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Nari Shelekpayev, PhD

Nari Shelekpayev, PhD
E-Mail nari.shell@yahoo.com
Current Position Postdoctoral Fellow at Sciences Po Paris (CERI)


Ottawa, Brasília, Astana: the Construction of Capital Cities in Canada, Brazil, and Kazakhstan (1850-2000)

(Supervisor: Michèle Dagenais, Montréal)

My current research focuses on the elaboration of capital cities between 1850s and 2000s in Brazil, Canada, Germany, and Kazakhstan in transnational and comparative perspectives. The investigation analyses three phases of the elaboration of these cities: the legislative and executive activities aimed at choosing and promoting their new sites; the design competitions for the governmental buildings and districts; and the inauguration ceremonies. Through an interdisciplinary and comparative analysis of these moments I propose to rethink intellectual and political projects of (post)colonial societies who established new capitals in order to understand how their aspirations, utopias, and compromises were translated into the form and the architecture of their capital cities.

Thesis defended on March 15, 2019 with distinction (mention 'Excellent')


Ph.D. with honours (mention ‘excellent’), History, Université de Montréal.
Supervisor: Michèle Dagenais (Université de Montréal), Committee: Catriona Kelly (Oxford), Pierre-Yves Saunier (Université Laval), David Meren (Université de Montréal), Jane Jenson (Université de Montréal).
The 2018 Einstein Fellow / Scholar-in-Residence at the Einstein House, Einstein Forum and Daimler & Benz Foundation, Germany. Project: Making Opera in the Steppe: The Political History of Kazakh Musical Theatre (1930-2015)
Visiting Scholar (Research Grant of the Italian Government), Università di Roma La Sapienza.
Associate Doctoral Fellow, International Research and Training Group ‘Diversity,’ Universities of Trier/Saarland - Université de Montréal.
Doctoral Fellow-in-Residence, Freie Universität Berlin.
Scholar-in-Residence, Canadian Center for Architecture, Montreal, Canada.
M.A./M. Phil., Social Sciences / History, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales de Paris (joint degree with Charles University in Prague).
M. L., International Law, Université Paris II, Panthéon-Assas.

Work Experience

since 2018
Postdoctoral Fellow, Sciences Po Paris.

Awards and Fellowships

Postdoctoral Scholarship, European Research Council, joint with Sciences Po Paris
Scholarship for the Completion of Doctoral Studies, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Université de Montréal
Academic Excellency Scholarship of the Italian Government for Foreign Researchers
The 2018 Einstein Fellowship, Einstein Forum and Daimler & Benz Foundation
Research Fellowship, IRTG ‘Diversity,’
Fellowship, Freie Universität Berlin
MITACS Canada Globalink Research Grant
TD Bank Group-Collection Research Grant, Canadian Center for Architecture
History Department Excellency Scholarship, Université de Montréal, Canada
Tuition Fees Exemption Scholarship, Université de Montréal, Canada.
Erasmus Mundus MA Scholarship, European Union. Programme: European Territories: Identity and Development / Master TEMA


a) Publications in refereed journals and book publications
(ed.): Thematic issue “Conflits et sociétés,” Les Cahiers d’Histoire 14:1.
(edited with François-Olivier Dorais/Daria Dyakonova/Solène Maillet) Empires, Nations and Private Lives: Essays on the Social and Cultural History of the Great War (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing).
“Some Considerations on the Historiography of Contemporary Capital Cities: Toward a Transnational Approach?“, in: Jaroslav Ira/Jan de Jong/Imre Tarafés (eds.), Identity, Nation, City: Perspectives from the TEMA Network (Budapest: ELTE Atelier), 203-218.
“Kazakhstan: pays ‘musulman’? Identité(s) religieuse(s) dans le Kazakhstan post-Soviétique,” Carnival 14, 111-126.

