Backwardness and the Quest for Civilization: Early Soviet Central Asia in Comparative Perspective Author(s): Adeeb Khalid

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Backwardness and the Quest for Civilization: Early Soviet Central Asia in Comparative Perspective
Adeeb Khalid

Empire has shown up in curious ways in the post-Soviet historiography of Russia. Historians of tsarist Russia, a polity that actually called itself an empire, have been quite suspicious of the analytical work of postcolonial critique. Although some marvelously sophisticated works have appeared, there remains a general wariness that such comparative perspectives may dilute the historical specificity of the Russian case. In the words of one scholar, such concepts "should be applied with caution, if at all, to the Russian context." ' Scholars of the early Soviet period, on the other hand, less constrained by the conventions or limitations of a long historiographical tradition, have been more enthusiastic in their search for new theoretical perspectives. This search for broader horizons has led them to the shores of postcolonial discourse. The experience of a small number of European overseas empires (the British, French, and Dutch) of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has become the key to understanding the nature of the transformation Central Asia experienced in the early Soviet period. The case has been put forth most eloquently by Douglas Northrop. "The USSR," he writes, "like its Tsarist predecessor, was a colonial empire. Power in the Soviet Union was expressed across lines of hierarchy and difference that created at least theoretically distinct centers
Various versions of this paper were presented at the annual meetings of the Middle East Studies Association (San Francisco, 2001) and the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (Toronto, 2003), as well as at seminars at the University of California at Santa Barbara and Princeton University. I would like to thank audiences at all these venues for their probing questions; answering them has made this a better paper. I have also benefited from the insightful comments of Sergei Abashin, Laura Adams, Peter Blitstein, Adrienne Edgar, Howard Eissenstat, Parna Sengupta, two anonymous referees for Slavic Review, and Diane Koenker, its editor. The responsibility for the views expressed here is, of course, mine alone. 1. Nathaniel Knight, "Grigor'evin Orenburg, 1851-1862: Russian Orientalism in the Service of Empire?" Slavic Review 59, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 97. Knight is speaking specifically of the critique of orientalism first presented by Edward Said, but to the extent that Said's work underpins a great deal of postcolonial critique, Knight's suspicion extends to the latter as well. Other recent treatments of tsarist rule over Central Asia find little use for postcolonial literature in understanding the dynamics: see, for instance, Daniel Brower, Turkestanand the Fate of the Russian Empire (London, 2003), or Robert Crews, '"Alliesin God's Command: Muslim Communities and the State in Imperial Russia" (PhD diss., Princeton University, 1999). For an example of the sustained use of postcolonial literature to study tsarist Central Asia, see Jeffery Frank Sahadeo, "Creating a Russian Colonial Community: City, Nation, and Empire in Tashkent, 1865-1923" (PhD diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000). SlavicReview65, no. 2 (Summer 2006)

4. 2001). France. a much sexier topic than the history of cotton. and similarly liminal colonial elites. 'V poiskakh novoi imperskoi istorii.3 Empires have been ubiquitous in human history. The differences between these colonial empires and modern mobilizational states are substantial and confusing the two leads to a fundamental misunderstanding of modern history. which is where the colonial argument is the easiest to make.. Curative Powers: Medicine and Empire in Stalin's Central Asia (Pittsburgh. Douglas T. and empire-the the Netherlands in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. the Soviet remaking of Central Asia makes sense only as the work of a different kind of modern polity. and the finished goods were then sent back to Central Asia. 25. interventionist. Scholars who invoke postcolonial studies in the study of Central Asia have been much more interested in the cultural work of Soviet power. these empires were based on the perpetuation of difference between rulers and the ruled. see Ronald Grigor Suny. . Novaia imperskaiaistoriia postsovetskogo prostranstva: Sbornik statei (Kazan. Soviet economic planning turned the whole region into a gigantic cotton plantation in order for the USSR to achieve "cotton independence. My own research on Central Asia across the revolutionary divide leads me to opposite conclusions. I argue that while tsarist Central Asia was indeed directly comparable to other colonies of modern European empires. but see J.4 although there has been no shortage of attempts to arrive at one.. "The Empire Strikes Out: Imperial Russia. 22. a number of other scholars have seen early Soviet Central Asia through the prism of postcolonial studies. "Backwardnessand Biology: Medicine and Power in Russian and Soviet Central Asia. Doyle. Here I am entirely sympathetic to the misgivings aired by I. mobilizational state that seeks to sculpt its citizenry in an ideal image. is impossible to achieve. and Revival of Empires (New York. Empires (Ithaca. which foreclosed the possibility of the acqui2004). and Alexander J. 2. 24. early Soviet Central Asia cannot be understood as a case of colonialism. this appears to be a world turned upside down. Bloomington." in Ronald Grigor Suny and Terry Martin. 3. the USSR did have a somewhat comparable political. For definitions devised specifically to include the Soviet Union among empires. In terms of both the scope and the nature of state action. Put very crudely. . where it was processed. [While] it may not have been a classic overseas empire like that of the British or Dutch.. 2001). a parallel cultural agenda. equally applicable to all cases. the activist. Columbia University. . 1999). 2004). and they have varied greatly in their nature. eds."2 To the historian of Central Asia. "The 'Command-Administrative System' in Cotton Farming in Uzbekistan 1920s to Present" (Papers on Inner Asia 32. 1868-1934" (PhD diss. Imperial Ends: The Decay. 1986). and Theories of Empire. One might also note parenthetically the curiosity that there has been little interest in the economic relationship between Central Asia and the Soviet state. see Paula Michaels. While Northrop makes the colonial case most explicitly. A Stateof Nations:Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin (New York. 5. eds.. Collapse. and military structure. No comprehensive study of the Soviet cotton complex exists. A truly universal definition. Motyl. Indiana. is a peculiar kind of modern overseas colonial empires of Britain. Northrop. Michael Thurman. The work most often quoted in this regard is Michael W. Gerasimov et al. VeiledEmpire: Gender and Power in Stalinist Central Asia (Ithaca. 'National' Identity. Gerasimov et al." in I. or Cassandra Cavanaugh. .5 What the Soviet Union is compared to by the "postcolonial school" of Soviet history.. Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies.232 Slavic Review (metropoles) and peripheries (colonies). 2001)." The bulk of the cotton harvest was shipped to Russia. however. economic. 2003).

but colonial empires seldom used state power to transform societies. it left agrarian power in the hands of notables rather than embarking on significant land reform. on the other hand. The British Raj in India. 1895-1930 (Stanford. "Imperialism as the Highest Stage of Socialism. 2 (April 2000): 227-34. Modern mobilizational states. see Lata Mani. I hope. 1765-1843 (Chicago. Citizens of such states have borne enormous burdens of responsibility and obligation and have experienced transformations more massive than anything wrought by colonial empires. the practice of cremating widows with their deceased husbands among some groups in India. the Turkish Republic. 1997). 1998). but that seldom amounted to the intrusive state regulation we see in the mobilizational states of the twentieth century. mapped out the country's geography and its natural resources. cultures.6 Nevertheless. no.7 Modern mobilizational states have instead sought to cut through layers of intermediaries and to deal directly with their citizens. its classificatory apparatus reified caste and communal categories. have tended to homogenize populations in order to attain universal goals. describes how French ambitions of transforming West Africans subsided when it was discovered that this would require more than the construction of railways. and the economic relations it imposed vis-a-vis the metropole had a drastic effect on the lives of all the inhabitants of India.Early Soviet Central Asia in Comparative Perspective 233 sition of universal civilization by the native. 2001). The wholesale uprooting of local life in the name of bringing the natives up to a universal standard. In what follows. Gyan Prakash. A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa. Mapping an Empire: The Geographical Construction of British India. This argument is also made by Peter Blitstein in this issue and by Yuri Slezkine. 1997). 7. Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India (Princeton. ContentiousTraditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India (Berkeley. I compare it with tsarist Central Asia. Perhaps the most celebrated case of such a proscription in postcolonial literature is that of sati. and they have had no compunction about destroying traditions. . such as promising or enforcing universal education. it preferred dealing with "martial races" to conscription. First. to bring them into the orbit of politics-these not things colonial authorities concerned themselves with. clarify the differences between two distinctive kinds of polity and lead to other fruitful questions: Where does empire end and other forms of nonrepresentative or authoritarian polity begin? When can empire fruitfully be used in thinking about the forms of political inequality in the twentieth century? What are the specificities of colonial difference? 6. Dirks. Producing India: From Colonial Economy to National Space (Chicago. Nicholas B. Matthew H. The comparisons will. to show how Central Asia's relation to the center changed across the revolutionary years of 1917-1920.Colonial authorities might have proscribed individual customs or traditions. Manu Goswami. I develop this argument by placing early Soviet Central Asia in two different comparative perspectives. it did not aspire to the micromanagement of society. Alice L. Another Reason: Science and the Imagination of Modern India (Princeton. to force them to overcome their were own backwardness. 1999). Edney. Colonial conquest transformed colonized societies. I compare the transformations of the first two decades of Soviet rule to those that took place in the same years in another nascent mobilizational state." Russian Review 59. 2004). Second. for instance. Conklin. or individuals in the way attempted by the Soviet state.

