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Lecture | LUCIS What's New series

Patricians of Leninabad: Urban Elites in Soviet Central Asia

Date
Thursday 31 October 2019
Time
Explanation
Free to visit, drinks after
Series
What's New?! Fall Lecture Series
Location
Lipsius
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Room
1.47

In this talk, Flora Roberts presents a study of elite continuity, amid the profound social and political changes unleashed by the Soviet government in the republics of Central Asia. She assesses the impact of Sovietisation on a single, clearly defined social group: the hereditary elite of Leninabad, an ancient town in the Ferghana Valley. Roberts charts the ways in which these Islamic notables, or Patricians, negotiated the transition to the Soviet regime, and to what extent their success or failure affected their prestige and influence.

Roberts argues that the success with which the old elite learned to “speak Bolshevik” (Kotkin, 1999) fundamentally affected the ways in which Soviet power functioned in Central Asia. The contemporary relevance of “traditional” elite groups in post-Soviet Central Asia – in spite of decades of heavy-handed state intervention aimed at eradicating the influence of both Islam and inherited privilege, was the apparent paradox that first drew her to the topic. 

About Flora Roberts

Flora J Roberts is a member of the Junior Research Group on Environment and Society in Central Asia, led by Dr. Jeanne Féaux de la Croix, Tübingen University, Germany, as well a LIAS/LucSor fellow at Leiden University. She has a BA from the University of Oxford and an MA and PhD from the University of Chicago, and is currently completing her manuscript titled Patricians of Leninabad: Culture and Lineage in Soviet Central Asia. She has published in Ab imperio and Central Asian Survey.

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