Dr. Blair A. Ruble

Vice President for Programs, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Director, Urban Policy Laboratory

Dr. Blair A. Ruble

Vice President for Programs, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Director, Urban Policy Laboratory

Blair A. Ruble is currently Vice President for Programs at the Woodrow Wilson Center, and Director of the Center’s Urban Policy Laboratory.  He also is Senior Advisor to the Center’s Kennan Institute.  Previously, he served as the Director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies (1989-2012) as well as of the Center’s Comparative Urban Studies Program (1992-2014), and was Director of the its Program on Global Sustainability and Resilience (2012-2014).  A native of New York, Dr. Ruble worked previously at the Social Science Research Council in New York City, as well as at the National Council for Soviet and East European Research in Washington.

Dr. Ruble received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from the University of Toronto (1973, 1977), and a B.A. degree with highest honors in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1971). He has edited twenty volumes and is the author of six monographic studies. He has lectured widely and has been a scholar/lecturer-in-residence at the Juridical Faculty of Leningrad State University (1974-1975), the Soviet Academy of Sciences (1979, 1981, 1984, 1986), the Laboratoire de Geographie at the University of Paris-X (Nanterre) (2001, 2002), the Law Faculty of Kyoto University (1996, 2002, 2004), and the Academia di Architettura at the Università della Svizzera italiana (Mendrisio) (2006).

Dr. Ruble’s latest work, Washington’s U Street: A Biography, explores the tentative mixing of classes and races over the past century-and-a-half in the stores, theaters, clubs, and ballparks located along a vibrant commercial and entertainment corridor. His other book-length works include a trilogy examining the fate of Russian provincial cities during the twentieth century. The first, Leningrad: Shaping a Soviet City (1990), traced the decline following World War Two of the former Imperial capital and co-primate city to mere provincial status by the end of the Soviet regime. The second, Money Sings! The Changing Politics of Urban Space in Post-Soviet Yaroslavl (1995), captured the confusion and optimism widely felt at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The third volume, Second Metropolis: Pragmatic Pluralism in Gilded Age Chicago, Silver Age Moscow, and Meiji Osaka (2001), placed Russia's great heartland metropolis of Moscow into a comparative perspective just as it was about to become the Soviet capital. Second Metropolis has been published in Russian (2004) and Ukrainian (2010) translation. Taken together, these studies explore a distinctly Russian urban life away from the raw ambition, stilted ceremony, and pervasive anxiety of the country’s political capital. Dr. Ruble also authored Creating Diversity Capital (2005), examining the changes in such cities as Montreal, Washington, DC, and Kyiv brought about by the recent arrival of large transnational communities. This work has also appeared in Ukrainian translation (2007).

Dr. Ruble’s twenty edited works with several partners include: Urban Diversity (2010); Cities after the Fall of Communism (2009); Composing Urban History and the Constitution of Civic Identities (2003); Urban Governance around the World (2001); Preparing for the Urban Future (1996), and Russian Housing in the Modern Age (1993). Dr. Ruble's articles have appeared in the American publications Urban Anthropology and Journal of Urban History; in France's Annales, Economies, Societies, Civilisations; Japan's Ima Naze Toshika; Britain's Planning Perspectives and Urban Studies; and Russia's Chelovek, Arkhitekton, Moskovskii zhurnal, Zvezda, and the Soviet-era Leningradskaia panorama.

Dr. Ruble has published in the opinion pages of The Asian Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Afro-American, and USA Today. His media appearances include "ABC Evening News," "BBC International News," "CBC Morning News," "CBS Evening News," NBC's “The Today Show," “The Charlie Rose Show,” Russian NTV's news magazine "Itogi," Japanese NHK's morning news on television, as well as "The Larry King Radio Show," and several Voice of America broadcasts.

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