WiP: In Search of the Ordinary Worker in Soviet Georgia

CRRC, ARISC and American Councils are pleased to announce the 7th talk of the Spring 2023 Tbilisi Works-in-Progress series!

This week’s talk will take place entirely in virtual format on Zoom, with registration via this link: https://iliauni-edu-ge.zoom.us/…/tZIodOGorDIuG9JDSL3ZSf…

“In Search of the Ordinary Worker in Soviet Georgia”

Tamar Qeburia, Ilia State University and the University of Göttingen

Date: 26 April 2023, at 18:30 Tbilisi time

Scholars delving into the history of Soviet Georgia have predominantly focused on examining the cultural, national, and political aspects of Soviet rule. However, little attention has been given to studying the social and industrial legacy that the Soviet past has left behind. While it may seem counterintuitive to explore Georgia’s industrial and working-class history, despite Georgia’s relatively small share of industrial production in the overall economy of the Soviet Union, it can nevertheless provide valuable insights into early Sovietization under Stalin, as well as shed light on the industrial planning and daily life of the working class during the post-Stalin period.

The work that Tamr Qeburia will present during the WiP session represents an abridged chapter from her dissertation that examines the emergence of the Georgian industrial working class at the Zestafoni Ferroalloy Factory. This factory was a crucial site for top-down policies aimed at transforming the peasant population into a core working class. By tracing the locally and centrally designed labor recruitment practices and apprenticeship programs implemented at the various ferroalloy factories in the Soviet Union that aimed to reskill amateur Georgian workers into professional laborers, this historical study seeks to shed light on the formation of the core working class in heavy industry during the early Soviet industrialization period in Georgia.

Tamar Qeburia is a PhD candidate in Eastern European History based in Tbilisi. She is pursuing a double degree doctorate under the Carl Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt International program, jointly offered by Ilia State University in Georgia and the University of Göttingen in Germany. Qeburia is also affiliated with the Institute for Social and Cultural Studies. Her ongoing PhD research, tentatively titled “In Search of Ordinary Workers: Work and Everyday Life in Late Soviet Georgia,” explores the social, material, and cultural history of industrialization in the Soviet Republic of Georgia. By examining the development of industry and the emergence of the working class within the broader context of Georgia’s Sovietization, her research contributes to the fields of social, cultural, and national history of the Soviet Union.

Works-in-Progress is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place office of CRRC at Liziko Kavtaradze St. 1 and online. 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.

In observation of the spirit of the Chatham House Rule, the talks will not be recorded, and we courteously request that the other participants refrain from recording and/or distributing recordings 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.