Robert A. Saunders is a Professor in the Department of History, Politics, and Geography at Farmingdale State College - SUNY, where he teaches courses on comparative religions, global politics, and world history. In addition to his role as an instructor, Dr. Saunders also serves as advisor to the minors in Politics and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (MEIS). He holds a Ph.D. in Global Affairs from Rutgers University and degrees in History from Stony Brook University (M.A.) and the University of Florida (B.A.). His geographic areas of focus include Russia and Central Asia, Europe, and the Muslim world. His research explores the impact of popular culture and mass media on geopolitics, nationalism, and religious identity.
Dr Saunders' latest research article, Pissing On the Past: The Highland Clearances, Effigial Resistance and the Everyday Politics of the Urinal, was published in Millennium: Journal of International Studies in April 2019. His articles have also appeared in Progress in Human Geography, Nations and Nationalism, Slavic Review, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Global Media and Communication, Identities, Russia in Global Affairs, and Geopolitics, as well as other journals. He is the curator of the "Popular Culture and IR" blog channel at E-International Relations.
Based on his extensive work on Kazakhstan's feud with the British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, Harper's labeled him the "world's leading Boratologist." His 2008 book on the subject is entitled The Many Faces of Sacha Baron Cohen: Politics, Parody, and the Battle over Borat. He is also the author of Ethnopolitics in Cyberspace: The Internet, Minority Nationalism, and the Web of Identity (Lexington Books, 2010) and the co-author, with Vlad Strukov, of the Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation (Scarecrow Press, 2010). His latest book, entitled Popular Geopolitics and Nation Branding in the Post-Soviet Realm (Routledge, 2016), explores the tension between Western pop-culture representations of the former Soviet republics and their own attempts at "nation branding."
During the fall of 2014, Dr. Saunders held a Visiting Senior Research Fellowship at the University of Leeds hosted by the School of Modern Languages and Cultures' Leeds Russian Centre. In 2015, he was named an Honorary Member of the Leeds Russian Centre. In 2016, Dr. Saunders was awarded the prestigious Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, a system-wide accolade for sustained scholarship presented by the State University of New York.