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Sunnie Rucker-Chang

Dr. Sunnie Rucker-Chang

Sunnie Rucker-Chang

Associate Professor


422 Hagerty Hall (Office) & 400 Hagerty Hall (Mailing)
1775 College Rd.
Columbus, OH 43210

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Office Hours

By appointment

Areas of Expertise

  • Black European Studies
  • European Studies
  • Postsocialist Studies
  • Race and Nationalism
  • South Slavic Culture, Literature, and Film
  • Student Migration in Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav societies
  • Romani Studies


  • Ph.D. The Ohio State University, 2010, Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • M.A., The Ohio State University, 2001, Slavic Studies
  • B.A., Wittenberg University, 2000 Russian Area Studies with East Asian Studies Minor

Sunnie Rucker-Chang works, writes, and researches on the social construction of race and culture as it relates to privileged and marginalized communities in Central and Southeast Europe. In her research, Rucker-Chang focuses on how literature and film contribute to culture and nationalist identities, especially in the creation and maintenance of racialized communities in Southeast Europe. Her other research interests include émigré and exile literature and the application of post-colonial thought to post-socialist contexts. Her research has been funded by the American Association of University Women, Taft Research Center, and University Research Council.

She is Co-director and Co-PI of the Howard University Undergraduate Think Tank. This program addresses the issue of systemic racism and discrimination by supporting and promoting the advancement of students and scholars from underrepresented and underserved populations in the field of REEES.]Howard University Undergraduate Think Tank, a program that "addresses the issue of systemic racism and discrimination by supporting and promoting the advancement of students and scholars from underrepresented and underserved populations in the field of REEES." She is also Co-director of the University of Cincinnati STARTALK Russian language programs.

Cultures of Mobility and Alterity

Cultures of Mobility and Alterity: Crossing the Balkans and Beyond by Yana Hashamova, Oana Popescu-Sandu, and Sunnie Rucker-Chang (Liverpool University Press, 2022)

Advancing public dialogue surrounding the issues of migrants and refugees, the volume explores the dynamic representations of the recent movement of people from and through the Balkans. It investigates how people within the Balkans view their others, how the West regards the Balkans, and how emigrants from the Balkans reflect upon their experiences as members of cosmopolitan diasporic communities. Highlighting latent tensions between center and periphery and furthering the discussion of racialization related to the Balkans, the collection exposes contradictions in social values, which give rise to national anxieties. Approaching mobility from multiple disciplines, the volume examines several instances of border flows in media, literature, and culture in general, flows of ideas and people.
To analyze mobility to, from, and in the Balkans requires one to address the issue of difference, otherness, and race as it relates to South East Europe and as it is understood and reproduced in both transnational and local forms. The racialized category of “migrant” necessitates an understanding of how transnational concepts of race translate into constructs of whiteness and blackness and inform subject positions of the individual and motivate discourses of racialization within communities.

Roma Rights and Civil Rights

Roma Rights and Civil Rights: A Transatlantic Comparison by Felix B. Chang and Sunnie T. Rucker-Chang (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

Roma Rights and Civil Rights tackles the movements for - and expressions of - equality for Roma in Central and Southeast Europe and African Americans from two complementary perspectives: law and cultural studies. Interdisciplinary in approach, the book engages with comparative law, European studies, cultural studies, and critical race theory. Its central contribution is to compare the experiences of Roma and African Americans regarding racialization, marginalization, and mobilization for equality. Deploying a novel approach, the book challenges conventional notions of civil rights and paradigms in Romani studies.


Chinese Migrants in Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe

Chinese Migrants in Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.  Felix B. Chang (Editor), Sunnie T. Rucker-Chang (Editor) (Routledge, 2012)

Much of the former Soviet bloc has become a destination for new Chinese migrants. Throughout Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Chinese migrants are engaged in entrepreneurial activities, primarily as petty merchants of consumer goods in unsteady economies. This book situates these migrants within the broader context of Chinese globalization and China’s economic "rise." It traces the origins of Chinese migration into the region, as well as the conditions that have allowed migrants to thrive. Furthermore, it discusses the perception that Chinese globalization is purely economic and explores the relationship among petty merchants, labourers and institutional investors. Finally, by examining the movement of China’s minorities into Central Asia, this book challenges the ethnic construct of new "Chinese" migration.