but one fraught with all sorts of politics. The Republic of Turkey. nation and state building. The Rising Tide of CulturalPluralism: TheNation-Stateat Bay? (Madison. Russia and Her Colonies(London. but the new historiographies that have replaced it in the former Soviet Union have equally little interest in comparative study. Both emerged in warfare that prolonged the devastation of World War I and were profoundly marked by it. featuring state-led campaigns for the "emancipation" of women. although most of the scholarly literature was produced by the first group. 8." Post-Soviet Affairs 11. 1993).. The subjective dimension of the comparison. both regimes produced an official historiography that shared many elements: a glorious foundational moment and a larger-than-life founding figure. TheDecline of an Empire:The Soviet SocialistRepublics Revolt. TheLastEmpire: Nationalityand theSovietFuture(Stanford.. and a clear break from the past. Both the Soviet and the Kemalist regimes originated from the same phenomenon. MarkBeissinger. 1986). in 1979). no. These two categories of observers were not mutually exclusive. and secularization. trans. 1954). so that all connections to the old regime were downplayed. Both pursued shock modernization programs that involved mass mobilization. the collapse of the European imperial order in the flames of World War I.9 This changed during the last years of the Soviet Union. Mark Beissinger. ed. spreading literacy. most foreign observers generally accepted its claim to being a multiethnic state.8 While the Soviet Union existed. 2 (April-June 1995): 149-84. the elaboration of new literary languages. as Mark Beissinger has pointed out. and that self-definition has never seriously been questioned. and in the years since the Soviet collapse. See Sir Olaf Caroe. La Farge (New York. on the other hand. 9. Martin Sokolinsky and Henry A." in Crawford Young. ed. Finally. Those who described the Soviet Union itself as an empire tended to come from the political right or were exiles from or advocates of various non-Russian nationalities. as well as attempts at radical interventions in the realms of society and culture. political centralization. when all sorts of opposition groups used the vocabulary of empire to discredit the existing order. 1952). defined itself as the very opposite of the empire it succeeded. is always significant."Demiseof an Empire-State: and the DeIdentity. These two official historiographies located themselves in different class and nation-and narratives-of were therefore quite hostile to comparison with each other. .234 Slavic Review The Politics of Comparison The choice of comparative perspective is never an arbitrary decision. and Robert Conquest.Legitimacy. to which the founders remained unwaveringly loyal. the parallels between the Soviet and the Turkish cases are striking. but usually to describe the Soviet Union's domination of eastern Europe (Mongolia was usually forgotten). Nevertheless. The Soviet narrative has collapsed. Walter Kolarz. of course. The Kemalist narrative construction of Soviet Politics. leadership by a group with clearly defined goals. the use of a postcolonial critique of sorts has allowed new states in the post-Soviet space to distance themselves from the Soviet past. "The Persisting Ambiguity of Empire. Helene Carrere d'Encausse. Soviet Empire:The Turksof CentralAsia and Stalinism (London. The term Soviet empire was used extensively.

few have the linguistic skills to approach Soviet history with any degree of substance. I have emphasized the interconnections between intellectual currents in the two Ahmet empires in much of my work to date. RuJ3landmuslime Istanbul am Vorabend ErstenWeltkrieges des (Frankfurt am Main. Local cultural elites radicalized by the revolution played a significant. Turkestan as a Russian Colony Partha Chatterjee has argued that one hallmark of a modern colonial regime of power is the rule of colonial difference. disciplinary divisions further complicate the situation.see in Carter V Findley. Some of them had been educated in Istanbul. and in any case. Scholars working on Turkey are seldom interested in Soviet developments. Central Asian intellectuals were closely connected to intellectual currents in late-Ottoman society. in their turn. One last point is worth making. Holly Shissler. still casts a long shadow over our subject. The cultural history of early Soviet Central Asia simply makes no sense without accounting for local discourses of modernity that predated the revolution and that were intimately connected to Ottoman ones. The Turksin World History (New York. secularization in Turkey is treated very differently from secularization in Soviet Central Asia. the new postcolonial literature does nothing to question the Eurocentric framework within which Russian history has been understood since at least the eighteenth century." As I argue below. For the study of Central Asia. monopolizing school textbooks and urban spaces alike. the transformation of cultural and national identities in early Soviet Central Asia was not the work of the party-state alone. role. 2005)." we find. were also radicalized heirs to the same late-Ottoman debates. see also A. As far as Soviet Central Asia is concerned. but it has come under sustained assault in academic discourse. if not alwaysdominant." and "modernity" in twentiethcentury history. In comparing the USSR to European colonial empires. 11. and Volker Adam. The Kemalists. where the scholars who have done admirable archival work remain largely oblivious to developments in Turkey." "civilization. whereby "natives" are ex10. For an attempt to see the two transformations comparativeperspective. and many more saw the attempts by the Ottoman state to reshape itself as models to be followed." but rather to see with greater clarity the ideological work of "Europe. 2003). BetweenTwoEmpires: in Agaoglu and theNew Turkey(London. 2002). for instance. but it is now the object of our actors' desire rather than an unproblematic actor in its own right. Much of the work on Central Asia has been generated in the field of Russian history. to declare it "non-European.Asia in Comparative EarlySovietCentral Perspective 235 still reigns supreme in public life." The interconnections between Ottoman and Central Asian intellectual milieux are too often glossed (and hence dismissed) simply as "pan-Islamism" or "panTurkism.'0 In the literature. the Turkish case is pertinent for one other important reason. The result is that parallel developments are seldom recognized as such. "Europe. . The comparison to the nascent national state in Anatolia extends the horizons of Russian history in a new direction. This is not a move to exoticize the Soviet Union.

