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Ian Lanzillotti

Assistant Professor of History

ilanzillotti@tnwesleyan.edu (423) 746-5241

Dr. Ian Lanzillotti grew up in Queens, New York and Tampa, Florida. Dr. Lanzillotti earned his B.A. in History and Russian Language from the University of South Florida (2005), his M.A. in Russian and East European Studies from Indiana University (2008), and his PhD in History from The Ohio State University (2014). Over the course of his studies and research, Dr. Lanzillotti has travelled extensively throughout Russia and other former Soviet states. He has studied Russian at Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State Pedagogical University, and St. Petersburg State University, and he has studied Kabardian (a language indigenous to the Circassian people of the North Caucasus) at Kabardino-Balkar State University. Dr. Lanzillotti has conducted original historical research in the archives of Moscow and the North Caucasus. Dr. Lanzillotti has received grants and awards from the U.S. Department of Education (Fulbright-Hays and numerous Foreign Language and Area Studies awards), the American Philosophical Society, American Councils for International Education, the Central Eurasian Studies Society, and the Mershon Center for International Security Studies.

Dr. Lanzillotti teaches courses in European, Islamic, and Central Asian history and is a specialist on Russia and the Soviet Union as multi-ethnic and multi-confessional empires. Dr. Lanzillotti’s broad thematic interests revolve around the study of nationalism, ethnicity, empire, borderlands, and intercommunal conflict. Dr. Lanzillotti is particularly interested in the ways in which ethnically and religiously diverse states—from empires to modern nation-states—have managed their diverse populations and the problems that they have encountered and/or created in doing so. Dr. Lanzillotti also strives to advance of the study of the Caucasus, a region of breathtaking snow-capped mountains, lush alpine meadows, and dozens of unique linguistic and cultural communities nestled within rocky valleys and gorges. A cultural and religious bridge Europe and Asia, the Caucasus has long been of great importance for both global security and world trade. Problems of ethno-nationalism, religious extremism, terrorism, and energy security have recently increased the region’s strategic importance. The North Caucasus in southern Russia, which includes Chechnya and Dagestan, has become one of Eurasia’s most troubled hotspots. The Caucasus has received only sporadic attention in the aftermath of terrorist attacks and wars. Our understanding of the region suffers from a lack of deep scholarly engagement.  Dr. Lanzillotti is part of small but growing cohort of Western scholars that has ventured to the local archives and mountain villages of the North Caucasus to understand the dynamics of everyday life and the effects of Russian policies in this multiethnic region.

Selected Publications:

“Historiography and the Politics of Land, Identity, and Belonging in the Twentieth-Century North Caucasus,” Nationalities Papers, accepted for publication in forthcoming issue.

The Sleeping Beauty of the Caucasus”: Kavkazskii Uzel and Contemporary Views on Politics and Security in Kabardino-Balkaria,” Journal of Caucasian Studies, forthcoming March 2016.

“From Princely Fiefdoms to Soviet Nations: Interethnic Border Conflicts in the North Caucasus and the Village of Lesken,” Central Asian Survey, Central Asian Survey, Vol. 31, No. 2 (2012), pp. 209-227

Book Review

“Legends of the Caucasus, by David Hunt,” Central Asian Survey, Vol. 32, no. 2 (2013), pp. 227-228