There are many people to thank for their mentorship, camaraderie, and love as
I have traveled the long and winding roads of academia. In the late 1990s when
I was generating a dissertation topic I consciously chose not to research sex
trafficking— what I perceived to be a fetishized topic in post- Soviet studies. In-
stead, I wrote a fairly anachronistic dissertation on the history of sex crimes in
Rus sian law. The pro ject connected me to scholars and activists in Rus sia and
grounded me in the study of law as cultural artifact. The pro ject also saved me
from the epistemological “disciplining” of po litical science. At the University of
Texas, I am grateful to Robert Moser, Gretchen Ritter, and Benjamin Gregg for
their encouragement and willingness to let me chart my own course. I thank
Gretchen for the wise advice to ground my youthful curiosity in the law. Rob
Moser was a generous advisor who gave me creative freedom while at the same
time keeping me rigorous. I am grateful to Benjamin Gregg and his po litical
theory seminars for keeping me sane at the University of Texas, Austin. I owe
a special intellectual debt to Katie Arens for encouraging my exploration of
postsocialism and cultural studies.
In time, the research on sex trafficking became an ethical and intellectual
imperative for me. How I returned to human trafficking traces an intellectual
ac know ledg ments
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