Mass. Turkestan was ruled under its own statute. into effect that tended to maintain-and heighten-colonial The protectorates of Bukhara and Khiva (a political status new to the Russian empire and modeled directly on the princely states of India) were left with internal autonomy. 1868-1920. The region was under the jurisdiction of the ministry of war. for natives cannot. See Radhika Viyas Mongia. achieve the civilization that legitimizes the empire in its own eyes. can never become modern and acquire universal human attributes."but this possibility was never opened up to natives as a group. Mobility: A History of the Passport. with the governor-general answerable only to the tsar. In the British case. nos. . religion. 1968). different colonial regimes held out the possibility that individual natives (the ?volues in French West Africa or British colonial subjects resident in Britain. But the Russian state had neither the desire nor the capability to assimilate the indigenous population or bring about radical cultural change.3 Colonial difference operated in Central Asia in a way it did nowhere else in the Russian empire. 14. with the possible exception of Siberia and the north (where the indigenous population was much smaller and did not pose a demographic threat to Russian dominance).. Seymour Becker. see Adeeb Khalid. in the end. 13. on the other hand. The Russian presence itself was thin and Russian administrators remained wary of this fact to the end. race came to be a significant marker distinguishing colonial subjects from one another.'4 In Turkestan. which tended to have a traditionalizing influence. "Society and Politics in Bukhara. In different contexts. rather than internal affairs. In Central Asia. Nationality. The rule of colonial difference also subverts self-proclaimed civilizing missions. Natives. Russia's Protectorates in Central Asia: Bukhara and Khiva. The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton." Public Culture11 (1999): 527-56. Colonies of settlement eventually acquired self-government (dominion status) well before decolonization swept the rest of the empire. The Russian conquest changed a great deal in the lives of Central Asians." CentralAsian Survey 19. for example) could come to be considered full "citizens. although locally the term tuzemtsy (natives) was used to describe them. 3-4 (2000): 367-96. many administrative practices modeled on the colonial experience of other empires were put difference. a two-tier system of administra12. the indigenous population was not subject to conscription. the "natives" were left simply as inorodtsy. Partha Chatterjee. On the traditionalizing impact of Russian rule in Bukhara. In general. As inorodtsy.236 Slavic Review empted from the universalist claims of the ruling order.. 16-27. The region was conquered very much in the context of imperial competition with other European powers at a time when imperial rule over "uncivilized" peoples was clearly seen as a hallmark of civilization. or race structures the political and social landscape of the colonial order so that the gap between the colonizer and the colonized cannot be bridged. rather. 1993). "Race. the social and political distance between the rulers and the ruled remained greater than anywhere else in the empire. The indigenous population was not incorporated into empirewide systems of social classification. 1865- 1924 (Cambridge. 2 Difference built on essentialized categories of civilization. as colonial subjects. They were incorporated into the broader imperial economy and made subject to new regimes of power.

The Provisional Government declared all subjects of the Russian empire to be free and equal citizens. The arguments for maintaining specificity (that is. Among the nomadic population. 2. 1 Social Revolution and the Conquest of Difference This colonial difference was destroyed by the February revolution. 16. rather than "Islamic law" (shariat). who set out to reintegrate Central Asia into the Russian state on a new basis. colonial difference) won out. and gave them all an equal right to vote. . which would allow economic life to progress. But ultimately. Adeeb Khalid. elected.15 The state was primarily concerned with the maintenance of law and order. or ethnicity. religion. but even those who argued for integrating Turkestan into the general structures of the empire had no wish to intervene forcefully in local social or cultural life. Brower. and their decisions were subject to review by Russian circuit courts. civic spirit or civil order. The former argued for the extension of Russian grazhdanstvennost'. Among the settled population. Central Asia was important to the Bolsheviks both as a source for cotton and as the gateway to "the East. and mainly military personnel who emphasized the region's peculiarities and argued for its exemption from empirewide institutions. Turkestan and the Fate of the Russian Empire. into the region. indirectly. But it was the Bolsheviks. 1998). which would make the native population into ordinary subjects of the empire and result in its rapprochement (sblizhenie) to the Russians. But the point is that the state recognized the native population as different and institutionalized that difference in legal practice. with their relentlessly universalist project of social revolution. The Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform: Jadidism in Central Asia (Berkeley. Daniel Brower has highlighted the continual debate between enlightened bureaucrats. Judicial affairs too remained largely in local hands. a tribal elder who adjudicated according to customary law (adat). who sought to integrate Turkestan and its inhabitants into the empire on general principles of rule. but they were not competent to hear cases involving documents written in Russian or cases involving non-Muslims. regardless of sex. The latter based their case on the innate "fanaticism" of the natives and pleaded for the maintenance of regulations specific to the region." where it was fated to ignite the colonial revolution that would undermine the rule of the bourgeoisie in Europe and usher in the revolution that had failed to materialize in the immediate aftermath of the October revolution. in which the lowest level of administration continued to be staffed by local functionaries who worked in local languages.Early Soviet Central Asia in Comparative Perspective 237 tion took shape. Needless to say. a judge every county and every city neighborhood (qazi). just as they subtly altered the status of qazi and biy. native justice was provided by the biy. chap. The jurisdiction of the qazis was strictly defined by law: they could sentence people to arrest for up to eighteen months or assess a fine of up to 300 rubles. social rev15. these administrative practices crystallized the distinction between adat and shariat.

See Sheila Fitzpatrick.238 Slavic Review olution required no justification. Stalin. See Michael David-Fox. Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union (Ithaca. thought the most important tasks of Soviet power in "the East" were "to raise the cultural level of [its] backward peoples. Following the usage coined by Sheila Fitzpatrick. The national form would not remain unchanged in this process of social revolution. "backwardness" turned into an official category and brought with it both stigma and possible rewards. 2001). to the extent that the utopia-were Bolsheviks took the existence of ethnic ("national") difference as a given. Uzbek peasants would eat with a knife and fork sitting at the table. Flint and D. Michael David-Fox. Terry Martin. no. "What Is Cultural Revolution?" Russian Review 58. Mishchenko. V. it is impossible to understand developments of the early Soviet period. "Nashi zadachi na Vostoke. but the future that beckoned humanity was universal. F. The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union. P. Tait (London. to build a broad system of schools and educational institutions. 1997). 2005). The Soviet project was one of cultural revolution. 126-32.'8 The achievement of progress would usher in many specifically European cultural forms. I. CulturalRevolutionin Russia. Curiously for devoted materialists.. 2 (April 1999): 181-201. 8-40. . had fantasized of 17. oral and printed. This sense of cultural revolution was superbly captured by Rene Fiilop-Miller. What will different national groups look like when they arrive at their final destination? Eventually. 18. the governor-general. they also ended up facing the question of the relationship between the universal and the national. Armed with a vision of the plasticity of human culture and. F. 2 March 1919. of human nature. chap. S. the answer was deceptively simple: all groups will remain national in form but will acquire a universal socialist content. the Bolsheviks construed backwardness in cultural as much as economic terms. In 1909. in the language that is native to and understood by the surrounding laboring population. indeed. 19. the Soviet project aimed at the conquest of difference. As Terry Martin has shown. I. Soviet agitation. without invoking this broader understanding of the term. which took upon itself the task of ushering humanity to its final destination. the party-state was able and willing to use methods of mobilization and coercion that its tsarist predecessor could scarcely have imagined.. 1923-1939 (Ithaca. the Anglophone historiography of the USSR uses the term cultural revolutionfor a very specific campaign by the party to seize control of cultural and scientific institutions between 1929 and 1932. for it led to a higher stage in the evolutionary path that all humanity was destined to tread. 1928-1931 (Bloomington. Iosif Stalin. "CulturalRevolution as Class War. Certain cultural features would remain. 1927). Francine Hirsch. and adopt "civilized" norms of social intercourse. writing in 1919 as people's commissar for nationalities affairs. Revolution of the Mind: Higher Learning among the Bolsheviks (Ithaca.. trans. Still. and to conduct .'I' The agent of this revolution was to be the Soviet party-state. wear European clothing."'7 Much about the national cultural form had to be transformed if backwardness were to be overcome. In the name of this universalism."in Sheila Fitzpatrick. Soviet leaders used the term in a much more expansive sense. The Mind and Face of Bolshevism: An Examination of Cultural Life in Soviet Rus- sia. 5." Pravda. The ends of Soviet of a classless rule-the building of socialism and the achievement common to all Soviet citizens. 1978). ed.

