Writing and Re-Writing the History of Soviet Kazakhstan
R. Charles Weller (Washington State University)
Flora Roberts (Leiden University / University of Tubingen )
R. Charles Weller
Flora Roberts
Posvar 3800
Start time:
26 October, 2018 at 14:15 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Long abstract:

This panel will bring together a range of perspectives and sources on the history of Kazakhstan across the twentieth century in order to examine how national historical narratives are written and re-written. It will include analysis of newly discovered documents from archives both within Kazakhstan and outside the country, as well as interviews and published sources. Maria Blackwood's paper examines the relocation of Kazakhstan's capital from Orenburg to Kzyl Orda to Alma-Ata between 1920 and 1929 in order to illuminate the Soviet Union as a state that was explicitly anti-colonial and anti-imperial in its rhetoric but nevertheless replicated patterns associated with European imperialism. Comparing the decision-making processes and the narratives surrounding the Soviet-era capital relocations to those of the post-independence relocation of the capital to Astana, she explores the nation-building function of capital cities. Gulnara Mendikulova's paper is part of her broader research on Kazakh participation in World War II, a project that is adding a new dimension to Kazakhstani historiography by incorporating a global perspective. Based on research conducted in European archives, she considers both those who fought for the Axis powers and those who fought against them, adding new depth to our understanding of Central Asians' involvement in the war and to Kazakhstan's national historical narrative. Gulnara Dadabayeva's paper looks at the "boom" of interest in national histories in the Soviet Union in the 1960s and '70s, examining in particular the Rus and Koshpendiler trilogies as a means of exploring how the Soviet historical genre "shaped" the trajectories of the future Post-Soviet states. Zhanat Kudakbayeva's paper analyzes published historiography, incorporating interviews with historians, in order to examine how the Soviet period has been mediated in post-Soviet professional historical literature in Kazakhstan. By looking at individual scholars and their works, she demonstrates the role of human agency in the creation and articulation of the nation in post-Soviet Kazakhstan. Taken together, these papers will shed new light on Soviet and post-Soviet historical narratives and their role in national discourse across the twentieth century and into the present day.