Tuesday, June 5, 2007

PUBL.- Book Signing, Paul Bergne, Birth of Tajikistan, June 19, SOAS

Distrib. by: Central-Eurasia-L - Announcement List for Central Eurasian Studies

PUBL.- Book Launch, Paul Bergne, Birth of Tajikistan, June 19, SOAS

Posted by: Jane savory <js64@soas.ac.uk>

Book Launch

Date: Tuesday, 19 June 2007
Time: 5:30pm
Venue: Khalili Lecture Theatre, Main Building, School of Oriental and
African Studies (SOAS), University of London, Thornhaugh Street,
Russell Square, London WC1H OXG

Title: 'The Birth of Tajikistan: National Identity and the Origins of
the Republic'
Author: Paul Bergne

Welcome and Introduction - Deniz Kandiyoti (SOAS)
Professor Edmund Herzig (University of Oxford)
Zuhra Halimova (OSI,Dushanbe)
Monica Whitlock (BBC)
Iradj Bagherzade (I.B. Tauris)

Followed by a reception (KLT lobby)

About the Book
When the Bolshevik Revolution broke out in October 1917, much of
Central Asia was still ruled by autonomous rulers such as the Emir of
Bukhara and the Khan of Khiva. By 1920 the khanates had been
transformed into People's Republics. In 1924, Stalin re-drew the
frontiers of the region on ethno-linguistic lines creating, amongst
other statelets, the Soviet Socialist Republic of Uzbekistan - the
land of the Uzbeks.

But the Turkic Uzbeks were not the only significant ethnic group
within the new Uzbekistan's frontiers. The Persian-speaking Tajiks
formed a considerable part of the population.

This book describes how, often in the teeth of Uzbek opposition, the
Tajiks gained, first an autonomous oblast (administrative region)
within Uzbekistan, then an autonomous republic, and finally, in 1929,
the status of a full Soviet Union Republic. Once the Tajiks had been
granted a territory of their own, their new government had not only to
survive the civil war that followed the revolution but then to build
an entirely new country in an immensely inhospitable terrain. New
frontiers had to be wrested from neighbours, and a new cultural
identity, 'national in form but socialist in content', had to be
created. The Birth of Tajikistan is the first documentation of how
the idea of a Tajik state came into being and offers a vivid history
of the birth of a nation.

Paul Bergne taught and researched the history and politics of Central
Asia at St Antony's College, Oxford, for more than a decade until his
death in April 2007. In 2001 he was the personal representative of the
Prime Minister Tony Blair in Afghanistan. Before that he served for
nearly forty years as a British diplomat and his last overseas posting
was as ambassador to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. He travelled widely in
the South Caucasus and Central Asian republics of the former Soviet
Union, and in Afghanistan.

Enquiries: Deniz Kandiyoti dk1@soas.ac.uk or Rahima Begum
rb41@soas.ac.uk ; Tel: 020 7898 4893

All Welcome (no booking required)

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