22. The Bolshevik commitment to conquer difference also resonated with local elites eager to transform their society in a modernist vein. Genis. would bring home to the natives the necessity and benefit of Russian dominion [and] make them equal Russian citizens. Their reform agenda was elaborated in the context of Muslim modernism and had nothing to do with Marx or Marxism. no. They sought nothing less than the remaking of human nature. and this flight of fancyaside. but further radicalization.chap. 2001. is against public opinion [afkori umumiya] and creates discord among Muslims. eds. saw the problem as a dialectic between modernity and authenticity: the nation had to be made more modern and more authentic at the same time. We need to enter into [such reforms] graduP.4 March 1909. although the way the Jadids imagined their nation was in flux until 1917. Khalid. such goals were hopelessly modest. . They had arisen as a self-conscious group espousing reform in the two decades before the collapse of the old order.Early Soviet Central Asia in Comparative Perspective 239 a network of schools that would "train the natives so that they would consider themselves Russian citizens from their earliest years.. but it also subverted them by claiming for the native the ability to achieve progress and civilization. 2. 20. This "top secret"memorandumis largelya meditationon the thinnessof Russianrule in Turkestan.op. a leading Jadid figure. Tsenarkhiv f. "say. Eisener."20 For the Soviets.. "Nationalizing the Revolution: The Transformation of Jadidism. [as well as] create for them economic conditions that would lead them to prosperity-and taken as a whole.. "Bor'bavokrug reform v Bukhare: 1917 god. After that. See Adeeb Khalid. Mishchenko to Minister of War. The Russian revolution and the broader geopolitical transformation of the world further convinced them of the futility of exhortation and gradualism as modalities of change. This replicated many orientalist conceits embedded in the colonial order. tral'nyi gosudarstvennyi RespublikiUzbekistan. see Khalid. 11-12:18-37. V L. geography. or in the position of women. 'Rapid change in methods of education. no." Vostok. for the sake of brevity I will refer to them simply as the Jadids. but in the mobilizational politics of 1917." in Suny and Martin. give them information about Russian history. Before 1917. 1-2. For detailed accounts of the conflicts of 1917..2' The nation. Jadidism became primarily a nationalist project. 4:131-44 and no. etc. "Bukharav 1917 godu. 369." Abdurauf Fitrat (1886-1938).22 The Jadid project.is full of the usualcomplaintsabout the lack of financialand personnel resourcesthat preventedRussianrule being establishedon firmerfooting. they discovered that they could not convert their enthusiasm for change into political influence or votes. 5:75-92. 23. did not care for their vision of change. Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform. The "nation"(millat) had alwaysbeen a central feature ofJadid thought. Governor-General I. The February revolution opened up vast new possibilities for theJadids. when an ethnic understanding of it rapidly displaced all others. wrote in 1920. A Stateof Nations.. like most nationalisms. 8." Voprosy istorii. in language and orthography. Although this was a complex group.21 The nation had to achieve progress in order to survive and take its place in the world with dignity.7ob. 1994. "Many among us. d. 21. 156-59. The result was not a retreat into moderation. R. theJadids had argued their case through exhorting their compatriots to action. it turned out. Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform. 1917-1920. 1.

"'Tadrij'gaqorshu. and of orthography. S. There is not a thought. The theater exploded with activity. William Fierman. It too was discussed in terms of nation and progress. A serious study of early Soviet theater remains to be undertaken. 26. although they saw revolution in national. above all. The written language had been in flux for the previous two decades. B." Tong. but now the process of reform began in earnest. which became a major preoccupation of the Jadids in the early 1920s. [Abdurauf] Fitrat. We have a general majority ["umum" ko 'pchilik]. Iazykovoe stroitel'stvo v Tadzhikistane. The thoughts that our majority has today are not its own. . The clearest evidence of the burst of energy in the realm of theater lies in the newspapers of the time. kicking and screaming if need be. I have made this point at greater length in Khalid. "No change can take hold until the mind is changed" (Miya o 'zgarmaguncha boshqa o'zgarishlar negiz tutmas). 1920-1940 gg. But it was in this period that they emerged with particular clarity. . 3 (15 May 1920): 78-80.25 They flocked into the new organs of power and threw their energies into a number of projects of cultural transformation. and new poetry and journalism came into existence. The young poet Botu (1904-1938) made the connection between modernity and orthographic reform most vividly. 25. and in the Russian empire and had long been on the agenda of Central Asian Jadids. 1991). not a word that emerges from these people's own minds.] no good can come from gradualness. as authors coined new words and usages with the twin goals of making the language more national and more modern."2 This in turn gave new urgency to questions of the reform of the written language. Local intellectuals also poured their energies into the creation of a self-consciously modern and "revolutionary" native culture. At the first conference called to discuss the issue. but it has no opinion.. in which they opened many new schools and established courses to train teachers to staff them. the Middle East. This continued all through the difficult years of the civil war. to bring it closer to everyday speech. a revolution of the mind.27 Language reform also involved a reform of orthography. 1982). The nation had to be dragged into the modern world. [Given all this.' [The problem is that] the thing called 'public opinion' does not exist among us..no. "Nationalizing the Revolution. Language Planning and National Development: The Uzbek Experience (Berlin." 153-56. the process created new written languages for Kyrgyz. but are only the thoughts of some imam or oxund [Sufi master]. and imposed. and Karakalpak and codified Uzbek and Tajik as modern languages. he took the fringe position of supporting Latin24. The masthead of the journal in which Fitrat wrote carried the slogan.240 Slavic Review ally. and into the 1920s. not class terms. The enthusiasm of the revolution created a new surge of activity among the Jadids. Asimova. Turkmen. 27. (Dushanbe. Although it was to go through a number of twists and turns over the next two decades."24 They came to be fascinated by the idea of the revolutionary transformation of society. sudden. with quite a bit of the funding coming from soviets in the "old" cities. Change had to be radical. These are both questions generic to a vast array of nationalist movements in central Europe. and it was to be.

Using arguments from the Islamic tradition itself. 22-23. chap. The Soviets also created local cadres who would be more ideologically reliable and trustworthy. The drive for Latinization throughout the Soviet Union was spearheaded by Azeri intellectuals. Their main concerns were education. and whose vision of change would be less contaminated by prerevolutionary notions of change. 1921yilyonvorida birinchi til bo'lgan chiqorgan gqarorlari (Tashkent. Michael G. polygyny. It was the structures created by the new regime (state-funded schools. 139-43. to catch the train of progress].1922). the Jadids were part of an uneasy collaboration with the Soviet regime. The population had to be mobilized by the new institutions. und 29. Language and Power in the Creation of the USSR. Tribal Nation: The Making of Soviet Turkmenistan (Princeton. Ultimately. Kamp. 2004). In 1928. The New Woman in Central Asia: Islam. 6. the Jadids emerged as major proponents of changing women's position in Muslim society. "The backwardness of a nation is the backwardness of its script. it was this class that displaced the Jadids from public life and all too often consigned them to death during the Terror. child marriage. a print sphere immune to market forces. These served as outlets for propaganda and showpieces for the new order the Bolsheviks hoped to establish.Early Soviet Central Asia in Comparative Perspective 241 ization. film. sending out teams armed with posters. On Latinizationin the USSR.see IngeborgBaldauf. the Jadids had argued for changing the position of women in local society. 30. the first results of an ongoing research project on the transformation of Central Asia in the . but it also had to be taught new ways of thinking about politics. The [Latin] script speeds up progress in the same way. and the Unveiling of Uzbek Women (Seattle. they had argued that the progress of Islam and the nation required that women be educated and that they take an active part in public life. you get there faster by car than on foot. who managed to channel the Soviet state's concerns about overcoming backwardness into the question of orthographic reform. 1993). Affirmative Action Empire. After the revolution. increasingly. Adrienne Edgar.2'9 The Jadids also took on the question of the place of women in society. Since before the revolution.Schriftreform Schriftwechsel bei den muslimischen Russland. 1998). newspapers. Red Yurts. but an imminent possibility. new organs of political authority) that had set both the limits and possibilities of Jadid activity in the early 1920s. in very condensed form. Latinization was no longer a fringe position. This and the following four paragraphs represent. to propagate the new political message."28 By 1927. see Marianne R. A network of Red Teahouses. 31. "If you are going to the railway station [presumably. the Soviet Project. all Central Asian languages switched to the Latin script. and. 5. and theater. But the Soviet regime had its own goals that had to be achieved through a massive mobilization of the population. and Red Corners sprang up at many points in the region. 1917-1953 (Berlin."' In all of this. unveiling.31 o'lkao'zbek va imloqurultoyining 28.und Sowjettiirken (1850-1937): Ein Symptom ideengeschichtlicher und kulturpolitischer Entwicklungen (Budapest. forthcoming). Smith. chap. On Central Asian debates over the position of women." he argued. It spent a great deal of energy on political education. Martin.

