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Régine A. Spector

Associate Professor, Political Science & REPS Program Director

Regine Spector

(413) 545-6175

UMass Political Science

416 Thompson Hall

I study how everyday people and political elites understand and respond to challenging sociopolitical contexts characterized by weak rule-of-law institutions. I engage with literature in comparative politics, political economy, post-Soviet studies and when relevant history, geography, and anthropology, to better understand the creative, contentious, and politically fraught processes that undergird the creation of new market economies.  My first book, Order at the Bazaar: Power and Trade in Central Asia, is forthcoming from Cornell University Press in 2017. The book examines the bottom-up creation and institutionalization of local marketplace orders in Kyrgyzstan.  Among other topics, I have also published articles on the politically contested future of bazaars in Almaty, Kazakhstan and the recomposition of apparel manufacturing in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in Post-Soviet Affairs, Problems of Post-Communism, and Central Asian Survey. Over the years, I have received numerous grants, including a Title-VIII funded dissertation field research grant and a research grant from UMass Amherst’s School of Behavioral Sciences. I teach a 200-level and 300-level undergraduate courses in comparative political economy and Central Asian politics. At the graduate level, I teach political economy courses, including the political economy of development. As of 2016, I have been co-organizing the Eurasia panels at the annual Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) held annually at Columbia University, and regularly attend other annual conferences such as APSA (American Political Science Association), ISA (International Studies Association), ASEEES (Association for the Study of East European and Eurasian Studies), and CESS (Central Eurasian Studies Society). 



Spector, Regine A. 2017. Order at the Bazaar: Power and Trade in Central Asia. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.


Spector, Regine A., and Aisalkyn Botoeva. 2017. “New Shop Owners in Old Buildings: Spatial Politics of the Apparel Industry in Kyrgyzstan.” Post-Soviet Affairs 33 (3):235–53.

Botoeva, Aisalkyn, and Regine A. Spector. 2013. “Sewing to Satisfaction: Craft-Based Entrepreneurs in Contemporary Kyrgyzstan.” Central Asian Survey 32 (4):487–500.

Spector, Regine A. 2008. “Securing Property in Contemporary Kyrgyzstan.” Post-Soviet Affairs 24 (2):149–76.

Spector, Regine A. 2008. “Bazaar Politics: The Fate of Marketplaces in Kazakhstan.” Problems of Post-Communism 55 (6):42–53.

Awards and Accolades

Selected Research Grants

UMass Amherst SBS Research Grant
Mellon-Funded Five College Faculty-Student Summer Seminar
William Davidson Institute Grant for Overseas Dissertation Research

Selected Symposia and Fellowships

IREX Policy Symposium on Central Asia, Washington, DC
Institute for Public Policy, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Institute for Qualitative Research Methods, Tempe, Arizona
IPP International Parliamentary Scholarship/Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany

Courses Recently Taught


Introduction to Comparative Political Economy

Energy Politics (IE)

Central Asian Politics (IE)
This course investigates core social science concepts and theories, for example governance and authoritarianism, political violence, identity politics, and economic development, through an investigation of contemporary Central Asia. The course offers a multidisciplinary approach to the study of the region, including contemporary texts by historians, political scientists, anthropologists, and geographers, as well as short films and documentaries by local and international filmmakers. No prior knowledge of Central Asia is required, although introductory courses in comparative politics are recommended. Satisfies the Integrative Experience requirement for BA-PolSci majors.


Political Economy; Political Economy of Development