Nicholas Seay

Nicholas Seay at the site of the Yavan-Vakhsh Tunnel in Yovon, Tajikistan. The tunnel was constructed in the 1960s to bring water from the Vakhsh River to the Yovon Valley, which was an important site for cotton cultivation and the development of Integrated Pest Management in Soviet Tajikistan.

Nicholas Seay

Graduate Student

Areas of Expertise

  • Russian and East European History
  • Central Asian History
  • Environmental History


  • B.A. in History, University of Cincinnati (2014)
  • M.A. in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2018)

Advisor: Prof. David Hoffmann, Prof. Nicholas Breyfogle

Nicholas Seay is a PhD student in Russian and East European History (with minor fields in World History and East Asian History). Based on archival, oral history, and library research conducted in Tajikistan between in 2022 and 2023, his dissertation explores on the development of the cotton sector in late-Soviet Tajikistan, exploring how immense global technological changes in large-scale industrial farming shaped lives, labor, and environment in this former Soviet Republic. His research was funded by fellowships from the Title VIII Research Scholar Program and the Title VIII Combined Research and Language Training Program administered by American Councils for International Education. 

Nicholas has presented on his research at the Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) Annual Conference, the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, as well as the Landscape and Thoughtscapes of the Anthropocene Conference hosted by the University of Tyumen and the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences, the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies' Graduate Conference, the World History Association of Texas' Annual Conference, the Association of Central Eurasian Students' Conference at Indiana University, the Midwest Russian History Workshop, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Central Eurasian Summer Studies Institute, and virtually at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. 

He has published a co-authored piece with Dr. Alisher Khaliyarov, "Oylar Momo's Dala Shiypon" in The History of Soviet Central Asia in 100 Objects Online Exhibit, a project with the University of Oxford's Nizami Ganjavi Centre, as well as "Soviet-Tajik Writing Intelligentsia in the Late 1930s" in a special edition of the RUDN Journal of Russian History (19, No. 1 February 2020), and a piece for the Ajam Media Collective, "Ibn Sina as Corona Meme: The Internet Afterlife of a 1950s Soviet Film." He has also published review for H-Net Socialisms and Ab Imperio and has published translations of reviews (Russian to English) for Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History

Nicholas served as an editorial board member for the Central Asia Research Cluster: Knowledge Production & The Periphery Revisited (University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and Slavic Review). Together with Dr. Benjamin Gatling (George Mason University) Dr. Abdualamin Majnunov and Dr. Rustam Oymakhmudov (Department of Folklore, Rudaki Institute of Language and Literature at the Tajik Academy of Sciences in Dushanbe, Tajikistan), Nicholas applied for and facilitated a grant project with UCLA's Modern Endangered Languages Program (MEAP) to train staff to catalog and digitize endangered materials in the Department of Folklore's Collection. He also previously served as the host of New Books in Central Asian Studies, a podcast channel on the New Books Network. 



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