Zoom Talk: Jeff Sahadeo: “Will the River Take Care of Itself? Economy, the Environment and the Everyday in Late Soviet Georgia”

On May 9, 2024, at 7 pm Tbilisi time, the biweekly research colloquium of the Institute for Social and Cultural Research will host Jeff Sahadeo, Associate Professor at Carleton University, with a talk on his current research project: “Will the River Take Care of Itself? Economy, the Environment and the Everyday in Late Soviet Georgia.”


Rivers form Georgia’s economic backbone. Over the life of the Soviet Union, hydroelectricity and gravel taken from riverside quarries joined irrigation and fishing as key contributors to the country’s development.  Rivers still played their foundational roles in supplying drinking water and removing waste. The last Soviet decades imposed important choices on Georgians regarding their richest natural resource.  Against a backdrop of growing environmental awareness and ever clearer consequences of urbanization and industrialization policies, rivers became a central, and multi-level, terrain of contest. From Tbilisi, debates coalesced around rivers’ roles in energy, urbanization and food supplies. From below, Georgians used rivers in their daily lives, from recreation to economic gain, as they considered impacts of natural and anthropogenic change as well as their own relationship with the state. The knowledge, identity and positionality of environmentalists, riverside communities and scientists shaped the republic’s landscape as power diffused through Georgia preceding glasnost.


Jeff Sahadeo is professor at the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at Carleton University. He is the author of Voices from the Soviet Edge: Southern Migrants in Leningrad and Moscow (Cornell UP, 2019) and Russian Colonial Society in Tashkent, 1865-1923 (Indiana UP, 2007). He is also co-editor of Everyday Life in Central Asia (Indiana UP, 2007) and his articles have appeared in the Journal of Modern History, Slavic Review, Kritika and elsewhere. His current research examines the intersection between rivers and society in tsarist and Soviet Georgia.

The event will take place in English via Zoom. Registration is required.

To register please follow this link.

For more information: https://soccult.iliauni.edu.ge/?p=3168&lang=en