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dr. O. (Olga) Sezneva

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Programme group: Cultural Sociology
Photographer: Olga Sezneva

Visiting address
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
  • Room number:C6.13
Postal address
  • Postbus 15508
    1001 NA Amsterdam
Contact details
  • Profile

    Olga Sezneva is an Assistant Professor (UH1) at the Department of Sociology. She received her Ph.D. from New York University (2005) and was a Harper Fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago (2005-2009). Between 2013 ns 2017 Olga served as a Professor of Urban Studies and an affiliated member of the Center for Science and Technology Studies at European University at St. Petersburg, Russia.

    Olga’s main research interests are urban built environment, human mobility, and digital technologies. She published widely on the relationship between material culture and social memory (in the context of Kaliningrad), the global phenomenon of media piracy in emerging economies (Media Piracy in Emerging Economies), cosmopolitanism, and the impact of digitization on the commodity circulation and market exchange. In 2013, Olga joined an international team project at European University at St. Petersburg led by Professor Mario Biagioli (University of California-Davis), to conduct research on the spatial mobility of Russian-speaking ICT professionals​ Russian Computer Scientists at Home and Abroad. The project was awarded the Mega-grant from government of the Russian Federation (grant No.14.U04.31.0001). These diverse research interests have been united by Olga's preoccupation with the ways in which specific cultural forms circulate in the society throughout history.

    The same interest in the modes of expression and representation motivated Olga to turn to artistic research and experiment with non-scientific forms of public address. In 2013 she joined the artistic collective Moving Matters Traveling Workshop, whose work has consistently followed themes of migration, and in doing so developed ways of expressing conceptual and theoretical ideas in visual and performance arts. 

    Her passion for cities and their architecture motivated Olga to develop, together with architect Enric Massip-Bosch (BarcelonaTECH and EMBA studio, Barcelona), an educational program in research design. After a successful run in St. Petersburg, the program is now moving to Barcelona.

    Olga is also a member of the advisory board for the European Prize for Urban Public Space, and the member of a number of editorial boards of international journals.

    Main publications

    • 2014-‘Pirate Cosmopolitics and the Transnational Consciousness of the Entertainment Industry,’ Ethnic and Racial Studies, Special Issue "Books, Bodies, and Bronzes: comparing sites of global citizenship creation" edited by Peggy Levitt. Vol. 37, No. 12: 2226-2242
    • 2014 -‘Has Capitalism Gone Virtual?: Content Containment and the Obsolescence of the Commodity,’ with Sebastien Chauvin. Critical Historical Studies, Vol. 1, Issue 1: 125-150
    • 2013- ‘On Moral Substance and Visual Obscurity in Policy and Practice of State Expansion,’ Environment and Planning D: Society & Space 31(4): 611-627
    • 2013 -‘Rethinking Copyright Through the Copy in Russia,’ Journal of Cultural Economy, on-line first 18 March: 1-16.
    • 2012 -‘The pirates of Nevskii Prospekt: Intellectual property, piracy and institutional diffusion in Russia,’ Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media and the Arts Volume 40(2): 150-166.
    • 2012- ‘The Architecture of Descent: Historical Reconstructions and Politics of Belonging in Kaliningrad, the former Königsberg’. Journal of Urban History 39 (4): 767-787
  • Fellowships and Research Grants
    • 2007-2009-SSRC Comparative Studies of Media Piracy.  Russia Project Co-Director. Amount: $1.4 million. Granting institutions: Ford Foundation and IDRC. 
    • 2007-Ford Foundation, travel grant to conference Access 2 Knowledge -2. Yale University. 
    • 2005-Harper & Schmidt Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Society of Fellows, University of Chicago. 
    • 2003-2004-James Arthur Dissertation Fellowship for Studies of Time, New York University 
    • 2001-2002-The Cold War as a Global Conflict, Dissertation Fellowship, International Center For Advanced Studies, New York University. 
    • 2001-National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant SES - 0221287. 
    • 2000-Young Researchers' Award, Foundation for Urban and Regional Studies, Ltd., London. 
    • 1999-Ford Gender/Area StudiesSummer Research Grant. 
    • 1998-NYU Alumna ClubAward for Women of Achievement. 
    • 1996-International Educational Fellowship, American Association of University Women.
    • 1996-Shane Media Fellowship, Educational Broadcasting Association.
  • Publications


    • Chernysheva, L., & Sezneva, O. (2020). Commoning beyond ‘commons’: The case of the Russian ‘obshcheye’. The Sociological Review, 68(2), 322-340.
    • Chernysheva, L., Danyi, E., de la Cadena, M., Farquhar, J., Joks, S., Kondo, S., ... Østmo, L. (2020). Translating a title: On other terms. The Sociological Review, 68(2), 283-286.



    • Sezneva, O. (2015). Pirate cosmopolitics and the transnational consciousness of the entertainment industry. In P. Levitt, & P. Nyíri (Eds.), Books, Bodies, and Bronzes: Comparing sites of global citizenship creation (pp. 78-94). (Ethnic and Racial Studies). London: Routledge. [details]




    • Sezneva, O. (2012). The pirates of Nevskii Prospekt: intellectual property, piracy and institutional diffusion in Russia. Poetics, 40(2), 150-166. [details]
    • Sezneva, O., & Dodsworth, F. (2012). Safer Cycling: mobilising politics and infrastructure in Amsterdam and London. In Urban Materialities CRESC.


