Aleksandar Kostić, GS, ANT


Aleksandar Kostić is a graduate student at Anthropology Department. He holds a Bachelor degree in Sociology from University of Belgrade (2012), and Master's degrees in Anthropology from University of Sussex (2014) and Princeton University (2019).

Aleksandar studies environmental activism and the state in Kyrgyzstan. He conducted two years of ethnographic fieldwork in Kyrgyzstan 2019-2021, working with a number of local environmentalist organizations. In his dissertation, Aleksandar explores the reasons for his interlocutors to engage in their environmentalist work (primarily exploring their understandings of the state and of Kyrgyz tradition); relationship between humans and snow leopards as constructed around the mutual avoidance of direct interactions; and the transformation of the relationship between the government, local non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and non-humans which occurs in the contexts of global snow leopard conservation efforts in the era of climate change, and postosocialist transformation of the state in Kyrgyzstan. Prior to coming to Princeton, Aleksandar's experience included working as an educator (primarily in the field of anthropology) at Petnica Science Center, an alternative educational institution in Serbia; working as a research assistant at Center for Education Policy, a think tank in Belgrade, Serbia; and conducting MA dissertation research of Serbian labor migrants in Switzerland and their transnational social relations.

As GradFUTURES Social Impact Fellow, Aleksandar will work at New America, within their Planetary Politics program.

Professional development and connection to real-world problems are easy to lose from sight during a PhD program, where too often the entirety of the focus is on preparation solely for academic jobs, and on the pursuit of academic milestones. I strongly believe that, whether one is hoping for an academic career, or for transferring their academic skills into a non-academic job, a connection to the non-academic world is important to maintain and strengthen if our work is to have any social impact. The opportunities to develop in that direction while in Graduate School are therefore very important to pursue, all the more so because they are relatively rare.

The GradFUTURES team has always been very helpful, and most importantly very open for tailoring the professional development opportunities to my needs, be it through setting up a new Social Impact Fellowship, or through the work within a Learning Cohort.