Seminar with Dr. Dato Gogishvili

Lofty Ideals in Aerial Connectivity: Ideology in the Urban Cable Car Network of Tbilisi, Georgia

Seminar with Dr. Dato Gogishvili (Postdoc at Dept. of Urban Studies, Malmö University)
When: May 4, 13.30-15.00
Where: Zoom online platform (link in Zoom: https://mau-se.zoom.us/j/65183900856)

Abstract
This article (in collaboration with Suzanne Harris-Brandts, Department of Urban Studies + Planning, MIT) examines the ten-line cable car network of Tbilisi, Georgia,constructed between 1953 and 1988, then decommissioned in the 1990s and partially reactivated since 2012. During the Soviet era, Tbilisi’s cable cars played an important role in the city’s mass mobility, particularly in areas of steep geography. They also functioned ideologically, supporting Soviet ambitions toward the collective provision of public transportation and accessto recreational spacefor the working proletariat. This article unpacks such ideology, chartingits evolution over the network’s sixty-year timeline. It describes the ideological shifts that took place following the collapse of the Soviet Union and Georgia’s transition to a capitalist economy. Specifically, it explores how Tbilisi’s cable car network is linked to changes in government urban development priorities and desires to create tourism attractions, while also reinforcing select framings of the surrounding landscape. The newly introduced cable car lines of the 21st centurynow reflect contemporary ideological goals that see cable cars as assets for luring global capital and facilitating the commodification of Tbilisi’s historic cityscape. The article thus argues that the city’s cable car network can be understood as embodying changes in government stances toward labor, leisure, and the direction of future development, while further reflecting the mobility politics of the city. The findings are based on personal interviews and historic document analysis, as well as transit ridership and City Hall data that collectively provide an evaluation of Tbilisi’s cable car network as it has transformed since the 1950s.

BIO
David received his doctoral degree in Urban Studies and Regional Science at Gran Sasso Science Institute in 2017 where he studied the state use of mega-events as a tool for urban development and the imposition of legal exceptions onto host cities. Subsequently, he joined the University of Lausanne as a postdoctoral researcher where he studied the impact of megaprojects in the urban development of Kazakhstan. Currently, he is a postdoc at the Department of Urban Studies at Malmö University where he is carrying out a research project scrutinizing the role of legal exceptions in urban planning for the realization of the real estate megaprojects in Georgia and its surrounding governmental discourses. David’s research interests include interrelation of mega-events and legal exceptions, mega-events and urban image construction, mega-event related urban policy mobilities and the use of mega-events as a tool of urban development in Central Asia and the South Caucasus. David is also a principal researcher in the Shota Rustaveli Georgian National Science Foundation-funded project “Examining the Social Impacts of Large, Private Sector Urban Development in Batumi and Tbilisi”.

New article by Guranda Bursulaia

Guranda Bursulaia, PhD Candidate at Free University in Tbilisi (Georgia) and Swedish Institute visiting researcher 2019 at Caucasus Studies, Malmö University, has a new publication: “The voices of silence: The case of Georgian history textbooks”. The article appeared in the journal Caucasus Survey and was largely written during the research visit to our department.

Link to the article:
https://www.tandfonline.com/…/full/10…/23761199.2019.1709784

Two new articles by RUCARR researchers

Dr. Christofer Berglund’s new article Accepting Alien Rule? State-Building Nationalism in Georgia’s Azeri Borderland recently appeared in the journal Europe-Asia Studies.
Read more: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09668136.2019.1679091

Prof. Karina Vamling published the article New Initiatives in Diachronic Linguistics – Atlases of Language and Culture in the festschrift for Academician Thomas Gamkrelidze – Akademikosi Tamaz Gamqrelidze 90, Tbilisi University Press, 2019. pp. 151-161.

RUCARR seminar with Prof. Oliver Reisner

RUCARR seminar on October 10

Prof. Oliver Reisner, Ilia State University, Tbilisi, gave a seminar to staff and students during his visit to RUCARR, Malmö University on October 9-10. The topic of his presentation was Social Cohesion and Political Developments in Contemporary Georgia, which was followed by a lively discussion. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas and research on this timely topic!

GPS seminar with Michel Anderlini – Case study: Georgia

On October 9 Michel Anderlini, PhD Student in Global Politics, presented his thesis work in the first 20% seminar in new the Global Politics PhD programme. The title of the presentation: “Who do I call if I want to speak to Europe?”: Role contestation of the EU Special Representative and Selective Compliance in Georgia. Discussant: Prof. Patrik Hall.

The Case of the Georgian History Textbooks

Silence as a Narrator: The Case of the Georgian History Textbooks

Guranda Bursulaia, PhD Candidate at Free University in Tbilisi (Georgia) and Swedish Institute visiting researcher at Caucasus Studies, Malmö University, will give the presentation: “Silence as a Narrator: The Case of the Georgian History Textbooks” at the Caucasus Studies web & campus seminar on May 7.

Where: Glocal Classroom C0502 (http://bit.ly/2UKX1fg), 5th floor, Niagara Building. Please, write to caucasus.studies@mau.se in case you are interested in following the seminar online.
When: 15.15–17.00, May 7.

The seminar is about the construction of collective memory about the 1992-1993 war in Abkhazia in the Georgian school history textbooks. Guranda will discuss the transformation of the textbooks throughout the last 25 years marked with major political and social changes in the country. Besides, silencing, as an instrument of major narrative formation, and masterminds behind it will be analyzed using the example of the Georgian textbooks.

RUCARR Caucasus Conference 2018

Thank you to all participants at the conference ‘Promoting International Dialogue and Protecting Cultural Heritage in the Caucasus’ December 5-6 at RUCARR, Malmö University. It has been two days of most interesting presentations and engaging discussions and comments with participants from all parts of the Caucasus! And many thanks to the Swedish Institute for making this event possible.