WiP: “From the Black Sea Coast to the World. Maritime Approaches to Soviet Georgian History”

CRRC, ARISC and American Councils are pleased to announce the 8th talk of the Spring 2024 Tbilisi Works-in-Progress series!

“From the Black Sea Coast to the World. Maritime Approaches to Soviet Georgian History”

Helena Holzberger, LMU Munich and the Max Weber Foundation Branch Office Georgia

In 1967, the Soviet People’s Ministry of Merchant Marine decided to decentralize the merchant fleet and give every coastal republic its own ministry and maritime infrastructure. This was the birth of a Soviet success story, as within less than 10 years, the merchant fleet became the third strongest after the American and British ones. During this process also the Georgian SSSR (re-)established a national fleet and revived their former maritime tradition.
Already in the 1970s, ships from Georgia sailed global routes, spending several days in foreign ports not only of socialist or allied countries but also of capitalist countries. Ports, but also ships, became contact zones, and the sailors became a distinguished social group of Soviet society.

Starting from the Ministry’s decentralization, this project introduces a new research project on the Soviet Union during the Cold War, looking from the sea, and discusses ways to conceptualize writing a Maritime, Soviet, and Georgian history.

Dr. Helena Holzberger is Assistant Professor (Akademische Rätin a.Z.) at the Chair of Russia and Asia Studies at LMU Munich. She is spending the current academic year as a fellow at the Max Weber Foundation Branch Office in Georgia. Her research primarily centers on modern imperial Russia and the Soviet Union from trans-imperial and global perspectives, with particular emphasis on maritime history and visual history.

Works-in-Progress is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the CRRC office at Chavchavadze Ave. 5 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.