Virtual WiP: “Under Ivane Javakhishvili’s Long Shadow: On Georgian Historiography Since 1991”

CRRC, ARISC and American Councils are proud to present the 3rd talk of the 2021 Spring Series of the Tbilisi Works-in-Progress series!

Oliver Reisner, Ilia State University
Thirty years after the demise of the Soviet Union, independent Georgia’s historiography is still experiencing an identity crisis. Starting from Ivane Javakhishvili’s works from the beginning of the 20th century, ‘scientific” historiography became a necessary tool for achieving international acknowledgement among the European nations in the post-1918 order of nation states. Under Stalin, historiography was turned into a tool for legitimizing the privileged status of titular groups with primordial claims to certain territories. With Georgia’s independence in 1991, the role and functions of historiography required redefinition for the period of transition and up to the present day. In this presentation, Prof. Reisner will identify the major trends in the writing of the history of Georgia that he would summarize as 1). Renovation, 2). Reconstruction, and 3). Nationalisation. Rather than discussing individual works, Dr. Reisner will focus on the environment of the writing of history and the production of historical knowledge necessary for Georgia to orient itself in a globalizing world.

Oliver Reisner is Professor in European and Caucasian Studies, Jean Monnet Chair (09/2016 – 08/ 2019) at Ilia State University in Tbilisi (Georgia). He received his Dr. phil. degree in East European History at Georg-August-University Gottingen in 2000 with a thesis on the formation of the Georgian national movement. He then coordinated the first post-graduate MA programme “Central Asia / Caucasus” at Humboldt University Berlin (2000-2003), managed an EU-funded civic integration project “Intercommunal Centre for Youth” (EIDHR) with World Vision International (2003-2005), and worked as operations manager at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia (2005-2015) with responsibility for culture, education, youth, minorities and of monitoring and evaluation of the EU-Georgia cooperation. Recently he has published articles on Europeanisation, religion, the the specifics of civil society in Georgia. He authored the Georgia country reports for the Bertelsmann Transformation Index 2016, 2018 and 2020. He is a board member of the “Association of European Studies for the Caucasus” (AESC) and member of the advisory council of the “European Journal of Minority Issues” (EJM). He has thus far published a monograph and 28 papers in German, Georgian and English journals and edited volumes. Currently he is leading the research project “In Search of Social Cohesion in Minor Urban Settings of Georgia” (Rustaveli National Science Foundation), which has a strong focus in youth and intergenerational dialogue. Finally, he is co-editor of the “Caucasian Studies” series at Reichert Verlag Wiesbaden.
Although this presentation will take place in virtual format, in observation of the spirit of the Chatham House Rule to which the series generally adheres, the talk will not be recorded and we courteously request that the other participants refrain from recording and/or distributing it as well. The opinions expressed in WiP talks are those of the speakers alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC, ARISC or of American Councils.
WiP is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that normally takes place at the new office of CRRC at Liziko Kavtaradze St. 1. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public.