driven partly by the economic crisis and partly by the hostile political environment. many of the relevant archives are still closed to researchers. To Moscow. many died or were killed.. now that the party-state had taken Central Asia directly from feudalism to socialism. 11. Shoshana Keller.33 It was this path that led the party to the hujum. and then in the rest of the republic.but otherwisemade no attemptat comprehensivecitationof all archivalsources. They had long been reviled both for being relics of a superstitious past that had now been superseded and for being class enemies of the revolution and the oppressors of the toiling masses. The parting of the ways came at the first Uzbek conference of workers in the fields of culture and education in January 1926. d. and the chachvon." which began to be shut down. others "fell silent. denounced the Jadids as mouthpieces of the local bourgeoisie. Now. and theJadids were prised out of their jobs and. not Mecca: The Soviet Campaign against Islam in CentralAsia. f. But by the time the antireligious campaign slowed down in 1932. Along with schools and courts went the mosques. had become reactionary and had cast its lot with English imperialism. the party-state felt secure enough in its power in the region to transform the tempo of change and to launch an all-out assault on traditional society. waqf property confiscated and redistributed. op.32 No mercy could be shown such counterrevolutionary agents of English imperialism. soon after. and qazi courts abolished. when Akmal Ikramov (1898-1938). in general. religious scholars who were the carriers of the learned tradition of Islam. in 1927." With old-method schools and madrasas closed.242 Slavic Review By 1926. The assault on traditional society was ferocious and destructive. the outright assault on the paranji. first in the Tashkent region. See. they too were systematically shut down and their property confiscated. . Conn. Their number had already shrunk.47-55. The Jadids now came to be derided as "old intellectuals" whose time was past.1917-1941 (Westport. and much still remains to be learned about these campaigns. but the years between 1927 and 1929 saw a sustained campaign of closures and destruction directed against them. the patterns through which Islam had been transmitted in Central Asia were largely destroyed. the first secretary of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan. and which together constituted the dress of modest women among the sedentary populations of the region. The text of Ikramov's speech can be found in Rossiiskiigosudarstvennyi sotsial'no-politicheskoi istorii. 62. 2. which. institutions of higher Islamic learning. 33. 734. As Keller points out. a veil of woven horsehair that completely covered the face. 2001). Qazi courts were similarly quickly suppressed. I havecited existingliterature. arkhiv 32. For both theJadids and the Bolsheviks. the heavy cotton robe that came down to the ankles. over the next several years. It began with a "struggle against the old-style school. and property belonging to religious endowments (waqf) was nationalized. arrested or executed. thousands of ulama had been arrested and sent off to atone for the sins of their social origin in forced labor camps. The same fate befell the madrasas. A few mosques had been closed earlier in the decade and their buildings given over to "socially useful" purposes. the earlySovietperiod. The same fate awaited the ulama. where their number was smaller.

The party established a women's section (the Zhenotdel). The impact of collectivization on Central Asia has attracted surprisingly little attention. New Woman in Central Asia. there were cases of women abandoning the veil and appearing in public places (including the theater).Early Soviet Central Asia in Comparative Perspective 243 paranji-chachvon was a hazard to women's health. continued to wear the paranji and chachvon. and the lives and livelihoods of its inhabitants. 6-8. Kamp. On Uzbekistan. quloqlashtirish. surgun (Tashkent. The hujum was the culmination of a decade-long effort to transform society in which both the Soviets and the Jadids had participated. international women's day and the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the Russian revolution." Cahiersdu monderusse 45. 2001). 1-2 (2004): 137-92. Niccol6 Pi- anciola. burned them. Rustambek Shamsutdinov. marginalized sections of society-girls women who had abandoned abusive husbands. Here I differ from Gregory Massell. 2003). O'zbekistonda sovetlarning quloqlashtirish siyosati va uningfojeali oqibatlari (Tashkent. 1928-1934. as Douglas Northrop.37 The Turkish Mirror Parallels for the kind of transformation attempted by the Soviet state in Central Asia are not to be found in the annals of European overseas em34. Northrop. 36. The story of the hujum. see Rustambek Shamsutdinov. in addition to being both the symbol and the means of their oppression and degradation.": To my mind. had been utterly transformed. During the early 1920s. on Kazakhstan. We still need to learn a great deal about collectivization. "Famine in the Steppe: The Collectivization of Agriculture and the Kazak Herdsmen. . Although the condemnation of Muslim gender norms played a central role in the legitimation of the imperial order. 1974). the fact that the hujum failed to achieve its goals in the short term (which it did) is less important than the fact that the campaign took place at all. chaps. It was an indication of new kinds of power being deployed for the bold aim of remaking society. 35. Qishlog fojeasi:Jamoalashtirish.35 Adrienne Edgar points out. who sees in it a clear case of colonialism. 1919-1929 Veiled Empire. the hujum had little in common with the practice of British or French colonial empires in the Muslim world. the Zhenotdel organized a series of mass meetings in which thousands of women cast off their veils and. the violent reactions against women and the state that it provoked. and even those engaged in political work. and Northrop. but most women who worked. there could also be no question that the campaign was successful in its aims. largely from who had run away from home. the colonial rulers showed little interest in wholesale transformation of those norms or of the social and legal order in which they existed. that of collectivization. and its abandonment in the face of short-term failure has been ably told by Yet. VeiledEmpire. and unlike the hujum. no. Revolutionary Strategies in Soviet Central Asia. but there is no question that by 1938 the economy of the region. and so on-but the results were meager.34 On 8 March 1927.who both see the hujum as the beginning of serious intervention in society. which attracted numerous indigenous women. The Surrogate Proletariat: Moslem Women and (Princeton. in many cases. The same aim underlay the next campaign visited upon Central Asia. 37.

