A virtual event hosted by the Central Asia Program at the George Washington University on October 29th, 2021.
In this roundtable, we aim to provide a conceptual intervention in the ongoing debates on the nature of Soviet-ness in nation-building strategies of Central Asian states and regimes. Through our short presentations and discussion, we want to illustrate the workings of Soviet-ness in the contemporary ideas of ethnicity, ideology, class, and minority relations. The roundtable is a collection of ongoing discussions in the greater group of scholars led by Tutumlu and Kudaibergenova seeking to critically analyse and conceptualize the workings of the nationalizing processes from the top-down to bottom-up approach and with everything in-between still bound with the remaining metamorphosis of Sovietness. Instead of viewing these processes as “legacies” of Sovietness, we see them as metamorphosis – the fluid process of transformations, clashes, contradictions, processes of simultaneous erasure and reconstruction of the “past” and Soviet experience when it comes to peoples’ understanding of their “national” identity. In our workshop, we combine talks by Zulfiya Imyarova, Anar Valiev, Viktoria Akchurina, as well as Assel Tutumlu and Diana T. Kudaibergenova.
Zulfiya Imyarova is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of International Exchange Programs at Narxoz University. She received her PhD degree from Al-Farabi State National University in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Her research focuses on the studies of ethnicity and nation-building using ethnographic methods and archival sources. Her work appeared in Nationalities Papers, Problems of Post-Communism and edited volumes.
Anar Valiev is an Associate Professor and a Dean of the School of Public and International Affairs of Azerbaijani Diplomatic Academy. He received his Bachelor’s degree in History from Baku State University (1999) and Master’s degree in History (2001) from the same university. From 2001 to 2003 he studied public policy at School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he received his second master. In 2007 he successfully defended his dissertation at School of Urban and Public Affairs from University of Louisville, KY receiving doctorate degree in Urban and Public Affairs. From 2007 to 2008 he was working as Assistant Professor at Faculty of Social Studies of Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. In 2008 he joined ADA University and currently he is a Dean of School of Public and International Affairs. His areas of expertise are public policy of post-Soviet republics; democracy and governance; urban development and planning. Dr.Valiev is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles and his research works appeared in journals such as Problems of Post Communism; Communist and Post-Communist Studies; Eurasian Geography and Economics; Cultural Geographies; Cities, Urban Geography, and others.
Viktoria Akchurina is a Senior Lecturer in OSCE Academy in Bishkek. Her research focuses on state-building in Central Asia and the Middle East, comparatively. She is an author of a number of academic publications on elite formation (Routledge 2021), power and hegemony (Routledge 2020), the incomplete state (Palgrave Macmillan 2018), security and radicalization (Routledge 2015), border and water management in central Eurasia (Lexington 2018). She co-edited a Special Section on ‘Power and Competing Regionalism in a Wider Europe’ in the Journal of Europe-Asia Studies (2018). In her previous capacity as a Researcher at TRENDS Consulting in Abu-Dhabi, she published a number of policy papers on the Belt and Road Initiative in the Middle East and conducted research on Russian foreign policy in Syria, among other projects. Previously, Viktoria worked for EXOP-Consulting in Germany, International Women’s Media Foundation in Washington D.C., and taught at the MA program in Peace and Development at Dauphine University in Paris. Viktoria received her PhD in International Relations from the University of Trento (Italy) and her MA in Social Theory and Global Governance from Jacobs University Bremen (Germany).
Assel Tutumlu (former Rustemova) is an Assistant Professor at the Near East University in Northern Cyprus. She received her Ph.D. in Global Affairs from Rutgers, State University of New Jersey. She mainly specializes in studying the nature of politics in the authoritarian regimes of Central Asia and beyond, but also writes on democratization, nation-building and foreign policy issues. Her work appeared in Europe-Asia Studies, Journal of Eurasian Studies, Problems of Post-Communism, Central Asian Survey and edited volumes from Routledge, Sage, Lexington, and Nomos Press. Before holding academic positions in Turkey, Kazakhstan and the United States she worked at the United Nations, International Foundation for Election Systems, Kennan Institute of Advanced Russian Studies, and the Center for Non-Proliferation Studies in the United States.
Diana T. Kudaibergenova is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Political Sociology at the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge (UK). She is the author of Rewriting the Nation in Modern Kazakh literature. Elites and Narratives (Lexington, 2017) and Toward Nationalizing Regimes. Conceptualizing Power and Identity in the Post-Soviet Realm (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020). Her research focuses on the study of power relations in democratic and non-democratic contexts, ideology and nationalism. Kudaibergenova’s forthcoming work deals with the persistence of nationalizing regimes and the resistance of the grassroots movements and with the conceptualization of authoritarianism.