Multimedia Project by ZMO's research fellow David Leupold and Lilit Dabagian (University of Central Asia)


What role plays Soviet materiality not only in conjuring up the spectre of a discredited past but in forging the vision of an alternative future? The virtual exhibition "Relicts of Another Future" by the media researcher Lilit Dabagian (University of Central Asia) and our postdoctoral research fellow David Leupold (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient) seeks to find an answer to this question, shedding light on the internationalist legacy that lies at the foundation of today's Bishkek: Interhelpo.

Founded in 1924 by Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, German internationalists around the mountaineer Rudolf Pavlovič Mareček in the Czechoslovakian town Žilina, the industrial cooperative actively shaped urbanization in what would become the capital of the nascent Kirghiz SSR. Through personal photographs and historical documents “Relicts of Another Future” seeks to give back a voice to the city-builders of a century ago and allow them to speak again to the residents of a crisis-ridden today.

ERC Consolidator Grant for Dr. Nitin Sinha


Amongst three other researchers and scientists from the Leibniz Association, Senior Research Fellow Nitin Sinha received a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council for his project TIMEHIST - Timely Histories: A Social History of Time in South Asia.

Sinha's project aims to write the history of time and temporal cultures in South Asia between the 1500s and the 1950s on a practice- and process-based history. Covering this broad timespan under five modular units, the objective is to investigate and write the graded pasts of shifts and transformations within them. In doing so, it departs from the usual approaches that focus either on the device (clock) or on the modern nation-state institutions such as army, school, factory, and office. Instead, while going beyond device-centrism, it puts ‘othered’ spaces of temporal practices such as field, farm, jungle, and river in the centre of the time’s history.

The project’s novelty is in the combined strength of transcending the widely applied frameworks across regions as well as in opening new fields of inquiry for South Asia. By generating rich empirical works, guided by interdisciplinary theoretical approaches, five clearly laid-out units will achieve this.

Temporal modernity, the project hypothesises, emerged from the existing temporal cultures rather than supplant them. Through its bold yet feasible scope, TIMEHIST proposes to establish temporality as an independent analytical category in studies on spatiality, colonialism, and social history.