Jan Kubik

Immediate Past President 2021

Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University and Professor of Slavonic and East European Studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London

Jan Kubik is Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University and Professor of Slavonic and East European Studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. He is also a Recurring Visiting Professor of Sociology at the Graduate School for Social Research in the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Kubik has been engaged in research, writing, teaching, and organizing in the field of East European studies since his graduation from Jagiellonian University in Kraków in 1977. After a period of teaching in the Department of Sociology there, he left Poland and received a Ph.D. in Anthropology (with distinction) at Columbia University in 1989. Since then he has worked in American academia, mostly at Rutgers, where he co-founded the Center for Russian, Central, and East European Studies (Center for Comparative European Studies since 2002) and served as its Director (1999-2005). He also served as Chair of the Political Science Department (2012-14). During the 2006-7 academic year Kubik was a Distinguished Fulbright Chair in East European Studies at the University of Warsaw.

From January 2015 to August 2017 Kubik was the Director of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at UCL, arguably the largest and most comprehensive center for the study of Eastern Europe in the world. He resigned from this position to be with his family and return to the US.

Kubik iserves on the editorial board of the two top journals in the field: East European Politics and Societies and Slavic Review. He was a member of several national bodies, including the ACLS Committee on East European Studies and the Central Europe Review Committee of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars. From May 2005 to 2012, he served on the Regional Advisory Panel, Program on Eurasia of the Social Science Research Council, the national institution that sets the tone for many American academic activities in the region.

Kubik’s research, intimately intertwined with his teaching, is inter-disciplinary. While fully trained in sociology and philosophy (both while at Jagiellonian University), he is an anthropologist working at the border of comparative politics. His two dominant intellectual passions are the relationships between politics and culture, and social movements/protest politics. His first book, The Power of Symbols against the Symbols of Power (1999), is an early exemplification of his approach that is further developed in Anthropology and Political Science: A Convergent Approach (2013), co-authored with Myron Aronoff and in Twenty Years After Communism: The Politics of Memory and Commemoration (2014), co-created with Michael Bernhard.

“Strategies of collective protest in democratizing societies” is a massive empirical project, conceived, organized, and executed with Grzegorz Ekiert. Its early result is the award winning Rebellious Civil Society. Popular Protest and Democratic Consolidation in Poland, 1989-1993 (1999). Kubik and Ekiert are now writing a book on the role of protest in the Polish post-communist transformations, 1989-2017.

Another field of Kubik’s investigations is the theory of post-communist transformations. Together with Amy Linch he conceived and edited Justice, Hegemony and Mobilization: Views from East/Central Europe and Eurasia (2013) championing innovative approaches, including his own concept of contextual holism.

Kubik is currently working on the rise of right-wing populism in the region and co-leading a four-year international doctoral training program at UCL called FATIGUE: Delayed Transformational Fatigue in Central and Eastern Europe: Responding to the Rise of Illiberalism/Populism.