Magdalena Stawkowski

Magdalena Stawkowski, PhD

MacArthur Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow


Stanford University

Encina Hall, C228

Stanford, CA 94305-6165

(650) 727-2908 (voice)

Research Interests

Medical anthropology, political economy, nuclear testing and health, post-Soviet transformations, Central Asia, Kazakhstan


Magdalena Stawkowski is a postdoctoral fellow at CISAC. Her research builds from her interest in Cold War nuclear legacies, nuclear testing and health, medical anthropology, political economy, and post-Soviet states. Magdalena's interests lie in the changing visions of militarized and nuclear spaces and how these produce specific forms of social, political, and economic exclusion among people who live on the Soviet era Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site in Kazakhstan. In particular, her ethnographic research is an account of the local understandings of health, livelihood, and suffering from the perspective of poor marginalized Kazakh people who were most affected by the Soviet military-industrial complex. In her dissertation titled "Radioactive Knowledge: State Control Scientific Information in Post-Soviet Kazakhstan," Magdalena examines how Kazakhstan's visions of socioeconomic development have produced a post-socialist subjectivity among people living in the nuclear zone--one that has fostered rural populations who have come to "embrace" radioactive pollution.
Magdalena currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Karaganda EcoMuseum in Kazakhstan, a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) that addresses radiation pollution in the Central Asian Republic. Before joining CISAC, in 2012 Magdalena  co-organized a "downwinders" student exchange program between Nevada and Kazakhstan supported by a grant from the Museums and Community Collaborations Abroad Program. That same year, she also began the "Human Survival in a New Nuclear Age" Initiative at the Center to Advance Research and Teaching in the Social Sciences (CARTSS) on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. This initiative aims to bring together social science researchers, scientists, and members of the greater Boulder community in order to address a broad range of questions associated with the nuclear age. 
Magdalena received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2014. Her work has been published in the Journal of the History of Biology.