- University of Florida (B.A.)
- Stony Brook University - SUNY (M.A.)
- Rutgers University (Ph.D.)
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 Director of International Education and Programs. 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' articles have 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 (2010) and the co-author, with Vlad Strukov, of the Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation (2010). He is currently working on a new manuscript titled Nation Branding and Popular Geopolitics in the Post-Soviet Realm (under contract with Routledge), which 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.
Impact of mass media and popular culture on national identity, religion, geopolitics, and international relations
Comparative Religions/Cultures; The World of Islam; Russia since 1917; Mass Media and Politics; Politics and Popular Culture; Religion and Politics; Europe and Its Peoples