Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.

Accepted Paper:

Witnessing the Past: Abdulla Qahhor’s Tales from the Past and Soviet Uzbek Self-Identification in 1930s-1960s  
Christopher Fort (American University of Central Asia)

Paper abstract:

This paper examines the final work of Soviet Uzbek author Abdulla Qahhor, Tales from the Past (O‘tmishdan ertaklar, 1965), an episodic autobiographical novella that, according to the author and his readers at the time, “unmasks” the evils of pre-Soviet Central Asia in order to justify the post-revolutionary Soviet state. The paper uses the example of Qahhor’s novella to argue that the author, and other Soviet Uzbek writers like him who wrote similar autobiographical pieces between the 1930s and 1960s, had another, less discussed goal with his autobiography: to publicly present himself as a Soviet citizen through the act of witnessing and suffering a cruel pre-Soviet past. With this, I suggest that Soviet Uzbek men of letters pioneered a mode of Soviet subjectivity parallel to the better-known subjectivity studied by Russianists. Whereas the Russian authors and public figures analyzed by the Soviet subjectivists typically represented themselves as revolutionaries who constantly struggled between the Marxist-Leninist dialectic poles of spontaneity and consciousness, Uzbek authors like Qahhor presented themselves in these narratives of the pre-Soviet past as passive witnesses, as Soviet new men awaiting the revolution in order to achieve self-actualization. The paper focuses on Qahhor’s Tales from the Past as particularly exemplary of this parallel mode of public self-representation, but I also demonstrate the popularity of witnessing as an act demonstrating Soviet citizenship among Uzbek authors throughout the 1930s and 1960s and tease out the origins of this form of witnessing in pre-Soviet Uzbek writing.

Panel REG05
Visions of Self and Community: tradition, modernity, and the negotiation of national and Soviet by Central Asian poets and writers
  Session 1 Friday 21 October, 2022, -