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Holzberger, Helena

Dr. Helena Holzberger



Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Chair For Russian/Asian Studies /
Lehrstuhl Russland-/Asienstudien
Maria-Theresia-Straße 21
81675 München

Phone: +49 (0)89 / 2180 - 9592

Doctoral Project

Fotografie & Russlands Orient. Koloniale und lokale Bilderwelten an der zentralasiatischen Peripherie im Diskurs der Moderne (1870-1941) - abgeschlossen

Photography and Russia's Orient. Colonial and local pictorial worlds on the Central Asian periphery in the discourse of modernity (1870-1941) - completed

The Russian conquest of Central Asia went hand in hand with the genesis of photography in the Russian Empire. The new medium quickly established itself in the colony of Turkestan, even among the indigenous population. Through the active adaptation of photography as a technical and cultural innovation, the society of Turkestan was changed - the colonized were not only objects of Russian photographers but also active actors. From 1917, photography was also politicized on the periphery as part of the Russian Revolution. In the new socialist republics, Soviet photojournalists documented the modernization of the country, using avant-garde stylistic devices. Analyzing these processes and placing them in a (photo-) historical context is one of the goals of my study. Another focus is on the discursive image of the Orient, its continuities and breaks over the regime change as well as the photographic manifestations of a genuinely Russian/Soviet Orientalism. My analysis is based on theories of empires, modernity and post-colonialism. It examines photographers and political actors, their networks, the transfer of knowledge between the center and the periphery and visual discourses. In addition, selected photos undergo a qualitative image analysis that asks about form, style and iconography.

Please also see an overview of her project in the Graduate School's Newsletter Nr. 5, Winter Semester 2015/16

Curriculum Vitae

Since 05/2018 Research Associate for the Chair of Russian / Asian Sudies, LMU Munich. 11/2014 - 05/2018 Research Associate at the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies, LMU Munich with teaching experience for the Chair of Russian / Asian Studies, LMU Munich. 02/2014 Magister Artium at the Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg. Topic of the thesis: Constructions and Interpretations of the Ukrainian Space in the National Socialist Occupation Press, analyzing German Ukraine newspapers as an example. 02/2014 - 12/2014 Honorary Research Associate for the Editions Project "Russland und der russische Hof aus der Sicht europäischer Diplomaten". 03/2014 - 10/2014 Research Associate for Professor of East European History, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg. 2006 - 2013 Studying East European History, Euorpean Art History, New History and Jewish History at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg.

Positions, Assignments and Memberships


Edited Books and Journal Issues

Together with Andreas Renner and Sören Urbansky (Hg.): Russische Orte in Asien (erscheint 2019).
Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Georgij Zel’ma and Maks Penson. Fotografie aus der Sowjetrepublik Usbekistan zwischen ethnographischer Avantgarde und Sozialistischem Realismus, in: Ostblick / Journal für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte (eingereicht)

Buchara – die ewige Perle des Orients, in: Helena Holzberger, Andreas Renner, Sören Urbansky: Russische Orte in Asien (erscheint 2019)

National in front of the camera, Soviet behind it? Central Asia in Soviet press-photography, in: Journal of Modern European History (erscheint im November 2018)

Arkadij Šaichet, in: Allgemeines Künsterlexikon (erscheint 2018)

Maks Penson. In: Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon, Bd. 95, Berlin 2017, S. 55-56.

Further Publications

Den sowjetischen Sieg in der Linse der Kamera – der Fotojournalist Evgenij Chaldej. In: Erinnerungskulturen. Erinnerung und Geschichtspolitik im östlichen und südöstlichen Europa, 04.06.2018.

Conference Report: Representations and Identities in Georgia in the 19th and 20th Centuries, 15.02.2017 – 17.02.2017 München, in: H-Soz-Kult, 03.07.2017, <>

"Černobyl und Fukushima: Perspektiven der Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft". Eindrücke von einem Workshop. In: Erinnerungskulturen. Erinnerung und Geschichtspolitik im östlichen und südöstlichen Europa, 10.03.2017.

Together with Mara Matičević: Tagungsbericht: Cultural Hegemonies in Spaces of Diversity: Second Annual Conference of the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies, 07.05.2015-09.05.2015 Regensburg. In: H-Soz-Kult, 02.10.2015.


Sergej N. Abašin, Sovetskij Kišlak. Meždu kolonializmom i modernizaciej, Moskva: NLO, 2015, in: Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas / jgo.e-reviews, JGO 65 (2017), 2, S. 345-346.

Lectures (Selected)


"Photography in Central Asia – Colonial Images or Socialist Achievement?" (Jahrestagung der Graduiertenschule für Ost- und Südosteuropastudien "Studying East and Southeast Europe as Area Studies: Paradigms - Themes - Methods for the 21st Century", München, 25.-27.10.2018)