Gregory Gan

Gregory Gan is an anthropologist and filmmaker. His past and current research covers the themes of transnationalism, visual anthropology, material culture, new religious movements, gender and postsocialism, and the Russian intelligentsia. He positions himself as a visual anthropologist theoretically aligned with the new mobilities paradigm. Gregory is currently pursuing his PhD fieldwork on the topic of Russian emigration using multi-sited research methods.

Gregory has made several ethnographic and documentary films. His first ethnographic feature was produced in conjunction with his Master’s thesis and was titled “Turning Back the Waves” (2009, 96 min.). This film is based on the life histories of women of the Russian intelligentsia in Moscow. His second feature film, “The Theory of Happiness” (2014, 82 min.), is based on his experience as a participant observer in a radical Ukrainian sect trying to discover happiness through mathematical formulas. The film received its world premiere at the Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival in April, 2014, and was nominated for Best Canadian Documentary. As part of his Ph.D. research, Gregory is currently producing his third ethnographic film on the topic of Russian emigration to Paris, Berlin and New York, tentatively titled “Still Life with a Suitcase.”

Gregory was born in Moscow, in the former Soviet Union, and has lived in France, Belgium, Ecuador, Germany and Canada.

Gregory has an Hon. Bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto and a Master’s degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is currently working at the Dept. of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, under the supervision of Dr. Alexia Bloch, and his committee members include Dr. Pat Moore and Dr. Leslie Robertson. He is a Liu Scholar at the Liu Institute for Global Issues and a Public Scholar with the Public Scholars Initiative.

Honorary B.A., Anthropology, University of Toronto, 2006

Major in Anthropology, minors in Music and Philosophy

M.A., Anthropology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2010
“To Our Hopeless Affair: Women of the Russian Intelligentsia in the Post-Soviet Era”

“Soaring to Dizzying Heights: Christ the Saviour Cathedral as a Historical Arena for the Persecution of Pussy Riot” Critique of Anthropology (June, 2015).

“The Theory of Happiness,” World Premiere at the Hot Docs International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada. April 26, 2014; screenings in Beursschouwburg, Brussels (2010, 2015); P.A.N.D.A., Berlin (2015); Russkoe Slovo Publishers, Prague (2015)

“A Dog’s Happiness” [critical examination of sects] Smena, Nov. 2010 (In Russian).

Conference Presentations:

Refereed conference paper, Canadian Anthropology Society, Victoria, Canada. “Soaring to Dizzying Heights: Christ the Saviour Cathedral as a Historical Arena for the Persecution of Pussy Riot,” Victoria, May 8-11, 2013.

Film Presentation and discussion, “The Theory of Happiness,” FILMS SIC2010, Beursschouwburg, Brussels, Dec. 2010.

Refereed Conference Paper, American Anthropological Association, Philadelphia, “Negotiating Belonging: Women of the Russian Intelligentsia in post-Soviet Russia,” 2009.

ANTH 1031

Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Spring 2011.

2016 Public Scholar’s Award (University of British Columbia).
2015 Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement (SSHRC, Canada).
2014 Arts Research Graduate Award (University of British Columbia).
2014 Liu Scholar at the Liu Institute for Global Issues (University of British Columbia)
2013 Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Fellowship, SSHRC (Canada).
2012 Recipient of the Four-Year Fellowship for PhD Students.
2011 Salt Spring Art Council Professional Development Grant.
2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council Professional Projects Grants Program.
2010 Fellow of the School of Graduate Studies, Memorial University of Newfoundland 
2008 Recipient of CGS-SSHRC Master’s Fellowship.
2008  Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
2007 School of Graduate Studies Master’s Fellowship (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
2007 School of Graduate Studies Merit Award (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
2006 Sceptre Investment Counsel Limited Award (University of Toronto)