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postgraduate thesis: The making of a Soviet San Francisco : building Vladivostok during the postwar years, 1938-1952

TitleThe making of a Soviet San Francisco : building Vladivostok during the postwar years, 1938-1952
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2019
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Khan, R.. (2019). The making of a Soviet San Francisco : building Vladivostok during the postwar years, 1938-1952. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractOne of the great transformations of the twentieth century was the unprecedented rise of cities. Perhaps nowhere has this been more revealing than in the history of the USSR (or the Soviet Union hereafter). While decades of historical research on Soviet urbanization bore fruit, it has been characterized by conceptual and thematical gaps, which this dissertation addresses. Because of the persistent focus on heartland cities, which are located in the European parts of Russia, studies of urbanization in the Russian Far East are virtually absent in the English-language literature. Furthermore, few scholars have paid serious attention to the concept of space in the context of socialist cities. To be more specific, inquiries into the relationship between cities and the natural environment in which they arose have been overshadowed by an intellectual interest in seeing cities as social places of the inculcation of and resistance against Bolshevik ideology, while space exists only passively. This dissertation is a regional history of spatial planning and urbanization in Vladivostok, the largest city of the Soviet/Russian Far East, that is located in the administrative region of the Primorsky Krai. Based on a wide array of archival sources from provincial archives and libraries, this investigation puts the development of city plans, municipal governance, and the influence economic geography at the center between the late 1930s and the early 1950s. The fundamental question asks how urban change can systemically and historically be explained in a Soviet era marked by cataclysmic events (e.g., the industrializing 1930s, the Second World War, and late Stalinist society). Answers to this question arose out of an examination of the invisible and modern city infrastructures: water supply and drainage systems, rail and water transportation networks, the need for energy and construction materials, and its associated government politics. This dissertation brings forth two main arguments. First, the growth of cities in the Soviet Union cannot be comprehensively explained if space as an active vector of historical change is ignored. It explains how space mattered abstractly (the complexities of the physical environment), relatively (Vladivostok’s relationship to the hinterland and other cities), and relationally (how spatial practices reflected the peculiar form of state-led urbanization). Second, this study also scrutinizes the conventional historiography of Soviet history. Instead, this work argues for a deprovincialized view of the history of the Soviet Far East, where national or common historical events played out differently in the region, and thus require an adjusted historiographical framework. Finally, this study makes a meaningful contribution in various ways. On a basic level, it provides a history of a city that has hitherto not well been researched in the historiography of the Soviet Union, borderlands, and urbanization. Next, it incorporates the concept of space, usually found in works on the history of capitalism, and further elaborates upon it in the context of the Soviet Union.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectUrbanization - Russia (Federation) - Vladivostok - History
Dept/ProgramHistory
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/282057

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorSanchez-Sibony, O-
dc.contributor.advisorXu, G-
dc.contributor.authorKhan, Rustam-
dc.date.accessioned2020-04-26T03:00:53Z-
dc.date.available2020-04-26T03:00:53Z-
dc.date.issued2019-
dc.identifier.citationKhan, R.. (2019). The making of a Soviet San Francisco : building Vladivostok during the postwar years, 1938-1952. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/282057-
dc.description.abstractOne of the great transformations of the twentieth century was the unprecedented rise of cities. Perhaps nowhere has this been more revealing than in the history of the USSR (or the Soviet Union hereafter). While decades of historical research on Soviet urbanization bore fruit, it has been characterized by conceptual and thematical gaps, which this dissertation addresses. Because of the persistent focus on heartland cities, which are located in the European parts of Russia, studies of urbanization in the Russian Far East are virtually absent in the English-language literature. Furthermore, few scholars have paid serious attention to the concept of space in the context of socialist cities. To be more specific, inquiries into the relationship between cities and the natural environment in which they arose have been overshadowed by an intellectual interest in seeing cities as social places of the inculcation of and resistance against Bolshevik ideology, while space exists only passively. This dissertation is a regional history of spatial planning and urbanization in Vladivostok, the largest city of the Soviet/Russian Far East, that is located in the administrative region of the Primorsky Krai. Based on a wide array of archival sources from provincial archives and libraries, this investigation puts the development of city plans, municipal governance, and the influence economic geography at the center between the late 1930s and the early 1950s. The fundamental question asks how urban change can systemically and historically be explained in a Soviet era marked by cataclysmic events (e.g., the industrializing 1930s, the Second World War, and late Stalinist society). Answers to this question arose out of an examination of the invisible and modern city infrastructures: water supply and drainage systems, rail and water transportation networks, the need for energy and construction materials, and its associated government politics. This dissertation brings forth two main arguments. First, the growth of cities in the Soviet Union cannot be comprehensively explained if space as an active vector of historical change is ignored. It explains how space mattered abstractly (the complexities of the physical environment), relatively (Vladivostok’s relationship to the hinterland and other cities), and relationally (how spatial practices reflected the peculiar form of state-led urbanization). Second, this study also scrutinizes the conventional historiography of Soviet history. Instead, this work argues for a deprovincialized view of the history of the Soviet Far East, where national or common historical events played out differently in the region, and thus require an adjusted historiographical framework. Finally, this study makes a meaningful contribution in various ways. On a basic level, it provides a history of a city that has hitherto not well been researched in the historiography of the Soviet Union, borderlands, and urbanization. Next, it incorporates the concept of space, usually found in works on the history of capitalism, and further elaborates upon it in the context of the Soviet Union. -
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.subject.lcshUrbanization - Russia (Federation) - Vladivostok - History-
dc.titleThe making of a Soviet San Francisco : building Vladivostok during the postwar years, 1938-1952-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineHistory-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2019-
dc.identifier.mmsid991044122097103414-

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