EAST Workshops – Fall 2017

Established in 2012, the EAST seminar series brings graduate students and established scholars to present ongoing research to the UvA community. Our schedule for Spring 2017 is below. All events take place at the Bushuis, Kloveniersbugwal 48, Amsterdam, at 16:00. You can find directions here.

For questions about any of the following events please contact Artemy Kalinovsky: a.m.kalinovsky [at] uva.nl


Wednesday, October 18, 2017, @ 16:00, Bushuis E101E

The Temptation of Tsargrad: Russia’s Aims during the Great War

David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, FRSC

Why did Russia risk war with Germany in 1914?  This talk examines the thinking in St Petersburg about how to respond to the Central Powers during the July Crisis, as well as what its war aims were once the guns of August began to fire.  I will pay particular attention to the desire to control the Turkish Straits both before and during the war.


David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye is Professor of Russian history at Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His research interests focus on 18th- and 19th-century Russian cultural, intellectual, diUnknownplomatic and military history. Schimmelpenninck is the author of, among other, Toward the Rising Sun: Russian Ideologies of Empire and the Path to War with Japan (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2001) and Russian Orientalism: Asia in the Russian Mind from Peter the Great to the Emigration (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010). Schimmelpenninck is currently writing a book about tsarist expansion into Central Asia, “Russia’s Great Game: The Struggle for Primacy in Central Asia.” He is also coediting a volume on “The International History of Russia’s Great War” for the Russia’s Great War and Revolution series.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 Bushuis E1.01 E  (NEW DATE!!!)

Russia’s Caucasus in Historical Narratives and History Politics

Dr. Vladimir Bobrovnikov, NIAS, Amsterdam

Since the fall of the USSR,  historical narratives of Russia’s Muslim borderlands have changed considerably in Russia as well as abroad. Moreover, in the new millennium there have been new attempts to misuse regional history in post-Soviet history politics. This presentation addresses these topics in today Caucasus, drawing on  extensive field and archival work of the author in the region, mostly in Dagestan, over the last twenty five years. What forms does history politics take in the region under Putin’s rule? What narratives are dominant in it as it concerns the region’s medieval and modern history? Who pays for the making of history politics in Russia’s Caucasus? What can be said of the Soviet legacy in Muslim history writing? How did academic Orientology and area village studies contribute to the production of post-Soviet historical narratives in the North Caucasus? This presentation will take a post-colonial perspective as it traces these questions through major recent trends in historical scholarship and the politics of the region.

Amsterdam presentation-2017

Vladimir Bobrovnikov is research fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences in Amsterdam. He studies modern history and social anthropology of Muslim villagers in Russia’s Caucasus, mostly in Dagestan, where he conducts extensive archival and field work from 1992 to date. Vladimir has a MA from the Moscow State University (1987) and a PhD from the Moscow Institute for Oriental Studies (1994). He lectured at Stanford University (Moscow branch)Bobrovnikov, Institut d’études politiques (Paris), Higher School of Economics (Moscow), Moscow State University, Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow). Vladimir’s research interests include microhistory of Muslim village communities under colonial and socialist reforms, its hybrid religious and judicial practices, new imperial history, Orientalist scholarship, post-socialist and post-colonial studies. He is the author of Custom, Law and Violence among the North Caucasus Muslims (in Russian, Vostochnaia literatura, 2002), North Caucasus in the Russian Empire (in Russian, NLO, 2007), Custom and Law in Written Sources from Dagestan from the 5th through the Early 20th Centuries (in Russian, Marjani, 2009, in 2 vol.), Tatar Shama’il: Word and Image (in Russian, Marjani, 2009, 2nd ed. 2013, 3rd ed. 2015), Voyage au pays des Avars, (Cartouche, 2011), Posters of the Soviet East, 1918–1940 (in Russian, Marjani, 2013), Syntaslar: Funeral Steles of the Nogay Steppe (in Russian, Marjani, 2016). At the same time, he co-edited The Devotees of Islam: the Cult of Saints and Sufism in Central Asia and the Caucasus, (in Russian, Vostochnaia literatura, 2003), Dagestan and the Muslim East. Studies on History of Islam in Honor of Amri Shikhsaidov, (in Russian, Marjani, 2010), Orientalism vs. Orientology (in Russian, Sadra, 2016), Muslims in the New Imperial History (in Russian, Sadra, 2017). Articles based on his research has appeared in Russian, German, French and English in American Historical Review, Annals of Japan Association for Middle Eastern Studies (AJAMES), Central Asian Survey, Central Asia and the Caucasus, ISIM Newsletter, Middle Eastern Studies, Religion, State and Society, Revue d’études comparatives Est-Ouest, Die Welt des Islams. Vladimir’s current research is focused on the colonial transformation of Shari’a justice in the Caucasus under the tsarist rule and transnational transfers of Islamic legal knowledge between Russia, Ottoman empire and other European empires of the colonial age.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 Bushuis E101E

