Sarah Phillips

Sarah Phillips

Professor, Anthropology


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998
  • B.A., Anthropology and Russian, Wake Forest University , 1993

About Sarah Phillips

I have been conducting anthropological research in Ukraine since 1995. My broad research interests have been to track the variable effects of socialist collapse on people’s lives, especially in terms of gender formations, health, social inequalities and social justice, and changing citizen-state relations. Areas of major inquiry have included the effects of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster on health and healing strategies, the symbolic fallout of Chernobyl, the role of women in Ukraine’s civil society, the Ukrainian disability rights movement, and service provision for people who use drugs and people living with HIV in Ukraine, especially women.

I am currently exploring two major research areas:

1. Disability and inclusion in the Russian Federation. This project is under the auspices of IU’s Russian Studies Workshop (RSW) ( . You can learn more about the RSW’s Disability Studies Working Group here: (link forthcoming soon)

2. The resonance of Kurt Vonnegut’s writing in the Soviet Union in the 1970s and early 1980s. I am working on a book tentatively titled Kurt Vonnegut in the USSR.

I describe the Kurt Vonnegut in the USSR project in this interview ( , which links to my October 2020 lecture on YouTube, “American Literary and Cultural Diplomacy during the Cold War: Kurt Vonnegut in the Soviet Union” (

Selected Publications

2021    J. Owczarzak, A. Kazi, A. Mazhnaya, P. Alpatova, T. Zub, O. Filippova, and S.D. Phillips, "You're nobody without a piece of paper:" Visibility, the state, and access to services among women who use drugs in Ukraine. Social Science & Medicine 269:1-9.

2020    Tamara Martsenyuk and Sarah D. Phillips, “Talking About Sexual Violence in Post-Maidan Ukraine: Analysis of the Online Campaign #IAmNotAfriadToSayIt.” Sexuality & Culture, First Online: 02 January 2020. DOI:

2018    Jill Owczarzak, Sarah D. Phillips, and Woo Jeong Cho, “ ‘Pure’ Drug Users, Commercial Sex Workers, and ‘Ordinary Girls’: Gendered Narratives of HIV Risk and Prevention in Post-Soviet Ukraine.” Culture, Health & Sexuality 20(11): 1171-1184. DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2017.1421708

  2017 Sarah D. Phillips and Jill Owczarzak, “HIV prevention, precarity, and fragmented landscapes of service provision in Ukraine.” Medical Anthropology Theory 4(2).

2016     Owczarzak, J., S.D. Phillips, O. Filippova, P. Alpatova, A. Mazhnaya, T. Zub, and R. Aleksanyan. “A ‘Common Factors’ Approach to Developing Culturally Tailored HIV Prevention Interventions.” Health Education & Behavior 43(3): 347-357. DOI: 10.1177/1090198115602665.

2015    Jill Owczarzak, Mikhail Karelin, and Sarah D. Phillips, “A View from the Frontlines in Slavyansk, Ukraine: HIV Prevention, Drug Treatment, and Help for People Who Use Drugs in a Conflict Zone.” International Journal of Drug Policy 26(1).

2014     “The Women’s Squad in Ukraine’s protests: Feminism, nationalism, and militarism on the Maidan” American Ethnologist 41(3): 414-426.

2009     “‘There Are No Invalids in the USSR!’ A Missing Soviet Chapter in the New Disability History.” Disability Studies Quarterly 29(3).