Mariya Petrova

Research Associate

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Mariya Petrova is a researcher of Central Asia with a strong interest in Soviet and post-Soviet urban infrastructures and housing construction. As a research associate in the Project “Global History of Technology, 1850-2000,” she works on different housing forms, building and repair cultures in Soviet Uzbekistan. Particularly, she is interested in the encounter between Soviet modernization ideas on housing and infrastructure and local climatic and traditional idiosyncrasies, investigating how they influenced and transformed each other. In cooperation with Jonas van der Straeten she conducted a fieldwork study in Samarkand and Tashkent in summer 2018 – including oral history interviews and archival and library research. The collected material serves as a foundation for the upcoming joint publications.

Mariya graduated from the Humboldt University in Berlin with an M.A. (2017) in Central Asian Studies. During the research for her master thesis on private housing construction in Soviet Samarkand she gained solid experience in archival research and oral history interviews. The thesis was nominated for the student award of the Institute and will be published this year in the Anor Series. Her strong interest in interdisciplinary work is supported by her B.A. (2013) from Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg where she studied Communication and Media Science, Art History, and Social Anthropology.

During her studies Mariya also volunteered for different initiatives like community radio and refugee aid groups in Halle, she also organized youth exchange visits between Kazan (Russian Federation) and Halle (Germany). From 2017 to 2019 she worked as a project manager at Jugendpresse Deutschland. e.V., the youth press organization in Germany.

Curriculum Vitae

2018-2020: Research associate in the project “A Global History of Technology, 1850–2000”, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany (funded by the European Research Council)

2017-2019: Project Manager „JUGENDMEDIEN interkultuturell“, Jugendpresse e.V. Bundesverband der Jungen Medienmachenden (German federal Youth Press association)

2014‐2017: M.A. Central Asian Studies, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany

2010-2013: Student assistant, Siberian Studies Centre, Max‐Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany

2007‐2013: B.A. Media and Communication Studies, History of Art, and social anthropology, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany


  • Florian Coppenrath, Lena Heller, Kyara Klausmann, Elizaveta Kucherova, Davlatbegim Mamadshoeva, Mariya Petrova, and Björn Reichhardt. 2018. „To Transfer, but Not to Serve? Central Asian Studies Inside Out: A Workshop Report”. ASIEN ‐ The German Journal of Contemporary Asia. No. 148, (July 2018), p. 78‐90.

  • Jonas van der Straeten, Mariya Petrova. “Mud Bricks in a Concrete State. Making Socialism Fit: Building, Maintaining and Improving One’s Own House in Soviet Samarkand, 1957‐1991.” In Histories of Technology’s Persistence: Repair, Reuse, and Disposal. Edited by Stefan Krebs and Heike Weber. Bielefeld: transcript, forthcoming.

  • Mariya Petrova. „„Nah am Boden“ – privater Hausbau zwischen Wohnungsnot und Landkonflikt im sowjetischen Samarkand der 50er und 60 er Jahre“, Anor Series, Berlin: De Gruyter, forthcoming.

Presentations and Workshops

  • Jonas van der Straeten, Mariya Petrova. „From state hubris to private hybrids. Tracing the Soviet urban experience in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.” 16th biennial ESCAS Conference Exeter, 06/2019.
  • Mariya Petrova. 2019. “Grand Narratives in historical research on Central Asia”. 2‐nd Workshop of Central Asian Studies Inside Out (CASIO) “Challenging Grand Narratives.” EHESS Paris, 03/2019.

  • Mariya Petrova. 2018. “Unauthorized housing construction in Soviet Samarkand.” Workshop “Informal Housing and Property Rights in the Countries of the Former Soviet Block” Zurich, 11/2018.

  • Mariya Petrova, Jonas van der Straeten. 2018. “In the Shadows of Socialist Architecture: Transregional Perspectives on Private house building in Samarkand, 1950‐1970”. Conference “Exporting Socialism, making business?”, IRS Erkner, 06/2018.