Marissa J. Smith is a social and cultural anthropologist with degrees in anthropology and Russian from Princeton University and Beloit College. Her research focuses on scientific expertise and corporate form, particularly at the intersections of postsocialist and Western communities of practice in rural spaces.
Marissa is currently a Research Associate at the Central Asian Working Group of the Institute for East Asian Studies, UC-Berkeley, and sits on the Board of Directors of the American Center for Mongolian Studies.
Her PhD dissertation focused on engineering as locally-oriented cosmopolitan inter- and intranational practices at the Erdenet Mining Corporation, established by the Mongolian People’s Republic and Soviet Union in the 1970s and since also involving a number of joint enterprises and other collaborations with Western mining companies. This research is based on over eighteen months of participant observation, i.e. residence among and working alongside, employees of the Erdenet Mining Corporation between 2006 and 2016, as well as analysis of primary and secondary textual sources in Mongolian and Russian. Marissa has guest blogged at Mongolia Focus on Erdenet’s position at the national and international scales since 2011.
Since 2016, Marissa has also been researching international collaborative work among field researchers, particularly between Mongolian, American, and Australian archaeologists.