b) Other publications
"Whose Master Plan? Kisho Kurokawa and 'Capital' Planning in Post-Soviet Astana, 1995-2000", Planning Perspective, published online on March 29, 2019 (20 p.)
"Astana as Imperial Project: Kazakhstan and its Wandering Capital City in the 20th Century", Ab Imperio 2018 (1), p. 157-189.
"Making Cities Great Again?", Journal of Urban History 44 (3), p. 533-538.
"Sur les conflits et au-delà", Cahiers d'Histoire, vol. XXXIV (1), p. 5-22.
“Limits of Mnemonic Malleability” (Book Review), Ab Imperio 3, 368-375.
“Brigitte Le Normand. Designing Tito’s Capital: Urban Planning, Modernism, and Socialism in Belgrade. Pittsburgh : University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014” (Book Review), Urban History Review 44:1, 80-81.
“L. Vidal (ed.), Capitales rêvées, capitales abandonnées. Considérations sur la mobilité des capitales dans les Amériques, XVIIe-XXe siècle. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2014” (Book Review), Urban History Review 43:2, 66-67.

Conference Presentations

Shame, Power, and Biopolitics in Contemporary Kazakhstan
Conference at Bread & Roses Symposium, Kunstquartier Bethanien Berlin, 1/9/2018.
Making Opera in the Steppe: a Political History of Musical Theatre in Kazakhstan, 1930-2015
Annual Conference of the Albert Einstein Fellow, Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Germany (available on youtube), 4/7/2018.
Ottawa: l’invention d’une capitale 1850-1950
Guest Conference for the Course HST 3460 État, société et citoyenneté au Canada, History Department, Université de Montréal, Canada, 19/10/2017.
Ottawa’s Elusive Identity: A Case of Atlantic Capitality (1855-1911)
IRTG Diversity International Conference, Canada 150: Grappling with Diversity since 1867, Université de Montréal, 15/09-16/09/2017.
On Political Legacies of Modernist Architecture in Contemporary Kazakhstan
Modernist Frontiers: Then and Now (Public Conference), Astana Contemporary Art Centre Pavilion at World Expo 2017 (upon the invitation of Garaj Contemporary Art Center in Moscow and the University of Oxford), Astana, Kazakhstan, 22/07/2017.
Central Asia, Postcolonialism, Urban History: les Liaisons Dangereuses
Seminar ‘’Osteuropa postkolonial’’, Freie Universität Berlin, 23/05/2017.
Architecture, Power, and Nation-Building in Contemporary Brazil: Making Brasília 1956-1960
Lecture Series, ISB Max-Kade-Haus, Berlin, 24/04/2017.
Moving and Making a post-Soviet Capital City: a Case-Study of Astana 1994-1998
Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, 30/03/2017.
Kazakhstan and its Wandering Capitals in the Twentieth Century
University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, 23/02/2017
Cet Obscur Objet du Désir: Ottawa and Canadian Political Utopias 1860-1960
38th Annual Conference of Gesellschaft für Kanada-Studien e.V., Grainau, 17/02/2017.
What is a Capital City? A Reflection on the Elaboration and Typologies of Contemporary Capital Cities, 1850-2000
Space, Mediation and Diversity Under the Global Condition, Collaborative Workshop (IRTG Diversity, Collaborative Research Centre (SFB 1199) “Processes of Spatialization Under the Global Condition”), Leipzig, 14-15/12/2016.
Conceiving and Elaborating the Landscapes of Power: Comparative Perspectives on Capital Cities, 1800-2000 (Panel Convenor)
13th International Conference on Urban History (EAUH) Helsinki, Finland, 24-27/08/2016.
O que é uma capital ? Perspectivas teóricas e discussão do caso de Astana
Conference, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Studies, Université de Brasília, Brasil, 10/08/2016.
Urban Planning, Architecture, and National Identity in a Post-Soviet Capital City, 1994-2014: The Case of Astana
21st Annual ASN (Association for the Study of Nationalities) World Convention, Harriman Institute, Columbia University, New York, USA, 14-16/04/2016.
Astana dans les années 1990 : contexte particulier d’une capitale particulière
Center for International Studies, Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), Paris, France, 3/3/2016

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