    • Sezneva, O. (2010). Modalities of self-understanding, identification and representation in the post-1991 Kaliningrad: a critical view. In S. Berger (Ed.), Kaliningrad in Europa: nachbarschaftliche Perspektiven nach dem Ende des Kalten Krieges (pp. 35-57). (Veröffentlichungen des Nordost-Instituts; No. 14). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. [details]



    • Sezneva, O. (2016). Cities of Socialism: Migration, Mass Housing and Political Change an Eastern Europe And The Soviet Union after World War II: [Review of: S.E. Harris (2013) Communism on Tomorrow Street: Mass Housing and Everyday Life After Stalin; K. Lebow (2013) Unfinished Utopia: Nowa Huta, Stalinism and Polish society, 1949-56; G. Thum (2011) Uprooted: How Breslau Became Wrocław During the Century of Expulsions]. Journal of Urban History, 42(5), 1153-1157. [details]


    • Sezneva, O., & Karaganis, J. (2012). Rusia. In J. Karaganis (Ed.), Piratería de medios en las economías emergentes (pp. 161-233). Social Science Research Council. [details]


    • Sezneva, O., & Karaganis, J. (2011). Russia. In J. Karaganis (Ed.), Media piracy in emerging economies (pp. 149-217). New York, NY: Social Science Research Council. [details]
    • Sezneva, O., & Karaganis, J. (2011). Россия. In J. Karaganis (Ed.), Медийное Пиратство в Развивающихся Економиках (pp. 149-218). New York: Social Science Research Council. [details]


    • Sezneva, O. (2015). The Cosmopolitan Nation: The Politics of Cultural Representation in a Global World: Session Review. ASA Sociology of Cuture Newsletter, 27(2), 17, 32. [details]


    • Sezneva, O. (2014). [Review of: L. Pang (2012) Creativity and its discontents: China's creative industries and intellectual property rights offenses]. Journal of Cultural Economy, 7(1), 127-129. [details]
    • te Brömmelstroet, M., Harms, L., Sezneva, O., & Rottenberg, A. (2014). The Reckless Cyclist: Dispelling the myth. PlanAmsterdam, 2014(4), 24-29. [details]


    • Sezneva, O. (2013). Mega-Grant for International Research Cooperation. Project ‘International Diaspora of Russian Computer Scientists.’ (2013-2016).


    • Sezneva, O. (2015). Member, American Sociological Association.
    • Sezneva, O. (2015-2017). American Sociological Association, Annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Chicago.
    • Sezneva, O. (2013). Co-director, IMES, UvA.
    • Sezneva, O. (2011). Co-director, IMES, IMES.
    • Sezneva, O. & Guadeloupe, F. E. (2011). Organizer, NWO-ICSSR conference 'Religion and Ethnicity in the Age of Globalization.
    • Sezneva, O., Vermeulen, F. F. & Kalir, B. (2011). Co-organizer. Race and Whiteness in Comparative Perspective conference, IMES.
    • Sezneva, O. (2010-2013). member of the editorial board, Contemporary Sociology.
    • Sezneva, O. (2010-2011). Editorial Board, Contemporary Sociology.
    • Sezneva, O. (2010-2011). member, Council for European Studies.
    • Sezneva, O. (2010-2011). local organizing committee member, RC21 Conferece.

    Media appearance

    • Sezneva, O. (30-04-2016). Polis: learning from the European Prize for Public Space [Web] The Village online. Polis: learning from the European Prize for Public Space.
    • Sezneva, O. (02-05-2012). Transnational Piracy Research in Practice: A Roundtable Interview with Joe Karaganis, John Cross, Olga Sezneva, and Ravi Sundaram [Print] Television and New Media: volume 13, issue 5, pp. 447-458. Transnational Piracy Research in Practice: A Roundtable Interview with Joe Karaganis, John Cross, Olga Sezneva, and Ravi Sundaram.
    • Sezneva, O. (03-10-2011). Pirates [Radio], New York City. Pirates.

