Revolution of 1917, WW1 and WW2, Origins and meaning of Bolshevism, interplay and opposition between liberal and illiberal forms of modernity
Native of Kazakhstan, Mikhail Akulov defended his doctoral thesis in 2013 at Harvard University. That same year, he returned to Almaty to assume teaching, scholarly and administrative responsibilities at the Kazakh-British Technical University. Working first as chair of the Department of History and Social Science and then as dean of the General Education Faculty, he focused primarily on synchronizing liberal arts curriculum with key modern practices. From the Fall 2018 he joined the Department of History, Philosophy and Religious studies at the Nazarbayev University, where he is teaching courses on Eurasia’s complex history during the “Short twentieth century” (1914-1991).
Mikhail Akulov is convinced that a scholar – no matter how seemingly arcane his research might appear to a non-specialist – has an important role to play as a public figure. In line with this conviction, while in Almaty he was actively engaged in organizing discussion forums, art exhibitions, open lectures, etc. – in short, in creating spaces, where an exchange between experts, artists, civic activists and concerned audiences could take shape. He intends to continue working in that direction in Astana.
“Eternal Futurostan: Myths, Fantasies and the Making of Astana in post-Soviet
Kazakhstan” in Theorizing Central Asia: the State, Ideology and Power, ed. Alessandro
Frigerio and Rico Isaaks. Oxford, UK: Oxford Brookes U Press, 2018
”Playground of Violence: Mennonites and Makhnovites in the Time of War and
Revolution” in International Relations and Diplomacy, No. 7, 2015, July 2015
“Impossible Alliance: Skoropadsky’s State Between Ukrainian Nationalism and
“Seeing Chaos: Bolsheviks in Kiev in 1918”
Open Lectures and Public talks delivered:
“History of Western Historiography”, series of 25 online lectures recorded under the auspices of the Presidential Program Rukhani Zhangyru for the first Kazakhstani online university, September 2019
“Stalinism and the Question of Repentance” (in Russian) , public talk given under the auspices of the Open Societies Foundation, Almaty, April 2017, link to the video:
“The End of History: Between Superhuman and Superorganism” (in Russian), public talk delivered at the annual TEDxAlmaty Conference, October 2016, link to the video:
Selected non-academic Publications:
• «Революционный проект себя не исчерпал» [“The Revolutionary project has not exhausted itself”], interview dedicated to the centennial anniversary of the Civil War in Central Asia, analytical journal Vlast’, June 2018; electronic link: