UCL Anthropology


Ruth Mandel


Ruth Mandel Photo

Tel : +44 (0)20 7679 8646

Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 8632

E-mail: r.mandel@ucl.ac.uk

Room: 143

PhD, Cultural Anthropology
University of Chicago, 1988

Currently on sabbatical leave.


Books published

L'angoisse cosmopolite. La citoyenneté et l'appartenance remises en question par les Turcs d'Allemagne


Presses de l'Université Laval

Cosmopolitan Anxieties: Turkish Challenges to Citizenship and Belonging in Germany

Winner of William A. Douglass Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of Europe, of the American Anthropological Association.
Named the Best Book of the Year in Europeanist Anthropology.

Duke University Press
UK Amazon

Markets and Moralities: Ethnographies of Postsocialism Book
Markets and Moralities: Ethnographies of Postsocialism
Edited by Ruth Mandel and Caroline Humphrey
Berg Press/NYU Press 2002 Cover: 'Weiche' (Switch) by Neo Rauch.
Rauch's socialist-era images, such as the woman's uniform and the panoptic watch-tower, confront a troubling dystopic uncertainty that encompasses the socialist past as well as the postsocialist present and future

General Interest

Transnational migration, ethnicity and identity Turkey, Greece, Germany, Kazakhstan; Post-socialist societies in transition,  Media and International development; Memory and memorialisation in post-Holocaust Europe.

Consultancy is an integral part of Ruth's commitment to public engagement. For inquiries into how UCL’s anthropology department can support your organization, please consult the Ethnographic Insights Lab.

Research Interests

  • Since 2017 I have been carrying out ethnographic research on Stolpersteine, a counter-memorial art project marking the final homes of victims of Nazi violence, found throughout Europe http://www.stolpersteine.eu/en/.  Thus far, my research has been in Greece, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway. A recent article, co-authored with my research partner Rachel Lehr, is: Failing to remember: afterlives and Stolpersteine in the Nordic region, in Journal of Jewish Studies, vol. lxxi no. 2, autumn 2020, pp. 365–96, issn 0022-2097.
  • In 2015, 2016, and 2017, I organised a series of large international events, in London and Geneva, called Engaging Refugee Narratives: Perspectives from Academic and the Arts. Bringing together academics and artivists, it attracted hundreds of participants from throughout Europe, in a rare blend of academic panels, participatory art activities, and performance. (See Tess Altman’s review: Engaging Refugee Narratives. A Review of the 2017 UCL Conference in Anthropology Today, 2017. My co-organisers were Dr. Susan Pattie (UCL), Professor Bruce White (Doshisha, Kyoto) and Professor Patricia Spyer (Geneva Graduate Institute).A 30 minute television segment focussed on it, available here.
  • Between 1994-1999 I spent nearly 3 years in Central Asia, most of the time in Kazakhstan. I am working on analysing material based on research about media and development in Kazakhstan. (See  Mandel, R. (2002). A Marshall Plan of the Mind: The Political Economy of Kazakh Soap Opera. Chapter 10 in Ginsburg, F.D., Abu-Lughod, L. and Larkin B. (ed.) Media Worlds: Anthropology of New Terrain. Berkeley: University of California Press, 211-228.)
  • As part of an international, interdisciplinary research team, I made several research trips to Georgia, studying the situation of IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) from the several Georgia-Russian conflicts over the past two decades. The project was funded by the Human and Social Dynamics Program at the National Science Foundation (Washington, D.C.). Beth Mitchneck (University of Arizona) and Joanna Regulska (Rutgers) were the co-PIs of the project. See website.
  • I have researched and published about 'co-ethnic migration' of Russian-Germans from the former Soviet Union, to Germany, as well as Russian-Jewish migrants to Germany. This research began as a collaborative project carried out with Michael Stewart and Susan Pattie, entitled Citizenship and Belonging: Local Expression of Political and Economic Restructuring, comparing Hungarian, Armenian and Russian-German Diasporas. It was funded by the ESRC's Transnational Communities Programme.
  • I served as guest editor for a special edition of Slavic Review, DEVELOPMENT LANDSCAPES: NGOs, FBOs, and Democratization in Russia and Central Asia (Number 2, Summer 2012). This arose from a series of interdisciplinary workshops I convened at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D. C. It is a critique of international development projects and strategies since the fall of the USSA.

Current PhD Students

  • Ioanna Manoussaki-Adamopoulou (expected 2025) Migrants/refugees in Greece
  • Janine Su (expected 2024) On boys and borders: Transgressive masculinities and the dilemma of liminality in a Turkish urban centre
  • Lucja Lopata-Varkas (expected 2024) Jewish heritage in Greece

Recently Completed:

  • Kelsey Weber (2023) Tatar Muslims in Poland
  • Sabine de Graaf (2024) Refugees in Lesvos, Greece
  • Victoria Tecca (2022) Kurdish refugees in northern France
  • Aykut Öztürk (2020) Armenian migrants between Istanbul and Yerevan
  • Tess Altman (2019) Volunteerism among refugees and asylum seekers in Australia
  • Stefan Fa (2018) Ethnomusicology among Azeris in Kars, Turkey
  • Costanza Curro (2017) Hospitality among Georgian migrants in London (co-supervised with SSEES)
  • Eray Çaylı (completed 2015) Architectonics of memorialisation in Turkey (co-supervised with Bartlett School of Architecture)
  • Beata Świtek (completed 2013) Indonesian migrant workers in Japan
  • Besim Can Zirh (completed 2012) Turkish Alevi diaspora in Europe
  • Galina Oustinova-Stjepanovic (completed 2011) Sufi Muslims in Macedonia
  • Debbie Soothill (completed 2012, ESRC funded) Chinese migrants in Madrid