Oasis of the Future – The Atomic City of Shevchenko/Aktau, 1959–2019
Dr. Stefan Guth
2017–2020: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
In his postdoctoral project, Guth investigates the role of nuclear technopolitics (Hecht) in the Soviet Union and beyond in a long-term perspective. Shevchenko started life as a secret uranium mining camp for the Soviet A-bomb project in the Western Kazakh desert, but was later transformed into a showcase of atomic-powered Communism (Josephson) that relied on cutting-edge nuclear technology to support a modernist model city and industrial cluster in the desert. Focusing on an urban microcosm, the project will tightly integrate the technological, environmental, political, social and cultural dimensions of the Soviet nuclear project – aspects that have hitherto mostly been studied in isolation from each other. At the same time, the project is conceptualized as a multi-level analysis of Soviet technopolitics in its local, all-Union and international dimensions.