The common good could only be achieved through the actions of the state. Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchukuo and the East Asian Modern (Lanham. but no sooner had Anatolian forces taken Istanbul than they abolished the Ottoman dynasty and replaced it with the republic. Md." in Craig Calhoun. uniform civil code. Frederick Cooper. leading their populations on a forced march to progress and development. See also Erik J.244 Slavic Review pires. ed. and outlawing religious garb from all places except mosques. equipped with modern means of mobilization and coercion. of still retains its importance and has been reissued several times. (London. Britain and France both gave priority to "colonial development" but this proved to be a brief phase. the subjugation of religion to the state. as happened in the Soviet Union. Lessons ofEmpire: Imperial Histories and American Power (New York. The Kemalist revolution in Turkey was also a state-led cultural revolution that reshaped the contours of local culture and identity quite as thoroughly as in Central Asia.39 But the legal fiction that bestowed sovereignty upon Manchuria makes this case more relevant to the USSR's eastern European satellites after World War II than to Central Asia. 2004). TheEmergence Modern Turkey(London. "Modernizing Colonialism and the Limits of Empire. 2003). the state opted for laicism. The state acted against other religious institutions. On the other hand.40 The war was ostensibly fought to "liberate" the sultan from the captivity of the victorious forces. Prasenjit Duara. The reforms described in this and the following paragraph are treated in a number of excellent surveys. A new. 1961). while military success created an enormous storehouse of legitimacy for the new regime. Bernard Lewis. patterned on that of Switzerland. eds. whose task it was to regulate religious observance and education throughout the country. before the expense involved made decolonization look much the better option. There was no outright assault on Islam. which remained an integral part of the Soviet state. Frederick Cooper. first banning Sufi lodges (tekke) in eastern Anatolia in the aftermath of a Kurdish rebellion. instead. . Top Hat. 2006). then extending the ban to the whole country. rev. The new Turkish republic made all Islamic religious activity subject to the supervision of a directorate of religious affairs. Military mobilization created new structures of power. The first transformations came in the political realm. and Kevin W. twentieth-century history is replete with cases of states.38 Interwar Japanese imperialism in Manchuria. Zflrcher. In the aftermath of World War II. represents a closer parallel. The Kemalist regime emerged out of the mass mobilization of the population of Anatolia in the course of the "War of Liberation.. was 38. Imams thus became government functionaries and mosques came under the control of the state. and Hugh Poulton.. 39. Grey Wolf and Crescent: Turkish Nationalism and the Turkish Republic (New York. Turkey: A Modern History. Moore. underwritten by the rhetoric of a common cause against the global status quo (here. as the new regime moved to curtail the influence of Islam and its carriers from the political realm. racial solidarity and anticolonialism) and featuring considerable investment and the modernization of infrastructure. 40. which it used over the next two decades to transform the country. 1997)." the military struggle to undo the terms of the Armistice.

this had the effect of abolishing the authority of the shariat over civil matters. and Sunday became the weekly holiday in 1934. and partially achieved by the end of the old regime. ultimately. Islam was to be nationalized: In 1933. see Elizabeth Brown Frierson. Ag^h Slrri Levend. which. Atatfirk's positivist views of science (a product of his late-Ottoman upbringing) led him to inveigh against "primitive" folk practices. 1996). The usual nationalist concerns with language and orthography appeared center stage on the state's agenda. 42. For Muslims." in PatrickWilliamsand LauraChrisman. "Civilization. 434." Atatiurk once noted during the campaign to introduce the hat as mandatory headgear for men. the regime evoked the pre-Islamic past as the true repository of authentic national values and saw the rejection of the Ottoman and Islamic heritage as a "return" to the original values of the nation. Colonial Discourse Post-Colonial and A Theory: Reader (NewYork. This meant distancing the nation from Islam and the Ottoman past. Law courts that functioned on the basis of the shariat were simply abolished and replaced by state courts. Its thinking came directly from late-Ottoman debates and was couched in terms of "civilization.. he thought. whether it liked it or not. "Unimagined Communities: State. would have no place in the enlightened future. The Kemalist regime also dealt with the dialectic between the modern and the national. Princeton University. 2000). The simplification of the written language to bring it closer to everyday speech had been debated since at least the 1870s. 43. and the forced secularization of national culture continues to be the most tangible legacy of the Kemalist era. the 41. 1960)." which Ottoman intellectuals had long used without quotation marks. 1908-1911 (Albany. The Kemalist project always saw its foil as "religious reaction" (dine irtica). AndrewMango. and Gender in the Hamidian Era" (PhD diss. The republic now charged itself with undoing the work of history and bringing the Turkish nation back to its rightful place. As the nation came to be defined ethnically."42 It was Islam and the Ottoman past that had intervened to distance the Turkish nation from its authentic place in Europe. the state decreed that the call to prayer was to be in Turkish. N. but it solved the problem with ruthless efficiency. Press. and Palmira Brummett. Press."41 The nation had to be led to civilization. "The 'modern' was thus often justified as the more 'authentic' and discontinuity presented as continuity. (Ankara. On the press of the late-Ottoman period.2000). As Deniz Kandiyoti has noted. 379..1994). Image and Imperialism in the Ottoman Revolutionary . "is a fearful fire which consumes those who ignore it.Early Soviet Central Asia in Comparative Perspective 245 introduced in 1926 to replace the existing welter of civil legislation that had allowed members of different religious communities to live under the civil law of their particular community.eds. all religion). TiirkDilinde Geliymeve SadelesmeEvreleri. 2d ed. and the Qur'an was translated into Turkish for the first time.Atatiirk (Woodstock. Language had also increasingly become entangled with questions of national authenticity and progress. The common era calendar was adopted in 1925.43 With the establishment of the republic.. "Identityand Its Discontents: Women and the Nation. such as shrine visits (and. Deniz Kandiyoti.Y.

under the auspices of the quasi-official Turkish Language Society. Typically. a few months after the Latinization of Turkic languages was accomplished in the Soviet Union. There were many defenders of the old script. religious schools were abolished. who pointed to Japan to argue that orthography was not the sole reason for lack of progress or illiteracy.246 Slavic Review question came to the fore. 2001).46 Education and political mobilization occupied a central spot in the Kemalist agenda. a sustained process of change led to the purging of vocabulary and grammatical borrowings from Arabic and Persian and to the creation of new terms. religious teaching removed from the curriculum. the state took over the existing Turkish Hearths (Turk Ocaklari). Critics charged that the Arabic script was inadequate for representing Turkish sounds and thus an obstacle to progress. feelings. to be sure. 47. 66-83. and charged them with spreading political education and raising the cultural level of the masses. Although the excesses of Oztfirk-e receded fairly quickly. 1991).45 But such cosmopolitan arguments stood little chance against the passions of the spokesmen for the nation. the law ushering in Latinization (Tilrk Harflerinin Kabulu ve Tatbiki HakkmndaKanun) spoke of the adoption of "Turkish. The actual compilation of the Latin alphabet and its implementation took all of three months in 1928 under the personal attention of Mustafa Kemal. 179-213. In the early 1930s. Quoted by Sibel Bozdogan. Turkish Architectural . the language reform succeeded not only in bringing the written language closer to the spoken version but in transforming both."not Latin letters. 45. including the great Turkish-Jewish scholar Avram Galante. Arabi Harfleri Terakkimize Mani Degildir (Istanbul. among other things. Elifbe'den Alfabe'ye: Tiirkiye'de Harf ve YazzMeselesi (Istan- bul. so that the Turkish spoken today bears little resemblance to what it was on the eve of the republic. Avram Galanti. All education was brought under state supervision. this process was taken to new extremes with the creation of pure Turkish (Oztiirkfe) derived only from Turkic sources."47 In 1931. Turkish Language Reform. turned them into People's Houses (Halkevleri). 1992).44 The debate over orthography also appeared in the public with new urgency in the early republic. who pushed through a new Latin alphabet in record time in 1928. The modern was by definition national. Geoffrey Lewis. Turkish Language Reform: A Catastrophic Success (Oxford. All through the 1920s. see Lewis. Rekin Ertem. The People's Houses were self-consciously modeled on nationalist political education institutions of contemporary central Europe. and higher theological education was placed under state authority. For ac- counts of the debates in the early republic on the question of orthography. but as 44. Modernism and Nation-Building: Culture in the Early Republic (Seattle. Education was the great hope for the future of the state and the nation. Turkish was "Turkicized" with the expulsion of words of alien origin and their replacement with neologisms coined from "authentic" Turkic sources. to take on the mission of "training the people" (halk terbiyesi). Tiurk YazzDevrimi(Ankara. and some considerable effort went into establishing a network of (secular) elementary schools. 46. 1927). and Bilil N. 94. But the state went beyond that. which meant. Simsir. 1999). and desires of individuals will fully coincide with national ideals. which had been established during the Young Turk period as nationalist clubs. "the cultivation of the spirit in such a way that the thinking.

