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Conf/CfP - Industrious Nations: Reconsidering Nationality and Economy in the Soviet Union, 2022, Columbia University, US

Publish Date: Apr 22, 2022

Deadline: May 22, 2022

Event Dates: from Oct 28, 2022 12:00 to Oct 29, 2022 12:00

Co-sponsored by Princeton University’s Department of History and Columbia University’s Harriman Institute
Russia’s attack on Ukraine illustrates the continued importance of understanding the historical formation of national narratives in post-Soviet spaces. Marking the centennial of the Soviet Union’s founding in 1922, this two-day workshop will explore the relationship between national identity and the economy in the Soviet Union. Although the pursuit of economic equality among all national groups was an explicit goal of Soviet economic policy, the interplay of nationality and economic issues has received little scholarly attention. Historians writing on nationality in the Soviet Union have long focused on the politics of language and culture. At the same time, scholars researching the Soviet economy have often tacitly assumed a uniform, technocratic, de-nationalized society, revealing an imagined binary of Soviet vs. national. In a similar vein, studies of the Soviet working class have long centered on ethnic Russians, paying little attention to other national groups.
This workshop attempts to bridge this analytical gap by bringing together a group of scholars whose work engages with both fields. We welcome contributions that are based on original research and address issues such as the following questions:

  • How were local particularities translated into economic agendas and planning in the Soviet Union?
  • How did the federal structure of the Soviet Union shape the functioning and performance of the command economy?
  • What role did national considerations play in economic arguments?
  • How did industrialization, urbanization, and economic transformation more broadly Sovietize – or fail to Sovietize – non-Russian populations? 
  • In what ways did local economic production inform national narratives and identities?
  • How did relations of production contribute to the emergence of national interest groups?
  • How did labor migration change the composition of local communities and the perception of nationality?

Abstracts of up to 300 words should be submitted along with a CV to by May 22, 2022. Invitations to participate in the workshop will be sent out by mid-June. Participants are requested to submit papers of approximately 6,000 words (excl. footnotes) by October 7. These submissions will be circulated among confirmed attendees and will form the basis of discussion. Professor Artemy Kalinovsky will address the workshop in a keynote lecture. In addition, a roundtable discussion will respond to the panels and conclude the workshop.
The organizers hope to provide funding for travel to and from Princeton, accommodation for the duration of the workshop (three nights), and meals, but participants are encouraged to seek financial support from their home institutions towards the cost of their attendance. For more information, please contact Sohee Ryuk (, Samuel Coggeshall (, or Jonathan Raspe (

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United States

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