My fields of research have always been diverse. They include different areas of contemporary culture, united by my interest in participatory communities and human agency in multiple cultural changes. I publish in Russian and English on Russian fandoms and their creative works, on manga and anime reception in Russia, on changing cultures of reading, on street art, graffiti and contemporary urban culture. Methodologically I work at the intersection of cultural sociology, cultural studies and anthropology, trying to find appropriate instruments to analyze complex cultural phenomena. I am currently working on a book on participatory cultures in Russia.
Boris Stepanov, Leading Research Fellow
My research interests lie at the intersection of the history of knowledge (particularly, different branches of cultural studies), cultural sociology and studies of contemporary historical culture. My research has ranged across a variety of topics: urban culture and kraevedenie/local history in Russian history, history of historical periodicals, history of cultural studies and cultural sociology, history of Soviet cinema. I teach courses on cultural sociology, urban culture and conduct the research seminar in the School of Cultural studies.
I have received my Ph.D. in sociology at SUNY Stony Brook. My book project is dedicated to Russian regional museum exhibitions about the Soviet repressions. I am interested in collective memory in general and in the commemoration of difficult pasts in particular. I have participated in a number of projects examining how Russian memory differs across regions, including “Which Past Does Russia’s Future Need?” (Committee of Civic Initiative), “Moral Dilemmas of the 20th Century” (Forum of National Repentance and Rebirth), and series of sociological fieldtrips organized by Alisa Maximova.
My primary research interests involve cultural history of England and British popular music. As a historian, I am interested in questions how the past is represented in popular music, which agents are involved in this process, and its cultural significance. Based on interdisciplinary approach and methods taken from history, sociology of culture and popular music studies, my research considers popular music as an important part of contemporary British cultural history, which marked many social, cultural, and ethical transformations in the 20th century. I am also interested in various forms of interaction between popular music and urban space, from museums about popular music to spontaneous fan memorials dedicated to musicians. Recently, I have been studying the musical geography, musical places and fan routes in Russia.
I am a sociologist interested in studying culture and interaction in various contexts. I carry out research in the field on Museum Studies, investigating how people make sense of exhibitions, perceive museum objects (exhibits, texts, multimedia, technological devices), and interact with each other in museum space. I focus on contemporary cultural practices and on new approaches to museum visiting that emphasize participation and agency of the audiences. Since 2010, I have been involved in organizing and participating annual sociological field trips to Russian regions. In small towns, using ethnographic methods like in-depth interviews and observation, my colleagues and I study how local history and memory is produced and presented, and what effect do cultural institutions and cultural projects have on the social life.