the creature suffering inside this elected prison has to be the object less of our pity than our anger. theater. Family. This came along with new modes of propriety." he told his party two years later. Holly Shissler. this was essential to the cultural reorientation he desired. "The veil: this black robe of death. 51. which abolished the fez (which Mahmud II had adopted a century earlier as a modernizing gesture) and made the wearing of the brimmed hat mandatory for men. 7. chap. A SpeechDelivered by Ghazi Mustapha Kemal (Leipzig. The state's ideal of a modern woman was one who was unveiled and clad in "Western" dress. 1991). 52. Quoted by Bozdogan. 1 (2004): 107-22. gave women the right to civil divorce. A. 49. and sport. established minimum ages for marriage for both men and women. . When you add to all of these the face veil. in 1935. "This black cloth which blocks all the healthy rays of the sun and transmits only its heat is the enemy of health. banned polygyny.Early Soviet Central Asia in Comparative Perspective 247 David Hoffmann reminds us. Its color and its unaesthetic shape are additional offenses to the sight. For a useful overview. "Gentlemen."Comparative Studiesof SouthAsia."' and new constructions of marriage (companionate) and family (nuclear). 84. Modernismand Nation-Building.48 The activities of People's Houses included teaching peasants a cappella singing. and introducing the masses to classical music. esp. One of the first reforms was the Hat Law of 1925. and "Western" forms of culturedness and sociability were crucial to the mission of the republic."'51 The new civil code established that only civil weddings would be recognized as legal. The veil was never outlawed. 1929)." wrote Ali Ridvan. the customary headdress of the whole civilised world.52 48. and to adopt in its place the hat. Women's enfranchisement began with the right to vote in local elections in 1930 and was made complete with the right to vote for and be elected to the Grand National Assembly in 1934. "it was necessary to abolish the fez. Africa and theMiddleEast 24. Istanbul Households:Marriage."49 The same set of concerns put the question of women at the center of the Kemalist project. no. 50. 721-22. Alan Duben and Cem Behar. Hoffmann. of fanaticism. Mustafa Kemal. The ambiguous legacy of Kemalist reforms for women has provoked a massive literature in recent years. "BeautyIs Nothing to Be Ashamed Of: Beauty Contests as Tools of Women's Liberation in Early Republican Turkey. organizing "Western" style (alafranga) balls. This too was a debate that predated the establishment of the regime. but it was turned into a sign of backwardness in ways that are starkly reminiscent of the Soviet denunciation of the paranji. but which the Kemalist regime solved in a radical way. 1880-1940 (Cambridge. new notions of beauty (the first Turkish beauty pageant took place in 1929). which sat on our heads as a sign of ignorance. such civilizing missions were commonplace in interwar Europe. a medical doctor. Stalinist Values:The CulturalNorms of SovietModernity. 2003). and equalized inheritance for sons and daughters. which reminds one of the tortures of the Inquisition. Eng. David L. For Kemal. "Raising the Turkish people to the level of contemporary civilization" was a major Kemalist goal. and Fertility.19171941 (Ithaca.. ended the Islamic freedom of unilateral divorce for men. of hatred to progress and civilisation.

"The Project of Modernity and Women in Turkey. 9553. See Ussama Makdisi. 54. the Ottoman state elites sought to centralize and modernize in order to strengthen the state and to ward off its disintegration. and Selim Deringil. The Ottoman state came to reinvent itself as a modern colonial empire." NWSAjournal 15. Ye?im Arat. no. Modernization. the population of Anatolia was heterogeneous. and the Turkish Republican Woman. 3 (2002): 768-96." Comparative Studies in Society and History 45. Arat." eminist Studies 13. The state intruded ever more forcefully into the lives of its subjects as it sought to turn them into a citizenry that would be easier to mobilize. ed. organize. although much recent scholarship has emphasized the extent to which this project succeeded.. ethnic. 1997)."AmericanHistoricalReview 107. "State Feminism. 1908). A Nation ofEmpire: The Ottoman Roots of Turkish Modernity (Berkeley." in Sibel Bozdogan and Regat Kasaba. eds. which overturned existing patterns of life for millions of people. Rethinking Modernity and National Identity in Turkey (Seattle. especially during the absolutist rule of Abdfilhamid II (1878toman centralization appears similar to the Soviet project. 2004) . and Zehra F. 1876-1909 (London. the Turkish Republic created the Turkish nation. while Central Asia was reshaped by "foreign. Ilber Ortayh." the tortured history of Ottoman reform from Kiudik Kaynarca on. at the same time as it ignores the role the nation played in the Soviet project. Turkey.248 Slavic Review States and Revolutions The Kemalist revolution has its roots in the transformations of the "longest century of the empire.. The Ottoman state faced many obstacles in pursuing its goals. 2 (1987): 317-38. Selim Deringil. the Ot112. outside" Bolsheviks motivated by an internationalist ideology. In many ways. Deconstructing Images of "The Turkish Woman" (London.54 The reforms of the 1920s and the 1930s were carried out against the will of the majority of the people and involved substantial amounts of violence. Official Kemalist historiography posits a complete break from the Ottoman past. were radicalized political elites wielding the power of the state as it had not been wielded before. 1983). "'They Live in a State of Nomadism and Savagery': The Late Ottoman Empire and the Post-Colonial Debate. but recent scholarship has pointed to continuities with increasing insistence. From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide (London. Michael Meeker. no. thus producing a new imaginary for classifying its subjects and new forms of difference among them. and Taner Akgam. "Ottoman Orientalism. 2002). 2 (2003): 311-42. Imparatorlugin En Uzun Yiizyilz(Istanbul. reshaping "their own" nation in the name of nationalism. 1998). "Emancipated but Unliberated? Reflections on the Turkish Case. For a variety of approaches. 3 (2003): 145-59. and govern. Identity discourses among the Muslim population of the late-Ottoman empire were in a state of flux. and confessionalwere intertwined. 1998). The agents of this change. but there are crucial differences even apart from those of scope and thoroughness. Even at the level of the intellectual elites. The Well-ProtectedDomains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire. The focus on the state and its use by radicalized elites helps us question the essential difference usually posited between the Central Asian and Turkish cases: that the transformation of Anatolia was the work of Turks. no. To put it bluntly. from which it differs primarily in the force and scope of the state's intervention in society. But surely this belies a hopelessly naive view of the Turkish nation. see Zfircher. no. with no great overlap between religion and language: Muslims see Jenny White. Moreover.53 Kemalism was a radicalized version of this project. See also Deniz Kandiyoti. Throughout the En nineteenth century. the various discourses of solidarity-civic. See in particular.

