Dr Marina Sapritsky-Nahum

Dr Marina Sapritsky-Nahum

Visiting fellow

Department of Anthropology

English, Russian
Key Expertise
The former Soviet-Union; Ukraine

About me

Marina Sapritsky-Nahum’s work focuses on post-Soviet Jewish identities, migration, urban culture, religion and secularism. Her research brings together Jewish studies, history and anthropology, concentrating geographically on the Russian-speaking Jewish population in the former Soviet Union and their communities abroad.  She is particularly interested in the process of religious revival and community-building in the aftermath of state socialism and the effect of these changes on social relations and city life.  She has also written about concepts of home and diaspora; morality and return migration; cosmopolitanism; religious adherence; philanthropy and heritage travel.  Applying anthropological methods, Marina has also worked as a consultant for international and local Jewish outreach programmes in Ukraine and in the UK.  

Marina’s initial research -carried out from 2005-2007 - was based in the southern port city of Odessa, Ukraine where she focused on the transformation of Jewish practices and the everyday lives of remaining and returning Jewish residents in a historically “cosmopolitan” city affected by processes of nationalism, globalisation, mass migration and international development.   Marina has published several articles and chapters based on this research and she is currently working on a book provisionally entitled Negotiating Traditions:  Jewish Life in Contemporary Odessa.   She continues to maintain close ties to Odessa and is engaged in ongoing research on inter-ethnic and inter-religious social relations; museum anthropology; and grassroot initiatives that support the cultural life of the city.

Marina’s current research project, New Directions in Transnational Jewish Identity:  Russian-speaking Jewry in London is sponsored by the Brandeis-Genesis Institute for Russian Jewry and Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.  This work focuses on the most recent wave of Russian-speaking Jewish migrants in London, their ties with Russian culture and language and engagement with local Jewish life.

Expertise Details

The former Soviet-Union; Ukraine; Jewish identity; religious revival and transformation of traditions; ethnicity; philanthropy; migration and return migration.


Journal Articles and Book Chapters

2018 ‘Between a Home and a Homeland:  Experiences of Jewish Return Migrants in Ukraine’ in Tom Selwyn and Nicola Frost eds., Traveling Towards Home, New York: Berghahn Books, pg. 55-76.

2016 ‘Home in the Diaspora? Jewish Returnees and Transmigrants in Ukraine’ in Zvi Gitelman ed. The New Jewish Diaspora, Rutgers University Press, pg. 60-75.

2015 From Evrei to Eudei:  Turning or Returning to Faith?  State, Religions and Church, Special Issue Judaism after USSR: Old and New, Religious and National. 3(33): 224-255. Moscow (in Russian). 

2013 ‘Returnees or Immigrants: Anthropological Analysis of “Russian” Israelis in Odessa’ Special Issue of Diasporas Journal Israeli Diasporas:  Where, How and Why. Diaspora 2013 (2): 47-66. Moscow (in Russian).

2012 ‘Negotiating Cosmopolitanism: Migration, Religious Education and Shifting Jewish Orientations in post-Soviet Odessa’ in Caroline Humphrey and Vera Skvirskaja eds., Explorations of the Post-Cosmopolitan City, New York: Berghahn Books, pg. 65-93.

2006 ‘Tuda ili Obratno?’ Moria Almanac 6: 12–20 (in Russian).

Book reviews

2011 Book Review ‘Communities of the Converted: Ukrainians and Global Evangelism by Catherine Wanner,’ Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 17 (2) 431-432.