Follow-on Workshop, Intersections of History and Literature in Central Asia

November 30, 2017

Thanks to generous funding provided by Matthew Nimetz, CASI has held a follow-on workshop this year to the seminar it conducted in 2014 on the “Intersections of History and Literature in Central Asia.” The workshop was held on the campus of AUCA in Bishkek from 30 November to 2 December 2017.

The aim of the workshop was to help create of community of junior scholars and advanced graduate students committed to studying literature and to applying literary tools and methodologies to the study of literary art in the Central Asian past. Our hope is that such a community will have a determining impact on the shape of literary studies within the discipline in the next decade and make literature something other than a means to advance the social and political approaches dominant in the field. 

There were 13 participants in total in this year’s workshop, including advanced graduate students and junior scholars from some of the most prestigious universities in the United States and Europe. We were also pleased to welcome Professor Ali Igmen. The current President of the Central Eurasian Studies Society, he is also the author of Speaking Soviet with an Accent, his study of culture and power in Soviet Kyrgyzstan. Together with Svetlana Jaquesson, the head of CASI, Professor Igmen was acting as an outside reader, providing commentary and critique to the papers submitted to the workshop.

Though the workshop was closed to the public, CASI offered public lectures in the days immediately before and after the workshop in a series entitled “Literary Week.” There were five public lectures in total. 

Workshop Participants (those submitting papers)

Samuel Hodgkin, Soviet era literature in Tajikistan (graduate student, University of Chicago), “Ruins and Paper Architecture: Heterochronia and Stalinist World Culture.”

Joshua Freeman, contemporary Uighur literature (graduate student, Harvard University), “Patronage and power in early Maoist Xinjiang.”

Christopher Fort, Soviet era Uzbek literature (graduate student, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), “Deconstructing Soviet Literary Construction: A Deconstruction of Hamza Hakimzoda Niyoziy's ‘restored’ play The Rich Man and the Servant (1918 and 1939).”

Diana Kudaibergenova. modern Kazakh literature (PhD Cambridge University), “Uyat! Gender, Shame and the Body in Central Asian Literature and Art."

Gabriel McGuire, nineteenth and twentieth century Kazakh literature (PhD, Indiana University), “Aldar Köse as Trickster and as Comrade.”

Naomi Caffee, Russophone literature in Soviet Kazakhstan (PhD, University of California, Los Angeles), “There is no East, no West, and Time is the only place for me:” Central Asian Writers and the Poetics of Post-Soviet Mobility.” 

Emily Laskin, Persian and Russian Literature in the Central Asian borderlands (graduate student, University of California Berkeley), “Toward a Theory of Second World Literature: The Case of Sadriddin Aini's Reminiscences."

Charles Shaw, Soviet era Uzbek social, cultural, and literary history, (PhD, University of California, Berkeley), “Nasriddin Afandi in Bukhara and Berlin: Humor, Empire, and the Soviet Union at War.”

Inzhuna Karazhanova, Feminist literary criticism, Kazakh literature and folktales (graduate student, Nazarbayev University), “The Female Monsters of Kazakh Fairy Tales: Delineating Normative and Transgressive Womahood.” 

Nick Walsmley, Turkic literature in the Chaghatay Khanate and its successor states, the Ulus Chaghatay and Moghulistan (PhD, Indiana University) “Contextualizing reflection: networks of response among poets in Mawarannahr and Eastern Turkestan (18th-19th cents.)”

Christopher Baker, literature and culture in late Soviet Kazakhstan (assistant professor, AUCA; research coordinator CASI) “Ethnic Words and Soviet Things: Coming to Terms with Soviet Civilization in Esenberlin’s Kōşpendiler

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