Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture

‘Nationalism’, ‘internationalism’ and ‘collective memory’ in Soviet and post-Soviet Central Asia

  • Zifa-Alua Auezova
Date
Monday 28 November 2016
Time
Location
Lipsius
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Room
235C
Zifa-Alua Auezova

The five states of Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan – gained state sovereignty as the result of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, now twenty-five years ago. Ideologies underlying the current revisions in ‘collective memory’ of these states strive in a rather similar way for the restoration of elements of ethnic legacies that were destroyed or damaged during the Soviet period.

To get a better understanding of the nature of the current ethnocentrism in the region, we shall look back to the history of Soviet public discourse on ‘internationalism’ as a basis for ‘global’ solidarity between working people, on one hand, and as a rule of conduct within Soviet society, on the other, as well as consider certain events and names that had to be eliminated from public discourse in Soviet Central Asia.

In our discussion of the post-Soviet practices of public commemorations in Central Asia expressed in mass media, literature, historiography, decorative and monumental arts, etc. we shall also consider the nature of similar processes in the heart of the former empire in Russia. Russian nation-building and experiences in “collecting memories” after the collapse of the USSR have been serving to a great extent as modus operandi for other post-Soviet states, as well as an indicator of what has been permissible in a post-Soviet society.

Finally, we’ll discuss post-Soviet transformations in the geopolitical self-identification of Central Asian states, which have resulted in cooperation and exchange in the areas of academic research and arts within the region and outside - Turkey, Iran, China and Mongolia.

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