A former SSRC Fellow, Rogers’s research and teaching interests include political and economic anthropology, natural resource extraction (especially oil) and energy, the anthropology of religion, and socialist societies and their postsocialist trajectories. He has done archival and ethnographic research in Russia since 1994, often in collaboration with scholars from Moscow State University, Perm State University, and the Perm Regional Museums. He is currently working on an ethnography-based project entitled “Oil Culture: Producing the New Russia.” Funded in 2009-2012 by the National Science Foundation Cultural Anthropology Program and the National Council for East European and Eurasian Research, this project explores the intersection of three significant processes in the Perm Region: (1) the gradual emergence of the region as a significant oil-producer in post-Soviet Russia; (2) the shifting nature of the Russian state in the context of oil-dependent budgets, especially at the regional and sub-regional levels; and (3) the rise and spread of practices of “corporate social responsibility.” The project pays particular attention to the fate of “social and cultural projects” sponsored by regional state offices and energy companies, among them Perm’s recent—and controversial—effort to re-brand itself as the “cultural capital of Russia.”
Rogers received his B.A. from Middlebury College, an M.Phil. in Social and Cultural Anthropology from Oxford University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Before joining the faculty at Yale, Rogers taught at Miami University of Ohio and was a Kennan Institute fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. He is the author of The Old Faith and the Russian Land: A Historical Ethnography of Ethics in the Urals, published in Cornell University Press’s “Culture and Society After Socialism” series in 2009. The book received Honorable Mentions for the 2010 Clifford Geertz Prize and the 2010 ASEEES Davis Center Book Prize.
My dissertation project will investigate postsocialist conversion to Old Belief in Russia from the perspective of recent work in the anthropology of religion. Many anthropologists of colonial and postcolonial world areas -as well as historians of Europe -have understood conversion to modern and individualistic religions as a companion of capitalist expansion. However, the case of present-day Old Belief in Russia appears to present the opposite: conversion to an anti-modern and anti-individualistic religion during "transition" to capitalism. During twelve months of fieldwork in 2001, I will conduct ethnographic research on this topic in two communities of Russian Old Believers, one in Moscow and one in Vereshchagino, Perm Region. I will attend classes and services, conduct semi-structured interviews with recent converts, and collect conversion narratives. The dissertation resulting from this fieldwork will be of interest to a wide range of social scientists and historians concerned with the interplay of religion, political economy, and social transformation.