Erik R. Scott

Erik Scott

Contact Info

Wescoe Hall, Room 3622


In his research, Professor Scott (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley) explores migration and diaspora within and beyond the imperial borders of Russia and Eurasia. His book, Familiar Strangers: The Georgian Diaspora and the Evolution of Soviet Empire, looks at the USSR not simply as a Russian empire, but as an "empire of diasporas," where politics, culture, and economics were defined by the mixing of a diverse array of mobile nationalities. Following the history of Georgians beyond the Georgian republic from 1917 to the present, the book examines the evolution of the Soviet multiethnic empire from the perspective of its most prominent internal diaspora. He is currently at work on a second book, Illegal Emigration: Soviet Defectors and the Borders of the Cold War World, which follows the unauthorized movement of people across Soviet state lines. Through an examination of the political, legal, and cultural phenomenon of Soviet defection, the project investigates how the global borders of the Cold War were defined, disputed, and transgressed in refugee camps, border zones, extraterritorial spaces, international waters, and on board airplanes, shaping an international refugee regime whose legacy remains with us to this day.


Teaching interests:

  • Russia
  • Soviet Union
  • USSR
  • Caucasus
  • Modern Europe
  • migration
  • diaspora
  • empire
  • Cold War