'This delight in the power of the mind was made up of expectation, was a war-like game, a kind of undefined, masterful claim on the future.' - Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities, 1930
'Our home is paradise
Oh thanks to science, thanks
Comfort is paradise
At a push of a button in our hands' - a 1985 Czechoslovak pop song
My doctoral project deals with the changing meanings of 'technology' and 'nature', the ways in which they were tied to collectives and subjects and deployed in the production of ‘desirable futures’ in Czechoslovakia from post-Stalinism to postsocialism. I am interested in the ways techno-optimistic ideas about progress or the notion of ecological crisis intersected with the collapse of state socialism and the subsequent neoliberal transformation. I study public experts, popularisers, sci-fi creators, nature writers, journalists or economists active in Czechoslovakia from the late 1960s to the late 1990s and their fictions - from 'Robinsons of outer space' to Darwinian nature as a metaphor for the markets.
I am funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council UK - David Richards Scholarship at Wadham College.
Areas of interest
History of neoliberalism, capitalist economic thought and culture
History of time and space
State socialism and postsocialist transformation
Modern and contemporary East-Central Europe, Czech history
Cultural history of technology and nature, nature/society divide
Memory studies, public history and history education
Martin Babička (2022). '“The future is in your hands”: temporality and the neoliberal self in the Czech voucher privatization', Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe, 30:1, 83-99, DOI: 10.1080/25739638.2022.2044616