Madeleine Reeves

Professor in the Anthropology of Migration

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Madeleine Reeves is a social anthropologist interested in borders, labour migration, sovereignty, time, and social reproduction. She joined COMPAS and the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology in January 2022 from the University of Manchester, where she taught for fourteen years.

Her research over the last two decades has focused on three broad areas. First, she has sought to contribute to the anthropological study of borders and bordering in regions of fragile state governance and territorial dispute. Her first monograph, Border Work: Spatial Lives of the State in Rural Central Asia (Cornell 2014), which drew on 20 months of ethnographic fieldwork in the Ferghana Valley, challenged conventional approaches to political transformation in Central Asia by revealing how the state is produced in the interstices of daily life in a region of disputed borderland between Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Second, she has sought to bring a critical anthropological voice to interdisciplinary debates about the intersections between infrastructure, immobility, inter-communal conflict, and co-existence. For this work, she has drawn upon periodic return fieldwork to the border villages of the Ferghana Valley, where she has examined the progressive militarisation and socio-spatial transformation of a region of disputed territory through the construction of politically contentious ‘bypass roads’ and border settlements for ethnic Kyrgyz ‘returnees’ from Tajikistan.

Third, building on RCUK and Nuffield-funded post-doctoral research, she has conducted ethnographic research since 2009 on transnational labour migration from Central Asia to Russia and with the Kyrgyz diaspora in Russia, joining scholars who have sought to bring considerations of value, ethics and intergenerational care to our analysis of mobile and transnational life.

She is currently working on two projects:

1) With Dr Jeanne Féaux de la Croix - completing a major handbook of Central Asian anthropology for the Routledge Worlds series
2) With funding from a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award in the Social Sciences - developing new research on the linkages between labour migration and the economisation of reproductive capacity in the post-Soviet space.

Madeleine serves on the editorial/advisory boards of journals and book series, including Migration and Society, Public Anthropologist, Etnograficheskoe obozrenie, International Quarterly for Asian Studies, Central Asian Survey, Economic Exposures in Asia (UCL Press) and Spaces of Peace, Security and Development (Bristol University Press). Between 2015 and 2019, she served as Editor of Central Asian Survey.

Madeleine is a Fellow of St. Hugh’s College.

Selected publications

Books and Special Issues

2021   The Everyday Lives of Sovereignty: Political Imagination Beyond the State. Ithaca: Cornell University Press (with Rebecca Bryant)
2019   Conviviality Beyond the Urban Centre in Asia. Special Issue of Modern Asian Studies 53 (3) (with Magnus Marsden)
2017   Affective States: Entanglements, Suspensions, Suspicions. New York: Berghahn. Initially published as a Special Issue of Social Analysis Vol. 59 (4), 2015 (with Mateusz Laszczkowski)
2014   Border Work: Spatial Lives of the State in Rural Central Asia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, series on ‘Culture and Society After Socialism.’
2014   Ethnographies of the State in Central Asia: Performing Politics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press (with Judith Beyer and Johan Rasanayagam)
2012   Movement, Power and Place in Central Asia: Contested Trajectories. Abingdon: Routledge. Initially published as a special issue of Central Asian Survey (2011)

Journal articles

2019   The Queue: Bureaucratic Time, Distributed Legality, and the Work of Waiting in Migrant Moscow. Suomen Antropologi 44 (2): 20-39
2019   Marginal Hubs: On Conviviality Beyond the Urban in Asia. Modern Asian Studies 53 (3): 755-775, co-authored with Magnus Marsden
2017   Infrastructural hope: anticipating ‘independent roads’ and territorial integrity in southern Kyrgyzstan. Ethnos 82 (4): 711-737
2016   “And Our Words Must Be Constructive!”: On the Discordances of Glasnost’ in the Central Asian Press at a Time of Conflict. Cahiers d’Asie Centrale 26 (1): 77-110
2016   След, траектория, точка давления: как переосмыслить «региональные исследования» в эпоху миграций’ Антропологический Форум 28: 97-116
2016   Diplomat, Landlord, Con-Artist, Thief: Housing Brokers and the Mediation of Risk in Migrant Moscow. The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 34 (2): 93-109
2015   Living from the nerves: deportability, indeterminacy and the feel of law in migrant Moscow. Social Analysis 59 (4): 119-136
2014   ‘We’re with the people!’ Place, nation, and political community in Kyrgyzstan’s 2010 ‘April Events’. Anthropology of East Europe Review 32 (2): 68-88
2014   Roads of Hope and Dislocation: infrastructure and the remaking of territory at a Central Asian border. Ab Imperio 15 (3): 235-256
2014   Антропология Средней Азии через десять лет после “состояния поля”: Стакан наполовину полон или наполовину пуст? Антропологический Форум 20 (1): 60-79
2013   Clean Fake: Authenticating Documents and Persons in Migrant Moscow. American Ethnologist, 40 (3): 508-524
2013   Anticipating failure: transparency devices and their effects. Journal of Cultural Economy, 6 (3): 294-312, co-authored with Penny Harvey and Evelyn Ruppert
2012   Миграция, маскулинность и трансформации социального пространства в долине Соха, Узбекистан. Этнографическое обозрение, 4: 32-50
2012   Black work, green money: remittances, ritual and domestic economies in southern Kyrgyzstan. Slavic Review, 71 (1): 108-134
2011   Introduction: contested trajectories and a dynamic approach to place. Central Asian Survey, 30 (3-4): 307-330
2011   Staying put? Towards a relational politics of mobility at a time of migration. Central Asian Survey, 30 (3-4): 555-576
2011   Fixing the border: on the affective life of the state in Kyrgyzstan. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 29 (5): 905-923
2009 Materialising state space: ‘Creeping migration’ and territorial integrity in Southern Kyrgyzstan. Europe-Asia Studies, 61 (7): 1277-1313
2009   По ту сторону экономического детерминизма: микродинамика миграции из сельского Кыргызстана. Неприкосновенный запас 66 (4): 262-280
2007   Unstable objects: corpses, checkpoints and “chessboard borders” in the Ferghana valley. Anthropology of East Europe Review, Vol. 25 (1): 72-84
2005   Locating danger: konfliktologiia and the search for fixity in the Ferghana Valley borderlands. Central Asian Survey, Vol. 24 (1): 67-81
2005   Of Credits, Kontrakty and Critical Thinking: Encountering “Market Reforms” in Kyrgyzstani Higher Education. European Education Research Journal, Vol.4 (1): 5-21