ed. the Kemalist regime sponsored the elaboration of a new ethnic Turkish identity. and vatan (homeland) -essentially scribed Muslim political nation. see also Adeeb Khalid. In Atatfirk's words. who have established the Turkish state.. Especially in the 1930s. Karpat." ArchivumOttomanicum (2001): 197-211. are called the Turkish nation. The state also had a role in defining and crystallizing national identities in the Soviet Union as well. Kurdish.""57The Turkish nation.Early Soviet Central Asia in Comparative Perspective 249 lived alongside Armenian and Orthodox Christians and Turkish. "Metaphors of Race and Discourse of Nation: State Nationalism in the First Decades of the Turkish Republic. of course. see also Howard Eissenstat. in which all manner of groups (even many that did not fit the official defi55. 56. provides a highly charged polemical account that nevertheless contains useful correctives to the received wisdom on the Ottoman retreat from Europe." but in some ways the disappearance of Bosnians. however. "Craftingthe Turkish Nation: Kemalism and Turkish Nationalism in the 1930s" (PhD diss. 5-6. 137 (1999): 81-92. 1931-1993 (Paris. 239-56. 58. who discovered that they were really "mountain Turks." InternationalJournal the Sociologyof Language. The expulsion) and forcibly assimilating non-Turkish-speaking resettlement of refugees and immigrants from former Ottoman lands. Erik Jan Zfircher. a territorially circumdin (faith). Lazes. multivalent identities of Anatolia into a homogenous Turkish nation. who provides an excellent discussion of the ethnicization of Turkish identity under Kemalism. (agaptay. "Ottoman 'Isof lamism' between the Ummet and the Nation. "The Vocabulary of Muslim Nationalism. Kemal H. Race and Nation: Ethnic Systems in the Modern World (London. Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims. . 1985).58 This was accompanied by conscious policies of ethnic homogenization. no. Justin McCarthy. 2005). Yale University. through squeezing out non-Muslims (through discrimination or outright Muslims. 1830-1914 (Madison." chaps. Yuri Slezkine has gone so far as to characterize the 1920s as a period of "chronic ethnophilia" in the Soviet Union. and Circassians into the common Turkishness of Anatolia is even more telling. Biigra Ersanhl-Behar. 1995). 21-22. 59. Greek. the Kurds." in Paul Spickard. was to be defined in ethnic terms. The political needs of the of ethnicity new state demanded that all particularistic claims-whether or religion-be denied. "Craftingthe Turkish Nation. Etienne Copeaux. and Armenian were all spoken. 2003). Albanians. 1992).. as well as the relocation of the republic's own population through a process of "internal colonization" (if kolonizasyonu) served to Turkify the population.55 Erik Jan Zurcher has shown how ethnic Turkish nationalism was virtually absent from the political rhetoric of the Turkish "war of liberation. The peninsula had also received vast numbers of Muslim refugees of all ethnic backgrounds from parts of the empire lost to Russia or to newly independent states in the Balkans." but lacking any explicit ethnic connotation). complete with an official history and myths of origin. Arabic.56 It was only after the Kemalists had consolidated power that they used the newfound powers of the state to remake society and identities and to turn the porous. Ottoman Population. Espaces et temps de la nation turque: Analyse (1929-1937) d'une historiographie nationaliste. 1997). 1821-1922 (Princeton. Quoted by Soner (agaptay. 19 57." Its political goals were defined on behalf of a community defined in terms of millet ("nation. lktidar ve Tarih: Tiirkiye'de "Resmi Tarih" Tezinin Olugumu (Istanbul.5" The primary victims of this process were. "the people of Turkey.

indigenous population. but rather in the fact of their having progressed further along the evolutionary path than all others in the union. Both had. ActionEmpire. Both the Soviet and the Kemalist states sought to transform culture and to reshape their citizenries in the light of ideas of history and civilization. 1993). It is crucially important to remember that the victim of the cultural revolution of the 1920s in Central Asia was not this "people" or that "ethnic group. and their modes of social intercourse civilized."Journal of CentralAsianStudies1. and many groups found in the new state power suitable ways of bringing about the change they sought to achieve in their society."Slavic Review 53." this social group or that. 1924-1929. "The Turkmen now find themselves in the period of formation into a single nation [out of a profusion of tribes] and this task. Martin. Does that alone put 60. . Empireof Nations. Ronald Grigor Suny. the state actively intervened in society and created new cadres that helped carry out its work. compared to the enormity of the transformation they wrought. can ethnic difference be made to bear the primary burden of differentiating colonial empires from other kinds of states? Nor did the Soviet state's assertion of power fall neatly along ethnic lines. in other words. The transformation of Central Asia therefore cannot be read as an encounter between "Soviet" outsiders and an authentic. "The USSR as a Communal Apartment". their primacy was rooted. The Soviet civilizing mission was not underpinned by the racial or ethnic superiority of any one group. "Nationality Policy and National Identity: The Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic. 2 (1997): 2. nor are they ever the majority. a step through which the Bolsheviks were obliged to help backward nations. and Russians themselves had to be transformed and modernized. The fact that such indigenous agents of change were small in number is of little consequence. no. As Mahmud Tumailov. wrote in 1927. Russians became the elder brothers of all other "fraternal Soviet peoples.and Hirsch. also had their way of life and their culture transformed. has fallen to the lot of the Communist Party. chap. with minor differences of emphasis. Moreover. 6. namely the task of turning them into a nation. Empireof Nations.Revolution. Affirmative 62."62 If the state plays such an active role in creating national identities.and the Collapseof theSovietUnion (Stanford.60 Catering to nations was seen in part as a prophylactic measure to prevent the use of nationalism for opposition to socialism. by a number of authors: Slezkine. The Revengeof thePast:Nationalism. or How a Socialist State Promoted Ethnic Particularism. no. Quoted in Adrienne Edgar.63 Russian peasants.61 but it very quickly came to be seen as a necessary step in the historical evolution of backward peoples." Central Asian societies in these years were riven with all sorts of cleavages. 63. a civilizing mission. or even simply between "state" and "society." and thus the recipients of saccharine praise for their role in leading all Soviet peoples to socialism and beyond. after all.250 Slavic Review nition of nationality) received state recognition and support for the development of "national" cultures. Hirsch. This point has been made. but traditional ways of life that both the Jadids and the Bolsheviks were hell-bent on destroying. their religion assaulted. Yuri Slezkine. Those who seek to revolutionize society are scarcely its most typical representatives. after the mid-1930s. a communist official. Even when. 2 (Summer 1994): 414-52. "The USSR as a Communal Apartment. 61. not in any innate racial or ethnic supremacy.

And if the profession of a civilizing mission turns the Soviet state into a colonial empire. Colonial rule was coercive and brutal. whether it is used to assert inequalities or to preach world revolution. both projects dealt with the dialectic of the national and the universal and answered it in ways that were not dissimilar. Anticolonial nationalisms. defined the twentieth century for the vast majority of the planet's population. and. State leadership of the economy (devletfilik) was not the same as the abolition of private property in the Soviet Union. . it left the economy largely untouched. What is then left of the utility of the label "colonial"? Is all exercise of power in the modern world a case of "colonialism"? One does not have to subscribe to the entire liberatory message of nationalist movements of the twentieth century to find this proposition absurd. they also serve to put colonial empire in its place." Comparability is not the same as identity.Early Soviet Central Asia in Comparative Perspective 251 them in the company of colonial empires? Colonial empires professed such missions. but they seldom applied them to populations en masse. but surely that coerciveness and brutality was far surpassed by the modern mobilizational states of the twentieth century. The rule of colonial difference ensured that civilization was accessible to only a select few colonial subjects. of ethnic classification of peoples. And they were both the result of the brutal exercise of state power over citizens. and its ambitions to remake society were likewise more circumscribed. Both the Soviet and the Kemalist states had at their disposal the baggage. then surely so it does the Kemalist state. The Kemalist project was more pragmatic than the Bolshevik. Nevertheless. beyond the confines of "tradition. of backwardness and progress. common to modern European thought. indeed. Although the Kemalist project transformed the legal and cultural parameters of society. it is an ideological move to foreclose all possibility of change in a universalist vein. The Soviet and Kemalist cases serve to remind us of the central role states have played in shaping and reshaping life and culture in the twentieth century. The Soviet Union served for many as a source of inspiration. To turn them all into varieties of colonialism is not just to misunderstand the passions that defined the twentieth century. But it matters a great deal whether that baggage is deployed to exclude people from politics or to force their entry into it. and to find parallels between the Soviet and the Kemalist cases is not to equate them. if not a model. of evolution. and no substantial land reform took place during Atatiirk's lifetime. of orientalism. while the majority of the population remained beyond the orbit of politics. The violence and terror that accompanied it were mild compared to the Stalinist Terror. with their hope of claiming for the colonized what the colonizer denied them.

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