Creating the Tajik Sea: displacement and resettlement in postwar Central Asia”


Dr. Flora J. Roberts (Tubingen)

On the basis of archival documents, memoirs and oral histories, this is the story of the human and environmental upheaval created by the damming of the Syr Darya river at Kairakkum in the mid 1950s. The construction of a large dam and reservoir in the Tajik portion of the Ferghana Valley – one of the most densely populated areas of Central Asia – triggered successive waves of in- and out- migration. Collective farmers were brought into the region to work on construction, while others were forcibly resettled away from the floodplain; specialists were brought in to work in the industries built to use the locally generated hydropower, most of whom left after the fall of the Soviet Union. Each of these waves left their mark on the region, contributing to the present day nostalgic perceptions of Kairakkum as a place uniquely shaped by the Soviet-era rhetoric of “the friendship of peoples.”


Flora J Roberts is a historian of modern Eurasia and a member of the Junior Research Group on the History of Water in Central Asia at the Karls Eberhard University of Tuebingen. Following a degree in Classics from Oxford, she completed her PhD in Soviet History at the University of Chicago in 2016.  She is completing a book manuscriFJRoberts

pt based on her dissertation titled “Patricians of Leninabad: Lineage and Culture in Soviet CentralAsia”, as well as conducting field and archival research for her second project, an environmental history of water in the Ferghana Valley, focused on the Kairakkum dam on the Syr Darya river. Her most recent publication is “A time for feasting? Autarky in the Tajik SSR at war, 1941-45” Central Asian Survey (Vol. 36 issue 1, 2017).
Wednesday, December 6, 2017 Bushuis E101E

Soviet Economics as a Cold War Science and the Kosygin Reforms the Kosygin Reforms in International Context 

Dr. Jacob Feygin (Harvard)
The 1965 “Kosygin Reforms,” an attempt to decentralize the Soviet economy and increase the priority of “profitability” has been a black box in the post-war Soviet history with some writers claiming it was a lost chance to launch “Perestroika” before the USSR’s economy had fully eroded in the 1970s while others see it as just more proof of the unreformability of the Soviet system. This paper is the first to address the formation and the drafting of tLiberman_timehe reforms using archival sources and evaluate the motivations of the various interest groups that tried to shape its direction. It argues that to understand the politics of the Kosygin Reforms and to evaluate their success, one needs to place its initiatives into the larger story of how Soviet economics and elites adopted a “Cold War” paradigm for judging the success of socialism in terms of prosperity and “catching up and overtaking” the United States in particular. As such, it shows that debates over what the Soviet economic institutions as part-in-parcel of a larger conversation about Soviet socialism’s relationship to the capitalist order of “Pax-Americana.”
 Yakov Feygin is a historian of modern Russia and of Feygininternational history with particular interests in the history of economic thought, growth, financial globalization, and international organizations. He holds a Ph.D. (2017) in History from the University of Pennsylvania. His forthcoming monograph examines how the Cold War changed the Soviet ideological project and triggered debates between institutions and their attendant intellectuals over the future of the planned economy which ultimately undermined the ideological doctrines and fiscal mechanisms that underpinned the Soviet state. He is also working on a research project on the debates over the role of financial globalization and state economic planning in international organizations and economics departments from the 1920s to the 1980s. His research was supported by the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) program, the Institute for New Economic Thinking, the Joint Center for History and Economics, and the Teece and Benjamin Franklin Research Fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to his academic research, he is the managing editor of the Private Debt Project.