Masha Gessen (they/them) is the 41st Mueller Fellow, sponsored by Paul Mueller, Jr and family, since the Fellowship’s inception in 1981.
MASHA GESSEN is one of the most trenchant observers of modern democracy, a renowned journalist, activist, and bestselling author of the National Book Award-winning “The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.” They have covered political subjects from Russia, autocracy, L.G.B.T. rights, Vladimir Putin, and Donald Trump, among others, and their understanding of the events and forces that have wracked Russia in recent times is unparalleled. A New York Times bestseller, The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin is the chilling account of how a low-level, small-minded KGB operative ascended to the Russian presidency and, in an astonishingly short time, destroyed years of progress and made his country once more a threat to his own people and to the world. In The Future Is History, Gessen follows the lives of four people born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy, against the machinations of the regime that would crush them all. The Washington Post described “The Future Is History as "ambitious, timely, insightful and unsparing," and it was awarded the 2017 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Gessen's latest book is “Surviving Autocracy,” a bracing overview of the calamitous trajectory of American democracy under the Trump administration. “When Gessen speaks about autocracy, you listen” (The New York Times Book Review). A regular contributor to The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s, The New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair, and Slate, among other publications, they are a staff writer at The New Yorker and the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Carnegie Fellowship. Gessen teaches at Bard College and lives in New York City.
Welcome and Opening Remarks by Provost Cameron B. Wesson