Visiting Scholars

Dr Timothy Blauvelt: Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia – to University of Glasgow: 29 January – 14 February 2015

◾Research Seminar: Wednesday 3 February,16.00
Patronage, Power and Protection in the “Soviet Riviera”
Based on more than a decade of archival research on Soviet Abkhazia, this talk examines the intersection of ethnicity and nationalities policy with clientalism and patronage in this tiny periphery of the periphery. A microcosm of the continuing contest between modernity and tradition in implementing the Soviet project, the case of Abkhazia demonstrates how local elites made use of informal mechanisms to consolidate and maintain power and implement central directives while at the same time achieving their own policy interests, and of how the periphery in turn at certain points came to play a key role in the politics of the center.

◾Postgraduate Seminar/Masterclass: Wednesday 10 February, 09.00
Working with archival sources in the post-Soviet space
This seminar will consider approaches, opportunities and challenges in making use of primary source materials in research in the post-Soviet region, with a particular focus on state and party archives. We will discuss the kinds of primary source materials that are available; the structure of post-Soviet archives and how to get access and find what you are looking for; and the theoretical and methodological challenges in using primary sources as data.
In my first seminar I was able to share with IMRCEES students and department faculty a cross section of themes of clientalism and nationality policy in Soviet Abkhazia from a series of articles that I have published and that I am currently combining together in monograph form. In my second seminar, a “hands-on” master class for IMRCRESS students, I focused on approaches to dealing with the challenges of working with archival sources in the former USSR, based on my own experience.

During my fellowship in Glasgow I had invaluable access to library resources, unavailable in Georgia, for a project that I am currently working on involving school language pedagogy and nationalism during the late Tsarist period in the Caucasus, with comparisons to similar issues in the colonial peripheries of other empires. I had a number of opportunities to usefully interact with the IMRCEES students during my two weeks in Glasgow, and my meetings with university faculty while there have resulted in cooperation on a grant proposal for a ESRC GCRF research network in the criminal justice field as well as involvement in the efforts for my home university, Ilia State University, to become a degree granting member of the IMRCEES consortium.


Date: June 28, 2018 9:41 am