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Tomas A. Matza, Visiting Faculty

Tomas A. Matza
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Curriculum Vitae
  • PhD Stanford University 2010

Research Interests:

In broad terms, my research has addressed the interplay between political-economy, expertise and subjectivity in the period following the Soviet collapse in Russia. My current book project, Subjects of Freedom: Psychologists, Power and Politics in Postsocialist Russia, focuses on newly minted “experts of the soul” in Russia—psychotherapists, coaches, trainers—who have introduced a new attention to “the self” that has been simultaneous with privatization and liberalization. Of particular interest to me is the way that these experts have helped to transform the self into a locus for a class politics, a site of investment and management, as well as a new horizon for imaginative possibilities. I remain interested in the ways that expert practices are forged around moments of crisis and a quest for improvement. In new work I am shifting from a focus on the self to carbon, the chemical element at the center of the politics of climate change. Climate policy work has the potential to reframe understandings of rights, justice, and sovereignty. Yet climate policy has primarily relied upon neoliberal rationalities. Market mechanisms are meant to manage carbon, distribute technical knowledge from north to south, conserve forest, mitigate air quality, and shape development. Set in Russia (permafrost protection; infrastructure development; response to drought and wildfire), this project will investigate the institutional formation and material effects of this specular economy—the carbon market—and how expertise, knowledge and practice, stakeholders and environments coalesce to re-shape environments and livelihoods.

Representative Publications

  1. Tomas Matza. ""Good Individualism?" Psychology, Ethics and Neoliberalism in Postsocialist Russia." American Ethnologist  vol. 39 no. 4 (November, 2012): 805-819.
  2. Koopman & Matza. "Putting Foucault to Work: Analytic and Concept in Inquiry." Critical Inquiry  vol. 39 no. 4 (Summer, 2013): 817-840.
  3. Tomas Matza. "Moscow's Echo: Technologies of the Self, Publics, and Politics on the Russian Talk Show." Cultural Anthropology  vol. 24 no. 3 (August, 2009): 489-522. [239]
  4. Tomas Matza. "Book Review: The Old Faith and the Russian Land: A Historical Ethnography of Ethics in the Urals by Douglas Rogers." American Ethnologist  vol. 38 no. 4 ( 2012): 825-826. [abstract]
  5. Tomas Matza. "Book Review: Zigon's "HIV is God's Blessing"." Somatosphere  (July 25, 2011). [html]
  6. Tomas Matza. "Allan Chumak." a collaborative genealogy of spirituality  (January 16, 2012). [available here]

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