Dr Isaac Scarborough

Dr Isaac Scarborough

PhD Alumnus

Department of International History

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Key Expertise
Soviet Union, Socialist Economics, Central Asia, Tajikistan, Nationalism

About me

Isaac Scarborough completed his PhD programme in the Department of International History at the LSE in August 2018.  His research investigated the collapse of the USSR from a peripheral perspective, demonstrating how the economic and political reforms designed and implemented during perestroika (1985-1991) had a variety of unforeseen and largely overlooked consequences across the whole of the Soviet Union. Working with the case study of Tajikistan, Dr Scarborough’s PhD research considered how these reforms and the Soviet collapse ultimately led to social disintegration, violence, and civil war.

Expertise Details

Soviet Union; Socialist Economics; Central Asia; Tajikistan; Nationalism


I. Peer Reviewed


II. Academic

  • Scarborough, Isaac. 2017. Review of The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy: Mikhail Gorbachev and the Collapse of the USSR (review no. 2066), Reviews in History 16 February.
  • Kadyrov, Sh., O. Brusina and I. Scarborough.  2016. “Ethnicity and Ethnicities. Part 1.” Nowa Politika Wschodnia 2.
  • Kadyrov, Sh. Kh., O.I. Brusina, and I. Scarborough. 2014. “Retseniziia na knigu ‘Kavkaz: Transformatsiia i vosproizvodstvo politicheskikh elit,’ (Tom 6); ‘Kavkaz: Mekhanizmy legitimatsii funktsionirovaniia politicheskikh elit,’ (Tom 7)” [Review of the book ‘The Caucasus: The Transformation and Creation of Political Elites’ (Volume 6) and ‘The Caucasus: Mechanisms for the Legitimization of the Political Elite’s Mode of Functioning (Volume 7)]. Vostok 5.
  • Scarborough, Isaac. 2013. “Becoming Soviet in Turkmenistan: the Unseen Influence of the Special Settlers.” In Social and Cultural Change in Central Asia: The Soviet Legacy, edited by Sevket Hilton Akyildiz and Richard Carlson. London: Routledge.

Conference papers

  • “Tajikistan as a “Subsidized” Socialist Republic: Reconsidering the Evidence,” presented at the Joint ESCAS-CESS Conference, Bishkek, June 2017.
  • “Entirely unsatisfactory: Chechen and Ingush deportees and the development of state-citizen relations in late Soviet Kazakhstan,” presented at Stalinism in Central Asia, Berlin, March 2016.
  • “(Over)Determining Social Disorder: Tajikistan  and the Economic Collapse of Perestroika,” presented at the Central Eurasian Studies Society’s 2015 Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, October 2015.
  • “Interpreting conflict: nationalism, riots, and Tajikistan’s transition to independence,” presented at the 25th Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN), London, April 2015.
  • “The Long Reform of the Soviet Enterprise,” presented at Talking about Economics in the Socialist World, University of Geneva, April 2015.
  • “Obshchestvennye organizatsii kak faktor politicheskogo i etnokul’turnogo razvitiia sovremennogo Tadzhikistana,” presented at the seminar Kavkaz i Srednaia Aziia – istoriia, kul’tura i narody, Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Moscow, March 2015.
  • “Out from Behind the Statues: Daily Life in Modern Turkmenistan,” presented as part of the CEUS Colloquia Series, Indiana University, Bloomington, February 2012.
  • “Becoming Soviet in the Desert: the Unseen Effect of “Special Settlers,” presented at Towards a Social History of Turkmenistan, 1860-1960: Research Trends in Ethnography and History, Amsterdam, October 2011.

Awards and scholarships

  • Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. 2017-2018.
  • British Library Endangered Archives Programme Major Research Grant – “(Re)collecting the heritage of the Silk Road: Tajikistan’s pre-Russian past in documents,” Tajikistan, 2016-2017 (co-applicant with Dr. Abughani Mamadazimov).
  • Economic History Society Research Fund for PhD Students.  Moscow, Russia, 2016.
  • US Department of State Title VIII Research Grant, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 2016.
  • Institute for Humane Studies PhD Scholarship, Washington, USA, 2015-2016.
  • LSE PhD Studentship, London, United Kingdom, 2014-2018.
  • US Student Fulbright Research Fellowship, Almaty, Kazakhstan, 2010-2011.
  • Overseas Russian Flagship Language Fellowship, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2009-2010.