Isaac is a fifth-year doctoral candidate specializing in modern European and global history. His dissertation investigates how East European-Chinese economic cooperation, trade, and migration shaped market transitions in Eastern Europe in the late twentieth century, particularly in Hungary. His research examines how growing Chinese-Hungarian trade relations after 1978, Chinese guestworkers in a Hungarian truck factory from 1987-1990, and a 1988 visa-free travel agreement that led to a large wave of Chinese immigration in the 1990s turned Budapest into an informal entrepôt for Chinese-made consumer goods. Subsequently, his work explores how unregulated Chinese markets and goods became symbols for the Hungarian working class's disillusionment with market capitalism's consumerist ideals in the 1990s and how the backlash across the political spectrum against Chinese immigrants conflated and redefined cultural identities in relation to un/fair market practices.
His dissertation project is supported by a Fulbright-Hays DDRA fellowship to conduct research in Hungary (2022-2023). Isaac has previously worked on the development of Hungarian national identity and indifference through history textbooks written during the early nineteenth century. Isaac received his BA in History from the University of Chicago (2018).