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Nari Shelekpayev

Nari Shelekpayev
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')


Since 2013
PhD Scholar-in-Residence at the Canadian Center for Architecture
Maîtrise in Social Sciences (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales Paris)
Maîtrise in International Law (Université Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas)


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
“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

Oct. 2017
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.
Sep. 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.
Jul. 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.
May 2017
Central Asia, Postcolonialism, Urban History: les Liaisons Dangereuses
Seminar ‘’Osteuropa postkolonial’’, Freie Universität Berlin, 23/05/2017.
Apr. 2017
Architecture, Power, and Nation-Building in Contemporary Brazil: Making Brasília 1956-1960
Lecture Series, ISB Max-Kade-Haus, Berlin, 24/04/2017.
Mar. 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.
Feb. 2017
Kazakhstan and its Wandering Capitals in the Twentieth Century
University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, 23/02/2017
Feb. 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.
Dec. 2016
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.
Aug. 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.
Aug. 2016
Theory Chapter
Conference, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Studies, Université de Brasília, Brasil, 10/08/2016.
Apr. 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.

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