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CREECA LECTURE: Eurasian Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis: Between Fact and Fear

April 29, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm

Caress Schenk, Associate Professor of Political Science, Nazarbayev University

This lecture will be given over Zoom: REGISTER HERE.

Amid the economic and health crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, underlying questions of state-society relations loom large in Eurasia: why do people follow or not follow regulations that the government deems healthy for them? Do people trust the scientific underpinnings of state modernization projects? How do states increase public buy-in or compliance with their policies?

This talk will outline the origins of the project and preliminary findings from a study that Schenk conducted, analyzing the linkages between state and society as they together navigate a world of uncertainty and crisis. To empirically study questions related to fear-based and scientific-based decision making during times of crisis and uncertainty, Schenk’s project uses a three-pronged approach. First is an investigation of public attitudes towards health behaviors, including the choice to be vaccinated against COVID-19, using interviews, surveys, and social media analysis. Second, she investigates expert opinion and the construction of official data using interviews, media analysis, and various analyses of available empirical data. Third, Schenk analyzes the policies and policymaker perspectives in addressing COVID-19, using data from the CoronaNet Project, interviews, analysis of policymakers’ rhetoric, and the messaging of public awareness campaigns. This project uses these approaches to probe linkages between political rhetoric, policy, and people’s attitudes and behaviors.


Caress Schenk is an Associate Professor of political science at Nazarbayev University (Astana, Kazakhstan) with teaching and research expertise in the politics of immigration and national identity in Eurasia. Her new book, published with the University of Toronto Press, is called Why Control Immigration? Strategic Uses of Migration Management in Russia. Current and previous research has been funded by the American Councils for International Education, Nazarbayev University and the Fulbright Scholar Program and has been published in Demokratizatisya, Europe-Asia Studies, and Nationalities Papers, and in edited volumes published by Edinburgh University Press and Oxford University Press. Dr. Schenk is a member of the Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia (PONARS Eurasia).


April 29, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm