Skip to main content


Welcome to my extended portfolio -- a cornucopia of academic research and journalistic writings. It covers my journey from being a reporter in the Eastern Europe, to being a sociological social psychology PhD student in the Midwest.

It is a long and complicated journey, thus the blog consists of several parts:

Under "Media" you'll find my articles about ethnic and religious minorities from the Eastern Europe -- a fascinating medley of ethnicities, tongues, religions, and cultures.

Under "How To" label, I provide solutions to various data analysis problems that I have encountered in my research. You will find tips from web scraping with R and Python, text mining and analysis, to advanced loops for pair-wise comparisons in STATA.

Under "Social Psychology of Isolation" I will blog about my current research -- how the great axes of inequality are imported into small group settings away from the society at-large (this part is coming soon).

Under "Tea…
Recent posts
Education: B.A. in Journalism (University of Klaipeda), M.A. in Nationalism Studies (Central European University), M.A. in Sociology (University of Iowa).

Interests: inter-ethnic attitudes in the Eastern Europe; group processes in isolation; big data analysis.

Languages: Lithuanian, Russian, Georgian.
Skills: STATA, R, Python

Contacts:  FacebookTwitter,  email to inga-popovaite(at)

For non-academics, see my resume below:

Teaching Philosophy

In sociology, we spend a lot of time discussing and dissecting reasons and consequences of social inequality. My mission as an educator does not stop with my students’ mastery of the content of the class. I am pushing for more. I want my students to apply sociological concepts to understand and to solve real world problems. My students ought to become active and well-informed citizens and community leaders.
To achieve that, I strive to broaden students’ horizon and to deepen their critical thinking skills. The road to success starts with an inclusive syllabus that represents authors from different gender, racial and ethnic backgrounds. I will not compose a specific ‘minority’ or ‘gender’ week, but rather have a syllabus that overall reflects more than just the White Middle-Class American narrative.
I encourage students to question everything, but they must use factual and theoretical evidence from a respectable academic source to back up their ideas. I am a proponent of the student-c…

Sunni and Shia Muslims in Georgia: a Societal Margin in Motion? (in the Caucasus Analytical Digest, #81)


This article offers a concise overview of the different Muslim groups in Georgia, and discusses their identity issues and socioeconomic situation as well as the current actions of the state directed towards their integration. The Muslim communities in Georgia, which consist primarily of Azeri, Adjarians and Kist, generally form a marginal group in society since they are not perceived to be full members of the Georgian nation due to their confessional background and, in case of Azeri and Kist, linguistic factors. A large majority of the Muslims in Georgia also live in rural regions where the overall economic and social predicament often negatively differ from that in the majority culture and in urban areas. Hence the question is whether specific socioeconomic conditions and identity issues and alienation contribute to forms of radicalization among Georgia’s Muslim communities or whether there are dynamics of integration in Georgian society.

Radicalization in Georgia: a self-fulfilling prophesy?

Georgia's Pankisi Gorge has been portrayed as a hotbed of Islamic radicalism. Its ethnic Kist residents suffer poverty and discrimination – a distant government and sensationalist media coverage alienate them further.
A narrow valley in the foothills of the Caucasus mountains, Pankisi Gorge is back on the local and international media radar. In fact, Pankisi has been the centre of attention for the past year after it wasdiscovered in June 2014 that Abu Omar Al-Shishani, a leading commander in Islamic State, was born and raised here.

Lithuania needs to listen to its Poles before the Kremlin does (Jun 2015)

Lithuania's Polish and Russian minorities are oddly friendly with each other, which is causing a headache for the Lithuanian government. Here's how to avoid a potential disaster.
Vilnius (Wilno), the capital of Lithuania. Wikimedia. Public domain.Poles are the biggest ethnic minority in Lithuania. There are over 200,000 Poles (6.6% of the population) and 177,000 Russians (5.8%) in the country of 3 million people. Russians are scattered throughout the country, but Poles are concentrated in south-eastern Lithuania and comprise a local majority in the Salcininkai (Soleczniki in Polish) and Vilnius (Wilno) districts, which both comprise the Vilnius region.

On the road. A story of one Iraqi refugee in Georgia (Jun 2015)

According to the estimates from the UNCHR, as of December 2014 there were over 1200 asylum seekers and over 800 refugees in Georgia. 26 year old Mustafa Shalan is one of them. His story, which he told me one spring afternoon in a sunny balcony in the center of Tbilisi, is a tale of a young man seeking a place to settle, as he is no longer welcome at home. Mustafa Shalan is an Iraqi citizen, but his family had to leave the country when he was a child. A couple of years in Jordan followed, and later his family, seven children in total, settled in Syria, Damascus.