Adam Leeds

B.A. Philosophy, University of Chicago, 2005

What is it to govern and to be governed in the contemporary situation? I am an anthropologist concerned with political rationalities and technologies of rule. In particular, I am interested in the imagination and assembly of forms of political order that could be understood as liberalisms by means of the forms of knowledge called economics. My current project is a historical ethnography of the mathematical economists of Moscow from the Soviet Union to contemporary Russia. It is draws on twenty months of field research, during which I was based at the New Economic School (NES) and Central Economic Mathematical Institute (CEMI) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The genealogy of Moscow economics reveals a point of emergence and elaboration for alternative liberalisms and socialisms that illuminate both the limits and fecundity of the modern political imaginary. My research has been supported by grants from the Fulbright Foundation, Wenner Gren Foundation, the American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR) Title VIII program, and fellowships at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Center for the History of Political Economy of Duke University.

Research Interests:

Science studies, postsocialism, economics, bureaucracy and technocracy, the state, modernity and utopianism, liberalism and neo-liberalism, ethics, political affects, the legacies of cybernetics, the Cold War, history of the human sciences, pragmatic semiotics; Russia.


“Dreams in Cybernetic Fugue: Cold War Technoscience, the Intelligentsia, and the Birth of Soviet Mathematical Economics,” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences (revise and resubmit).