Tamar Keburia


The research project aims to reconstruct the history of workers and Soviet industrialization by studying Soviet Georgia's largest steel enterprise and its constituencies – Georgian peripheral peasant-proletariat. The project will contribute to the larger Soviet and labor history studies by taking the closer look to the late socialism and its technics of establishing the legitimacy among the humblest members of the Georgian society. While many other Soviet industrial plants are well documented, far less is known about Zestafoni’s Ferroalloy plant, located in the region of Imereti in Western Georgia, which represented the major pillar in Georgia’s planned economic achievements. Drawing upon archival and oral history sources, the project will give a bottom-up perspective about the process of industrial and economic transformations of rural Georgia, and at the same time critically reflect on the ambivalent tendencies of Sovietization and proletarianization of the rural population. Additionally, the study will challenge widely held assumption in Georgian society that the history of the Soviet system is only the history of occupation, repression, and dismissal. Instead, the project will try to open up the floor for wider interpretations by stressing the varieties of visions and memories about the Soviet past after World War II. Finally, study will produce a fertile ground for expanding the academic discussions about the imperial features of late Soviet system and its general imperial mode of rule.

Research interests:

  • Social and economic history of Soviet Union
  • History of Soviet industries and factories
  • Late Socialism
  • History of workers and workers’ movements


10/2018 - Carl Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt International Doctoral Program Georg-August University Göttingen and Ilia State University, Department of Eastern European History;

10/2014-07/2016 - Ilia State University, Department of Arts & Science, Master degree with Honours in Sociology (Study in Sociology, ethnology and social anthropology);

10/2013-08/2014 - International School of Economics (ISET) at Tbilisi State University, Masters Degree in Economics, Specialization in Labour Economics (Did not finished)

05/2019-11/2019 – Nominated for “Rustaveli-DAAD” Joint Fellowship Programme

02/2019-05/2019 – Nominated for Erasmus + program for doctorates, Visiting researcher at Catholic University of Louvain

03/2018-02/2019 – Ilia State University, Invited Lecturer for introductory course “Introduction to Modern Though”

06/2015-02/2019 – Researcher at Human Rights Education and Monitoring centre (EMC), Tbilisi

12/2015-08/2016 – Nominated for MA research grant, Shota Rustaveli National Foundation

05/2015-11/2015 – Research assistant for Project “Lab-in-the-field experiments on Inter-ethnic relations and intra-group cooperation”, European University Institute

02/07/2019 – “Creation of Industrial Class in Rural Western Georgia”, Georgiens geschichte und seine museale gegenwart (Eastern European History department, Göttingen University)

01/05/2019 – “The Political Economy of Occupational Health and Safety in Georgia”, International forum: Social Justice in Times of Crisis (Institute for social and cultural studies, Ilia State University)

01/03/2019 - “The history of Georgian Extractive industries under Soviet rule”, Round table Panel discussion: Social and ecological aspect of extractive natural resource politics (Heinrich Boll Stiftung South Caucasus office)

25/06/2018 - “Labour precarity in post-Soviet context”, Round table discussion: Urban mobility futures: Neoliberalisation, digitalization, labour (Tbilisi State University & Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography)

22/05/2018 – “Changing forms of the labour relation under the global capitalism: From Proletariat to Precariat”, Conference: Capitalism, Culture and Agency (Ilia State University, Faculty of Arts and Science)