Scott Feinstein, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, was selected by Dean Beate Schmittmann to deliver the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Distinguished Lecture on Nov. 30 at 6:00 p.m. The lecture, “Russia, Ukraine, and the U.S.: Monsters and Myths,” will be presented in the Sun Room at the Iowa State Memorial Union and also livestreamed.
Feinstein, an expert in Russian politics and violence in Eurasia, shines light onto the erected monsters and myths that helped drive Europe into its largest conventional military conflict since World War II – the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. He will discuss how the war and emerging myths will continue to shape our world, from international relations to civil society here in the Midwest.
Feinstein’s research emphasizes that at the center of civil war and violence are ethnic groups and their cultural bonds. His book manuscript, “The Power of Nations: Secession and Civil War in Post-Soviet States,” shows that following state collapse, countries will engage in civil war when a highly coherent ethnic group senses a security threat from the state.
Feinstein’s work has been published in leading political science and interdisciplinary journals and has been supported by several prestigious funding agencies, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Science Foundation (NSF). To conduct research for these projects, Feinstein spent over three years conducting interviews and digging through archives in Russia, Moldova, and Ukraine, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He has also applied his work on ethnic groups to examine identity politics here in the United States, including projects focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
With a team of Iowa State scholars, Feinstein was recently awarded an NSF Civic Innovation award to study and assist Ukrainians displaced by war. Feinstein has extensive experience studying national identity in Ukraine and how it affects national and regional politics. For this project, he’ll study how the national identity of Ukrainian refugees in the U.S. changes, and how that impacts relationships with relief agencies, American society, and housing services.
Feinstein earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Florida.
A live Q&A session with Feinstein will follow the lecture.
The LAS Dean’s Distinguished Lecture highlights faculty excellence in learning, discovery, and engagement. Each semester, the dean invites LAS faculty of distinction to present lectures from their own areas of expertise on topics of interest to the general public, designed to stimulate high-quality, intellectual discussion among faculty, staff, students, and community members.
This event is free and open to the public.