    Talk / presentation

    • Sezneva, O. (speaker) (24-5-2018). Pride and Property: Emotions, Justice and the Changing Regimes of Ownership in Kaliningrad, the Former Königsberg, Material Feelings: Population Displacement and Property Transfer in Modern Europe and Beyond, Leipzig.
    • Sezneva, O. (invited speaker) & Ossman, S. (invited speaker) (20-10-2016). Traveling Narratives and Images in Times of Migration, The Norwegian University Centre in Paris, NUCP/Maison des Sciences de l’Homme.
    • Sezneva, O. (speaker) (30-6-2016). Displacement, Dispossession, Affect. The circulation of Koenigsberg’s material culture in the contemporary Kaliningrad., Spatial Justice in the City, Milton Keynes.
    • Sezneva, O. (invited speaker) (2016). Invited paper ‘Pride and Property’, Workshop Spatial Justice at Manchester University, Manchester.
    • Sezneva, O. (speaker) (2016). Moving Matters Traveling Workshop and Conference. Invited speaker., Travelling workshop at Center for Globalization Studies, University of California , Riverside.
    • Sezneva, O. (invited speaker) (2016). Invited plenary speaker, Conference VDNKh, St. Petersburg.
    • Sezneva, O. (invited speaker) (23-10-2015). Value, Intellect and the Commodity Form in the Age of Digital Technology, Invited lecture at ‘Club Context’, Sint Petersburg.
    • Sezneva, O. (invited speaker) (17-9-2015). ‘Between Duree and Obduracy. On the Construction of Continuity in Urban Space’, Plenary lecture. Conference: Urban STS. Reassembling the Field. European University at St. Petersburg., St. Petersburg.
    • Sezneva, O. (speaker) (11-8-2015). Pirate Cosmopolitics and the Transnational Consciousness of Entertainment Industry.
    • Sezneva, O. (invited speaker) (20-7-2015). Debating Citizens in Search for Publicness, Invited speaker at ‘Places vs Scenarios’. Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Barcelona.
    • Sezneva, O. (invited speaker) (12-6-2015). Order and Disorder in Contemporary City, Key-note address, launch of Open University intiative, St-Petersburg.
    • Sezneva, O. (invited speaker) (14-12-2012). Rethniking Copyright Through Copy in Russia, VDNKh, European University at St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg.
    • Sezneva, O. (invited speaker) & Chauvin, S. (invited speaker) (3-12-2011). Value, intellect and the obsolescence of commodity (invited paper), Critical Historical Studies conference (University of Chicago and The Social Theory Workshop), Chicago.
    • Sezneva, O. (invited speaker) (6-9-2011). We Have Never Been German: lessons from the forced migration, Framing the City, CRESC Annual Conference, Manchester.
    • Sezneva, O. (invited speaker) (25-8-2011). Doing Research on Piracy: Issues of the Method (invited paper), Global Congress on Public Interest, Washington, DC.
    • Sezneva, O. (invited speaker) (15-4-2011). Rethinking Copyright Through the Copy (invited paper), NYLUM (New York University and LSE): Cultures of Circulation conference, Ottowa.


    • Sezneva, O. (organiser) & Gantner, E. (organiser) (13-9-2018 - 14-9-2018). Heritage Activism in Cities of Eastern Europe and Russia from 1968 to the Current, Marburg (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • van de Kamp, L. (participant), Halauniova, A. (participant), Birdsall, C. (participant) & Sezneva, O. (participant) (18-5-2018). Urban Valorisation: Cultural Forms, Local Heritage and Redevelopment Agendas (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Sezneva, O. (organiser) (17-5-2018). Urban Valorization - Traverse Heritage: Voice, Body, Movement, Amsterdam (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • van de Kamp, L. (participant), Sezneva, O. (organiser), Birdsall, C. (organiser) & Halauniova, A. (organiser) (17-5-2018). Urban Valorization - Traverse Heritage: Voice, Body, Movement, Amsterdam. Moving Matters Traveling Workshop in Hermitage, Amsterdam (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • van de Kamp, L. (participant), Sezneva, O. (organiser), Halauniova, A. (organiser) & Birdsall, C. (organiser) (17-5-2018). Museum Performance: Traverse Heritage: Voice, Body, Movement, Amsterdam (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Sezneva, O. (organiser) (28-3-2018 - 30-3-2018). 25th International Conference of Europeanists, Chicago. panel organiser and presenter. Panel: Arts of Migration. Performance and non-fiction reading. (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Sezneva, O. (chair) (12-12-2016). Spui25. Lights of Russia: Russian IT Development, Amsterdam (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Sezneva, O. (organiser) (22-10-2016). Spui25. Soviet Cybernetics, a public lecture by Diana West, Amsterdam (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Sezneva, O. (organiser) (17-5-2016 - 20-5-2016). ‘Live Infrastructure’, St. Petersburg (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Sezneva, O. (other) (28-4-2016 - 26-5-2016). Organizer: Polis: four lectures on urban development by invited international speakers (other).
    • Sezneva, O. (participant) (16-12-2015 - 19-12-2015). at European University at SPb (in cooperation with ITMO University (St Petersburg), UvA), Sint Petersburg. Co-organizer: ‘Computational and Social Sciences: Erasing the Boundaries’ (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Sezneva, O. (participant) (14-12-2015). In cooperation between CUS and IMES, Amsterdam. Organizer: ‘Being Political in Architecture and Urban Design’ (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Sezneva, O. (participant) (17-9-2015 - 19-9-2015). At European University EUSPB (in cooperation with CSTS-U of Munich and ETH-Zurich), Sint Petersburg. Co-organizer: ‘Urban STS: reassembling the field’ (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Sezneva, O. (organiser) (25-8-2012 - 27-8-2012). MISOCO annual conference., UvA, Amsterdam. Mobility: a new paradigm? (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • No ancillary activities