focuses on contemporary and twentieth century politics and political economy of Eastern Europe, especially Ukraine, Russia, and Hungary. She is interested in how economic change affects people’s lives and how those effects translate into changes in local, national, and global politics. Her research pays particular attention to the experiences of people who live far from capital cities. She uses a variety of immersion-based research methods and emphasizes long-term fieldwork conducted in local languages. Pisano speaks English, French, Russian, Ukrainian, and Hungarian and uses these languages in her research. She reads several other European languages.
Her current book manuscript, Political Theatre, is based on field research conducted over a period of fifteen years. It argues that twenty-first century performances of democracy in Ukraine and Russia–from staged electoral contests to elite-driven social movements–are neither mere virtual products of political technologists’ fancy nor examples of Soviet recurrence. Instead, they emerge from politicians’ opportunistic leveraging of economic incentives across a broad range of institutions and services, from workplaces to education to healthcare provision. These incentives leave some people little choice but to participate while others remain relatively untouched.  What results includes a blurring of boundaries between state and society, social polarization, and a destabilization of the meanings people attach to democratic participation.