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TU Berlin

Inhalt des Dokuments

Dr. Botakoz Kassymbekova


Center for Metropolitan Studies
TU Berlin
Hardenbergstraße 16-18
HBS-6, Room 128
10623 Berlin

Research Areas

Urban history in connection to global history (Russia, Central Asia)
Imperial governance (Russian Empire, Soviet Union, Global History)
Oral history
Entrepreneurship under socialism
Labor history

Current Projects

My current project analyses how the government, industrial leaders, and local residents planned, narrated, and resisted industrial metropolitanism in late imperial Moscow and St. Petersburg. Urban luxury infrastructures such as grand hotels and luxury restaurants that were constructed as global and local stages to present and “host” the world in the city, I argue, were also at the core of the re-arrangement of local traditional estate structures and redefinitions of economic and political power.

Meanwhile, I am also developing a future research project on private business in late socialist and post-Soviet states. I ask why some private businesses have endured the collapse of the Soviet Union while others have not.

Professional Experience

2017 - Present
Research Associate
Centre For Metropolitan Studies, Technical University Berlin

2016 – 2017
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Institute of History, Humboldt Univeristy Berlin

2015 - 2016
Academic Coordinator (Wissenschaftliche Referentin)
Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin

2012 - 2014
Postdoctoral Fellow
Centre for Metropolitan Studies, Technical University Berlin

Fall Semester 2013
Visiting Scholar
The Harriman Institute, Columbia University, New York

Spring 2008
Academic Expert
OSCE Academy Oral History of the Civil War Project, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

2005 – 2006
Aga Khan Foundation Humanities Fellow
University of Central Asia (UCA), Dushanbe, Tajikistan


2008 – 2012
Doctorate in Modern History
Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Thesis Title: Despite Cultures: Early Soviet Rule in Tajikistan

2004 - 2005
Research Fellow, Berlin Abgeordnetenhaus
Freie Universität Berlin

2003 - 2004 M.A. with Distinction in Social and Cultural History
University of Essex
Thesis Title: Living, Mining and Changing in Ak-Tiuz. Soviet industrialization in Kyrgyzstan, 1960s and 1970s

1999 – 2003 B.A. with Honors in International and Comparative Politics and Sociology American University – Central Asia (AU-CA)
Thesis Title: Oral history of Soviet Uprisings of 1967 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and Chimkent, Kazakhstan

1998 High School Year Abroad at Albion High School, New York, USA

1997 Dulatov Gymnasium Diploma, Shymkent, Kazakhstan

List of Publications

Books and Edited Volumes

Despite Cultures: Early Soviet Rule in Tajikistan, The University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016

Guest Editor, Stalinism and Central Asia: Actors, Projects and Governance, Central Asian Survey, Vol. 36 (4) 2016.

(ed. with Sherali Roziev) Mukkadima ba nazariiai avrupoii bun’iodi davlati millii [Nation-State Building: European Perspectives] Irfon: Dushanbe, 2011.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

“Shariat and the early Soviet state in Central Asia,” In David Montomery (ed.), Central Asia in Context: A Thematic Introduction to the Region, Pittsburgh University Press. Forthcoming 2018

“New Temples: Restaurants as Places of Modern Urbanity in Russia’s Fin-de-Siècle.” In Urban Microcosms 1789-1940, edited by Margit Dirscherl und Astrid Köhler. Forthcoming 2018

“Understanding Stalinism in, from and of Central Asia: Beyond Failure, Peripherality, and Otherness.” Central Asian Survey 36, no. 4 (2016).

“Humans as Territory. Forced Resettlement and the Making of Soviet Tajikistan, 1920-1938.” Central Asian Survey 30, no. 3-4 (2011).

“Helpless Imperialists. European State Workers in Soviet Central Asia in the 1920s and 1930s.” Central Asian Survey 30, no. 1 (2011).

“Capital Punishment in Kyrgyzstan. Between the Past, ‘Other’ State Killings and Social Demands.” In The Cultural Lives of Capital Punishment. Comparative Perspectives, edited by A. Sarat, & C. Boulanger,. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005.

Book Chapters and Articles

“How the Russian Elite discussed southern resort leisure at the fin-de-siècle: Nice or Crimea?” Forthcoming 2018

“Leisure and Politics: Soviet Central Asian Tourists Across the Iron Curtain.” In Socialist and Post-Socialist Mobilities, edited by K. Burell, London: Paper McMillan, 2014.

with Christian Teichmann. “The Red Man’s Burden. Soviet European Officials in Central Asia in the 1920s and 1930s.” In Helpless Imperialists. Imperial Failure, Fear and Radicalization, edited by M. Reinkowski, & G. Thum, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012.

“Hapless Imperialists. European State Workers in Soviet Central Asia in the 1920s and 1930s.” In The Transformation of Tajikistan, edited by J. Heathershaw, London: Routledge, 2012.

“Memories of the Riots in Chimkent (Kazakh SSR) and Frunze (Kirghiz SSR) in 1967.” Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung XIII, no. 20 (2007).

“Vom Geist der Gesetze in Zentralasien.” WeltTrends 31 (Summer 2001).

Book Reviews

Zeev Levin. Collectivization and Social Engineering: Soviet Administration and the Jews of Uzbekistan, 1917-1939. Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2015, in: Slavic Review (forthcoming)

Franziska Davies, Martin Schulze Wessel, Michael Brenner. Jews and Muslims in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015, in: Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, 2017.

