Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

Locating Central Asia in Adbulrauf Fitrat's Tales of an Indian Traveler  
Emily Laskin (NYU)

Paper long abstract:

This paper will examine some of the dramatic polemics of Abdulrauf Fitrat, with a particular focus on the book Bayanat-i Sayyah-i Hindi [Tales of an Indian Traveler, 1911]. Written originally in Persian and drawing on early twentieth-century debates between qadim (traditionalist) and jadid (reformer) thought in Central Asia, the book provides exhaustive descriptions of life of Fitrat's native Bukhara through the eys of a fictional traveler from India. The paper will explore two major aspects of Fitrat's Tales: the book's publication history, and its generic history.

The book's publication history makes clear that Tales sparked interest among Central Asians as well as Russians in the region during periods of sudden and deep political and social change in the region: Initially published in Istanbul, Tales appeared in a Russian translation in Samarkand during the last years of Russian Imperial control in Central Asia and again at the very end of the Soviet Union, in 1990. The work's generic orientation, too, reveals Fitrat's concern with Central Asia's relationship to the broader Muslim and Asian worlds, as well as a self-reflexive tendency to compare Central Asia's social, economic, religious, and political situations to those in other neighboring regions. Meanwhile, Fitrat's works imitates contemporaneous Persian fictional travelogues, linking his own work both generically and in its self-critical orientation to literary developments in neighboring Muslim regions. Finally, in critiquing his own society while using a traveler from the east, rather than the west (or Russia in the north) to provide a evaluative gaze, Fitrat's Tales of Indian Travelers represents a Central Asia that looked both inward, toward its own social problems and developments, and outward, toward its connections to and affinities with other parts of the world, simultaneously making, this paper will argue, a critique of backwardness alongside a protest against peripherality.

Panel LIT-02
Literature and Identity: Historical Models and New Configurations 1900-1940
  Session 1 Friday 11 October, 2019, -