Alexia Bloch

Research Interests

Migration, Mobility and immobility, Anthropology of gender, Statelessness, Ethnographic methods and writing; Socialist cultures and projects of modernity; Eurasia; Peoples of Siberia

Over the past two decades I have sought to understand how people from the former Soviet Union negotiate the transformations of social life brought about by the end of socialism and the onset of neocapitalism, a topic I have explored in two monographs based on research in Russia (Red Ties and Residential Schools: Indigenous Siberians in a Post-Soviet State, and Museum at the End of the World: Encounters in the Russian Far East, both published with the University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003 and 2004). Since the mid-2000s my work has increasingly traced how massive migration out of and into the region of the former Soviet Union has shaped aspirations and intimate ties between people, a subject at the crux of my multi-sited research among post-Soviet labor migrants moving between Istanbul, Moscow, and southern Moldova (Sex, Love, and Migration: Postsocialism, Modernity and Intimacy from Istanbul to the Arctic, being published with Cornell University Press). In my current research on non-citizens in Russia I have turned to questions animating contemporary scholarship on the conditions and experiences of mobility and immobility for the growing number of undocumented people in the world.

Current Research Projects

“Stateless in Russia: Migrant Women, Children, and Social Abandonment”, funded by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (2014-2018)

I came to the field of anthropology after years of study in the area of Russian language and literature, including as an undergraduate student at Wellesley College and as a study abroad student at the Herzen Pedagogical Institute in Leningrad, U.S.S.R. As a Ph.D. student in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh in the early 1990s I conducted research in Siberia around the history and experience of residential schooling among indigenous Siberian Evenki. After completing my Ph.D. and spending nearly three years as a post-doctoral fellow working closely with Siberian collections at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, I joined the UBC faculty.

Inspired by the explosion in mobility that was shaping daily lives in Siberia, at UBC my research interests turned toward the new forms of border crossing emerging across Eurasia. In recent years my work has revolved around transnational Russian-speaking communities in Istanbul, Moscow, Vancouver, and southern Moldova.

At UBC I have sought to expand spaces for intellectual exchange around issues of transnational mobility and also around the study of Eurasia. Over the past decade I have supervised a wide range of graduate student projects based in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan, the Philippines, and the United States and focused on questions of memory, migration, post-socialism, and gender and transnationalism.

  • 2017. “‘Othermothers’, Migration, and a Transnational Nurturing Nexus”. Signs: Journal of Women in Society and Culture. 43(1): 53-75.
  • 2014  “Citizenship, Belonging, and Moldovan Migrants in Post-Soviet Russia,” Ethnos. 79(4):445-472.
  • 2012 “Multiculturalism, Meanings of Citizenship, and Russian-Speaking Immigrants in Vancouver, Canada.” In Cultural Difference and Social Solidarity: Dividing and Uniting Communities, Beyond Multiculturalism, Scott Boyd, ed. Cambridge Scholars Press. UK: Cambridge Scholars Press. Pp.72-85.
  • 2011 “Emotion Work, Shame, and Post-Soviet Women Entrepreneurs: Negotiating Ideals o Gender and Labor in a Global Economy,” Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power. 18(4): 317-351.
  • 2011 “Intimate Circuits: Modernity, Mobility, and Marriage among Post-Soviet Labor Migrants in Turkey,” Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs. 11(4): 502-521.
  • 2009 “Discourses on Danger and Dreams of Prosperity: Confounding U.S. Government positions on ‘Trafficking’ from the Context of the former Soviet Union.” In International Migration and Human Rights: The Global Repercussions of US Policy. S. Martinez, ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp.165-183.


  • Books
    • In press. Sex, Love and Migration: Postsocialism, Modernity, and Intimacy from Istanbul to the Arctic. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
    • 2004 The Museum at the End of the World: Encounters in the Russian Far East; co-authored with Laurel Kendall. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
    • 2003 Red Ties and Residential Schools: Indigenous Siberians in a Post-Soviet State. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Winter 2019

ANTH213 Sex, Gender, and Culture Sections

An anthropological exploration of how understandings of sex and gender are culturally and historically shaped.

Winter 2019

ANTH312 Anthropology of Gender Sections

Theoretical approaches to, and the ethnographic study of, gender in cross-cultural contexts.

Winter 2019

ANTH301 Ethnography of Eurasia Sections

Eurasia, including the Russian Federation, Central Asia, and Mongolia, with an emphasis on issues of power, identities, and transnational mobility in the region.

Winter 2019

ANTH540C Advanced Seminar - ADVANCED SEMINAR Sections

ANTH 540C Mobilities and Immobilities
ANTH 312 Anthropology of Gender
ANTH 213 Sex, Love and Migration
ANTH 301 Ethnography of Eurasia