Hrsg. Raoul Motika, Michael Kemper und Anke von Kügelgen, Repression, Anpassung, Neuorientierung. Studien zum Islam in der Sowjetunion und dem postsowjetischen Raum, Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2013, in: Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, 2016.

Irina Takala, Veselie Rusi. Istoriia alkogol’noi problemy v Rusi. Zhurnal “Neva”, 2002, in: Ab Imperio, Autumn 2014.

Molly Berger, Hotel Dreams: Luxury, Technology, and Urban Ambition in America, 1829–1929, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011, in: Journal of Transport History 34 no. 2, December 2013.

Mark G. Meerovič, Nakazanie žiliščem. Žiliščnaja politika v SSSR kak sredstvo upravlenija ljud’mi (1917–1937 gody), Moskva: Rossijskaja političeskaja enciklopedija, 2008, in: Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, 2012.

Michael Kemper, Raoul Motika, and Stefan Reichmuth, Islamic Education in the Soviet Union and its Successor States. London, New York: Routledge, 2009. in: Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, 2011.

Review Work

Peer Reviewer for journals: The Essex Human Rights Review, Europe-Asia Studies, Nationalities Papers, Central Asian Review, Central Asian Affairs

Teaching Experience

2010-2017 Courses taught at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

  • Practice BA and MA Seminar (Übung): The Present of the Past. Remembering Stalinism in post-Soviet states (with Dr. Robert Kindler and with an excursion to Kiev, Ukraine)
  • Practice BA and MA Seminar (Übung): The Epoch of the Great. Russian Enlightenment in the 18 Century
  • BA Seminar: Soviet Childhood. Methods in Oral History
  • Practice BA and MA Seminar (Übung): From Reform to Revolution. Russia's Fin-de-Siècle (with Dr. Kerstin Bischl)
  • Practice BA and MA Seminar (Übung): Exploring Soviet Spaces: 1917-1989
  • Practice BA and MA Seminar (Übung): Das Sozialistische Experiment: Einführung in die Sowjetische Geschichte (Socialist Experiment: Introduction to Soviet History, taught in German)
  • BA Seminar: Moderne und Zwang: Russische Geschichte von Peter I. bis zur Oktoberrevolution (Modernity and Coercion. Russian History from Peter I until the October Revolution, taught in German)
  • BA Seminar: Russia in Central Asia from the 18th to 21st century

2006-2007, The University of Central Asia

  • Undergraduate Seminar: Introduction to Humanities
  • Undergraduate Seminar: Theories of Nationalism
  • Undergraduate Seminar: Qualitative Methods of Social Research
  • Undergraduate Seminar: Oral History. Theory and Methods

Conference Organisation

Organized an international workshop, “Stalinism and Central Asia: Rethinking Early Soviet State Formation from the Periphery”, Institute of History, Humboldt University Berlin, March 2016

Primary co-organizer of the international workshop, “Metropolitan Capitalism. Family, Ethnicity and Entrepreneurship in the 20th Century”, Fordham University, New York, October 2014 in cooperation with the University of Toronto, Fordham University, Humboldt University Berlin and Technical University Berlin

Organized an international conference, “Grand Hotels at the fin de siècle: Global Perspectives, Local Experiences”, Centre for Metropolitan Studies, Technische Universität Berlin, August 2013

Co-organizer of the International Graduate Program Annual Conference, “Nature, City, Empire”, York University and University of Toronto, Toronto, May 2013

Co-organizer of the International Graduate Program Annual Conference, “Urban Activism” Centre for Metropolitan Studies, Technische Universtät Berlin, October 2012

Organized and coordinated a collaborative research and teaching project, “History and Theory of Nationalism”, Aga Khan Humanities Project at the University of Central Asia, National Academy of Sciences and Tajik State University in cooperation with the Department of East European History at the Humboldt University Berlin, 2011

Organized Qualitative Research Methods Workshop in cooperation with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), at the Aga Khan Humanities Project, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, March 2007

Conference Papers

„Muslim Waiters in 19th Century St. Petersburg: Food, Nation and Empire in in Luxury Restaurants“ New York University in Abu Dhabi, April 2018

“Poetics of Collapse. Literary Images of the First Years of Independence in Tajikistan”, Bilbao, November 2017

“Nice or Crimea? How the Russian Elites discussed what True Leisure was at the fin-de-siècle”, Elites and Leisure. Arenas of Encounter in Europe (1815-1914) Conference, Leuven, 29-30 May 2017.

“A City of Happiness, A Land of Tears? Post-Soviet Literature in and about Tajikistan,” with Dr. Thomas Loy, Department of Slavic Literature, Humboldt University Berlin, December 2016.

“Before the Oligarchs – Cooperatives in late Soviet Union”, Institute of History, Bamberg University, December 2016.

“Utopia and Violence. The Case of Soviet Central Asia”, OSTEUROPA, Berlin, December 2016.

“Soulless Bureaucrats!! Soviet Officials and the Offensive Against Bureaucracy in Pre-War Stalinism”, BASEES, Cambridge University, April 2016.

“‘Gay Life’ and Luxury Politics in fin-de-siècle Russia”, Department of East European History, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, January 2013.

“Between Violence and Collaboration: Early Soviet Rule and the Making of Tajikistan, the Harriman Institute, Columbia University, 2013.

“Grand Hotels in Imperial Moscow at the fin de siècle: Capital, Trust, and Challenges of Modernity” (with comparison to U.S. luxury hotels), University of Delaware History Workshop, 2013.   

Zusatzinformationen / Extras


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