Laboratory of Socialist Development: Cold War Politics and Decolonization in Soviet Tajikistan

29 mei 2018
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May 29th, 5pm, Artemy Kalinovsky, Andrew Gawthorpe and Liesbeth van de Grift will discuss Kalinosky's new book Laboratory of Socialist Development, which investigates the Soviet effort to make promises of decolonization a reality by looking at the politics and practices of economic development in central Asia between World War II and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Connecting high politics and intellectual debates with the life histories and experiences of peasants, workers, scholars, and engi­neers, Laboratory of Socialist Development tries to show how men and women in the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic negotiated Soviet economic and cultural projects in the de­cades following Stalin’s death.

How did people experience new cities, the transformation of rural life, and the building of the world’s tallest dam? And how does this fit into the broader context of the Cold War? How should we think about the post-war Soviet Union, the relationship between Moscow and its internal periphery, and the interaction between Cold War pol­itics and domestic development?

A panel of experts aims to shed light on such development in a global context. They have all worked previously on issues related to the Cold War, decolonization, and development. 

About the speakers

Artemy Kalinovsky is Assistant Professor of East European Studies, University of Amsterdam. He is the author of A Long Good­bye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan, and co-editor of five books, among them The End of the Cold War and the Third World.

Andrew Gawthorpe is university lecturer of History and International Studies at the University of Leiden. Gawthorpe has been working on a.o. the Vietnam War, nation-building and the relationship between culture and warfare.

Liesbeth van de Grift is Assistant Professor of International History at the Department of History and Art History at Utrecht University. She specializes in the international history of rural and environmental governance in the twentieth century.

You can sign up for this program for free. If you sign up for the program Spui25 is expecting you, so if you are unable to attend, please let them know by sending an email to or ring them: +31 (0)20 525 8142.

MINDBOOKSATH : athenaeum