Sunday, June 29, 2008

LECTURE- Tajikistan: Nationalism & Historiography, OSCE Office Dushanbe, June 3, 2008

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

LECTURE- Tajikistan: Nationalism & Historiography, OSCE Office Dushanbe, June 3

Posted by: Payam Foroughi <>

As part of its Open Lecture Series, the OSCE Office in Tajikistan presents:

Constructing a New Past: Nationalism and Historiography in Post-Soviet

By Professor Touraj Atabaki, Ledien University and International
Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.

Thursday, 3 July 2008, 4:15 PM
OSCE Office in Tajikistan
12 Zikrullo Khojaev St.
Dushanbe, Tajikistan
RSVP: Tels: 918-614250 /678551 or send message to:

Abstract: Changes in socio-cultural and political relationships in
post-Soviet Central Asia have manifested themselves, more than
anywhere, in the new perceptions of the national historiography of the
individual States. In the post-Soviet era, the birth of new political
cultures aiming to form modern states, among other things, have
crafted new national identities for the Uzbek, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik
and Turkmen. Writing national histories have developed into a
persuasive political project shaping a significant and unbroken link
with each nation's constructed past, and filling the gap between a
nation's supposed origin and its present day status and imagined
community. The formation of Tajikistan's modern historiography dates
back to the Soviet era. To study the criterion of the new school of
historiography, one thus needs to examine how far the Soviet
historiography has carried over into the post-Soviet Tajikistan. As an
example, one can refer to selected amnesia and acceptance of "Soviet
exceptionalism" or the recognition of an exclusive approach to history
from an elitist perspective in Soviet historiography, where the agency
in history is the elite, which in its multiplicity can be the secular
intelligentsia or political institutions. The aim of this Lecture is
to discuss the many different features in Tajik national
historiography such as the relationships between the processes of
state building and time, elites and subaltern, ethnicity, religion,
territory, centre and periphery, colonial conspiracy, Marxism, and
even gender. The Lecture will discuss the contributions of
Tajikistan's political discourse in writing its national history and
the crafted Tajik historiography in shaping the country's political

Bio: Touraj Atabaki is Professor of Social History of the Middle East
and Central Asia at Leiden University and Senior Research Fellow at
the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. Atabaki
studied Theoretical Physics (BS, MS) and History at the National
University of Iran and the University of London. He later worked at
Utrecht University in the Netherlands (MA, PhD). Atabaki has published
numerous articles on Iran, the Caucasus and Central Asia. His books
include Azerbaijan: Ethnicity and the Struggle for Powers in Iran
(London: I.B. Tauris, 1993); Beyond Essentialism: Who writes whose
Past in the Middle East and Central Asia? (Amsterdam: Aksant, 2003);
Post-Soviet Central Asia (Edited volume, London: I.B. Tauris, 1998);
Men of Order, Authoritarian Modernisation in Turkey and Iran
(co-edited with E. J. Zürcher, London: I.B. Tauris, 2004); Central
Asia and the Caucasus: Transnationalism and Diaspora (co-edited with
S. Mehendale, London and New York: Routledge, 2005); Iran and the
First World War: Battleground of the Great Powers (London: I.B.
Tauris, Forthcoming July 2006); and The State and the Subaltern:
Society and Politics in Turkey and Iran, (London: I.B. Tauris, 2007).
His more recent publication is an edited volume, Historiography and
Political Culture in Twentieth Century Iran, to be published later in
2008. Atabaki is currently working on projects focusing on issues of
ethnicity and historiography of everyday life and comparative
subaltern history in Iran and the southern tier of the Commonwealth of
Independent States. Aside from his academic life, among other things,
Atabaki has served as an OSCE Election Observer in presidential,
parliamentary, and municipal elections in Europe, Caucasus, and
Central Asia.

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