Dr. Zinaida Vasilyeva


Innovation Research

Zinaida Vasilyeva holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Her doctoral dissertation entitled “From Skills to Selves: Recycling ‘Soviet DIY’ in Post-Soviet Russia” explores how meanings and values attributed to manual knowledge and skills and do-it-yourself practices in the late Soviet society shifted and changed after the dissolution of the Soviet political and economic order.
Before joining the TUM STS Department in 2018, she worked as a guest researcher at the Department of Anthropology of the University of California, Berkeley (2016) and at Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde, Leipzig (2017). From 2013 to 2015, she served as executive director of the project “Russian Computer Scientists at Home and Abroad” at the MCTS Center of the European University in St. Petersburg.
Her main fields of expertise are Anthropology of Science & Technology, Material Studies, Infrastructures of Knowledge, and Imaginations of Modernity. She is particularly interested in the communitarian discourses of different technical and scientific communities and logics of justice promoted through competing infrastructures of knowledge/power. Currently she works as a post-doc at the STS Department, TUM, with Prof. Dr. Sebastian Pfotenhauer (chair “Innovation, Society and Public Policy”and focuses on the European space politics and technologies. The ongoing project: Metaforis: making Europe through and for its research infrastructures.

  • Anthropology of science and technologies
  • Ethnographies of academic communities
  • Intellectual History
  • Media and communications
  • Subjectivity
  • Postsocialisms and Post-Cold War knowledge


  • Masalskaya, Aleksandra, Zinaida Vasilyeva (2019). At the Periphery of the Empire: Recycling Old Japanese Cars into IT community in Vladivostok. In: From Russia with Codes: Programming Migrations in Post-Soviet Times. Eds. Mario Biagioli & Vincent Lepinay. Duke University Press.
  • Kasatkina, Alexandra, Zinaida Vasilyeva, Roman Khandozhko (2018). Thrown into Collaboration: An Ethnography of Transcript Authorization. In: Experimental Collaborations: Ethnography Through Fieldwork Devices. Eds. Tomas Sanches Criado & Adolfo Estalella, Berghahn’s EASA book series, 132-153.
  • Vasilyeva, Zinaida (2018). Der unauffällige Staat: Die Infrastruktur der Amateurverbände in der Zeit des Spätsozialismus. In: Hochkultur für das Volk? Literatur, Kunst und Musik in der Sowjetunion aus kulturgeschichtlicher Perspektive. Ed. Igor Narsky. Vol. 97, series “Schriften des Historischen Kollegs. Kolloquien”, De Gruyter/Oldenbourg, 213-234.
  • Vasilyeva, Zinaida (2014). Samodeiatel’nost’ : v poiskakh sovetskoi modernosti [Self-Activity: Searching for a Soviet Modernity], Novoie literaturnoie Obozreniie, 128, 54-63.
  • Vasilyeva, Zinaida (2013). Video-Mediated Communicative Interaction: A Review, Forum for Anthropology and Culture, 8, 117-148.
  • 2019 WS, Basic Ideas and Concepts of Science and Technology Studies, together with Johan Buchholz, Carlos Cuevas, Nina Frahm, Judith Igelsböck, Stefania Sardo, and Kerstin Rego
  • RESET/MCTS: MCTS0047 Internship, together with Kay Felder
  • Biopolitics: Social, Political and Ethical Aspects of Life Science Economies. (WZ1713), together with Kay Felder


  • “DIY as a Russian self-stereotype”, 117th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (Change in the Anthropological Imagination), Session “Anthropology of the World in Crisis: What Post-Socialism Still Knows”, San Jose, CA, November
  • “Hackerspaces as Flexible Infrastructures: Circulations of Humans, Things and Ideas”, Annual meeting of the Swiss Anthropological Association (SEG-SSE), November 2017, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
  • “The Invisible state: Ethnography of an Amateur Project in the Era of Late Socialism”, November 2017, 49th ASEEES Annual Convention, Chicago, USA
  • “Radiation Narratives”: Risk, Health and Memory in post-Soviet Obninsk, Conference: Nuclear Legacies: Community, Memory, Waste & Nature, September 2017, Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • “Seeking for a Voice: Russian Art learning the language of the Contemporary Art Market”, Conference: East-West Cultural Relations: Interplay of Arts and Cultural Diplomacy, February 2017, University of Juväskylä, Juväskylä, Finland
  • American Anthropological Association
  • Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies
  • Swiss Anthropological Association

Academic service

Zinaida Vasilyeva served as a reviewer for the following journals:

  • Laboratorium: Russian Review of Social Research
  • Europa Regional


  • 05-10/2017 EEGA Leibniz-Science Campus fellowship, Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography – Leipzig, Germany
  • 01-03/2017 Ira-Urban fellowship, Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography – Leipzig, Germany
  • 09-11/2016 IfL fellowship, Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography – Leipzig, Germany
  • Spring 2016 Carnegie Research Fellowship, NCEEER – Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley, USA
  •  2012, 2013 Karamzin Fellowship, Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation – Moscow, Russia
  • 11/2011-11/2013 Swiss National Foundation, doctoral scholarship for the project “Do-it-yourself practices and technical knowledge in late Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia”, PI prof. Philippe Geslin – University of Neuchatel, Switzerland
  • 2010, 2011 GSGP-Europe Grant, Open Society Foundation
  • Spring 2010 Fieldwork grant, Equal Opportunities Office of the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
  • 09/2008-06/2009 Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship – University of Lausanne, Switzerland