Universiteit Leiden

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Governor-general Konstantin von Kaufmann

  • Svetlana Gorshenina
Friday 23 February 2018
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Inventing ‘cultural heritage’ in 19th century Russian Turkestan

General Konstantin von Kaufmann (1818-1882) was referred to by his contemporaries as the ‘creator of Russian Turkestan’. He was the first Governor-general from 1867 until 1881. As commander of the Russian forces that captured Samarkand (1868), Kuldža (1871) and Kokand (1876) while also forcing into vassal status the nominally still independent emirate of Bukhara (1868) and the khanate of Khiva (1873), Kaufmann shaped the very contours of Russian Central Asia. Having had the authority of making war and concluding peace bestowed upon him by the Tsar, Kaufmann then proceeded to laying the foundations for the government of this new Russian colony. This included heritage politics on a grand scale. Driven by a genuine interest and helped by access to ample funds, Kaufmann embarked on significant projects in areas as diverse as archaeology (including excavations at Afrasiab as well as the restauration and protection of the major Timurid monuments in Samarkand), museology (including the organisation of major national and international exhibitions and the establishment of the region’s first museums), bibliographic documentation (including the establishment of Tashkent’s national archives and of its library, home to the famous Turkestanskii Sbornik (Turkestan Collection) commissioned by Kaufmann from Vladimir Mežov), and photography (compilation of several important albums). This masterclass will conceive of Kaufmann’s far-reaching and diverse heritage activities as part of a ‘cultural technology’ of power characterised by the complex imbrication of colonialist knowledge, the arts and humanities, colonial power, and practices of remembering and commemoration, which through the process of selection/creation of what is deemed to constitute heritage ultimately came to express the prevalent ideas of the Nation, or, indeed, the Empire.

About Svetlana Gorshenina

Svetlana Gorshenina is a historian and art historian of Central Asia, working on Russian Turkestan in the 19th century. She is currently Maître de conferences associée, Chaire d’Histoire et cultures de l'Asie centrale préislamique, Collège de France, Paris. Dr. Gorshenina holds a French Habilitation à diriger des recherches en littératures et civilisations «Pour l’histoire culturelle de l’Asie centrale: ‘Faiseurs de patrimoine’» (INALCO, Paris, 2016). She received her second doctoral decree (Doctorat ès Lettres) at the University of Lausanne and at Paris I-Sorbonne University in 2007 and her first PhD in 1996 at the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, Tashkent. Further Dr. Gorshenina worked as a researcher in several scientific groups (CNRS-Paris, University of Lausanne, University of Manchester) and taught in the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS, Paris) and at the University of Tashkent.

Personal website

L’invention de l’Asie centrale. Histoire du concept de la Tartarie à l’Eurasie
, Genève: Droz. Collection: Rayon Histoire, n° 4, 2014, 704 p.

Asie centrale. L'invention des frontières et l'héritage russo-soviétique, Paris, cnrs-Éditions, 2012, Collection: Espaces et milieux, 384 p.

Private Collections of Russian Turkestan in the 2nd Half of the 19th and Early 20th CenturyANOR-15 (Institut für Orientalistik, Halle, Mittelasienwissenschaft Humboldt-Universität, Berlin, Université de Lausanne), Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag, 2004, 205 p.

Explorateurs en Asie centrale. Voyageurs et aventuriers de Marco Polo à Ella Maillart, Genève: Olizane, 2003, 544 p.

Galina Pugachenkova: perebiraja zhizni cherepki [Galina Pougatchenkova: slices of life (biography of archaeologist, academician)], Tashkent: Press-Agency, 2000, 250 p.

Les archéologues en Asie centrale: de Kaboul à Samarcande, Paris: Découvertes Gallimard, 2001, n° 411, 160 p. (co-authored with Claude Rapin).

La Haute-Asie telle qu’ils l’ont vue. Explorateurs et scientifiques de 1820 à 1940, Genève: Olizane, 2003, 144 p. (co-authored with Aymon Baud and Philippe Forêt).

La route de Samarcande: l’Asie centrale dans l’objectif des voyageurs d’autrefois, Musée d’ethnographie de Genève, Genève: Olizane, 2000, 260 p.

Philippe Bornet, Svetlana Gorshenina, Orientalismes des marges: Éclairages à partir de l’Inde et de la RussieLausanne: Université de Lausanne, numéro spécial d’Études de Lettres, n° 2-3 (vol. 296), 2014, 414 p.

Michel Espagne, Svetlana Gorshenina, Frantz Grenet, Shahin Mustafayev, Claude Rapin (éd.), Asie centrale : transferts culturels le long de la Route de la soie, Paris: Vendémiaire, 2016, 731 p.

Alexandra Galitzine-Loumpet, Svetlana Gorshenina and Claude Rapin (ed.), Archéologie(s) en situation coloniale. Vol. 1: Paradigmes et situations comparées, in Nouvelles de l’archéologie, n° 126, décembre 2011, 64 p.; Vol. 2: Acteurs, institutions, devenirs, in Nouvelles de l’archéologien° 128, juin 2012, 64 p.

Svetlana Gorshenina and Sergej Abashin (éd.), Le Turkestan russe: une colonie comme les autres?, Paris: Complexe, Collection de l’IFÉAC - Cahiers d’Asie centrale, n° 17 / 18, 2009, 550 p.


The masterclass is organized by the Central Asia Initiative at Leiden University and is open only to MA, MA research and PhD students.

Svetlana Gorshenina "The Politics of Memory in a Revolutionary Contex” (with Vera Tolz),  Ab-Imperio, n° 4, 2016, p. 77-115.

Svetlana Gorshenina "Samarkand and its cultural heritage: perceptions and persistence of the Russian colonial construction of monuments", Central Asian Survey, special issue on the Russian Conquest of Central Asia dir. by Alexander Morrison, (33-2), June 2014, p. 246-269.

Shahin Mustafaev, Michel Espagne, Svetlana Gorshenina, Claude Rapin, Amridin Berdimuradov, Frantz Grenet (eds), Cultural Transfers in Central Asia: before, during and after the Silk Road, Paris-Samarkand: IICAS, 2013, 313 p.

Svetlana Gorshenina, Private Collections of Russian Turkestan in the 2nd Half of the 19th and Early 20th Century, ANOR-15 (Institut für Orientalistik, Halle, Mittelasienwissenschaft Humboldt-Universität, Berlin, Université de Lausanne), Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag, 2004, 205 p.

Svetlana Gorshenina, "Uzbekistan’s “Cultural Inheritance” in Constructing “Collective Memory” in the Age of Independence", in Marlène Laruelle, Aytolkyn Kurmanova (ed.), Central Asia at 25: Looking Back, Moving Forward. A collection of essays from Central Asia, George Washington University, 2017, p. 52-54.

To register for the masterclass, please contact Dr Elena Paskaleva at: e.g.paskaleva@hum.leidenuniv.nl before 19 February 2018. 

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