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Roundtable: Early Modern Kyrgyz Oral-derived Narrative Sources 
Daniel Prior (Miami University)
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Daniel Prior (Miami University)
Benjamin Storsved (Indiana University)
Arienne Dwyer (University of Kansas)
Benjamin Storsved (Indiana University)
Alia Levar Wegner (Miami University)
Daniel Prior (Miami University)
Language & Linguistics
Friday 15 October, 11:30-13:00 (UTC-4)

Roundtable Abstract

This panel reports on new progress and future prospects in an on-going project of research and scholarly capacity-building by an international team of specialists of early modern Central Asian history, verbal arts, languages, and manuscript sources. Our materials are oral-derived narrative sources in the Turki and Kyrgyz oral/literary milieu from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The manuscripts, housed mainly in the archives of the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic, open pathways of research on ethnic, regional, and Islamic identities; the intertwining of oral and written modes of transmitting knowledge about the past; Central Asian Turkic linguistic fluidities; and Central Asian nomads' experience of the Russian Empire. The narratives were created within networks of changing oral and written genres including history, genealogy, and epic poetry, and thus lie at the intersections of different interpretive trends where historians, linguists, paleographers, philologists, and scholars of oral tradition require each other's insights and methods to do sustained work. Our main concern is to protect and develop intellectual capacity in an area where post-Soviet gains have been meager and progress may soon become more difficult without directed intervention. With a recently awarded NEH Collaborative Research Grant, we are planning both face-to-face and digital interactions of the working group and a wider scholarly community. Beyond Kyrgyz, we intend for our research to become a resource for scholars of the broader Central Asian region interested in digital humanities, and a site for discussing systemic questions of language and field concentrations in Central Asian historical and philological studies in relation to source collections and research conditions.