20 january 2020
Central Asia news
The Swedish publishing house “Gun” has issued the first collection of uncensored modern Turkmen prose and poetry in twenty years. There are twelve authors, two of whom published their writings solely in the Russian language whereas the rest are in both Russian and Turkmen. The collection entitled “By the ravine… Behind the houses in the back” was edited for publication by the literary association “Turkmen dany atar!” (“The Turkmen dawn will come!”). Farid Tukhbatullin, the head of the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights and editor-in-chief of the website “Chronicles of Turkmenistan”, is one of the project leaders.
The latest research into Central Asia by Sergey Abashin, a professor at the European University in Sankt-Peterburg, has recently been published as a book. The study in question researches into the history of transformation of Central Asia between late 19th century and the collapse of the Soviet Union in early 1990s. The century-long episode of history is related via a description of life in a village that has undergone conquest, repressions, rapid economic growth and cultural modernization. The book (in Russian) includes many documents and oral narrations that shed light on the conquest of the region, the establishment of first colonial and later Soviet rule, the fight against basmachis, collectivization and cotton-based economy, medicine and Islam, mahalla-centric communities and marriage strategies. The author of the book uses theories of post-colonialism, cultural hybridity, the Soviet subjectivity to analyze the collected material. The tools employed help him explain the contradicting nature of public relations in the Russian Empire and the former USSR.
Following the demise of the Ottoman Empire in 1925, the country that has emerged on its ashes—the modern Turkey—has chosen the republican form of governance. Mustafa “Ataturk” Kemal ruled with an iron hand for a little over a decade and worked hard to eradicate any form of monarchy in the country’s governance and its religious basis; those who shared Ataturk’s ideals followed suit. However, the political reforms and societal changes that occurred in the country following World War II have paved way for pluralism of not only political nature, but of religious as well. Professor Joshua Hendrick has spent a lengthy period of time to research into one of such societal phenomena—the Gulen Movement, which has a profound impact on the Turkish society’s life at so many different levels, and has eloquently told about it in his book entitled “Gulen. The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World.”