My research deals with the development and experience of national and ethnic identities in Soviet Central Asia. More specifically, I am interested in the multi-polar processes that defined Central Asian populations within ethnic and national frameworks and the evolution of these definitions over time and across differing contexts. Central themes in my research include the contested boundaries between “traditional” and “modern” forms of national culture, the state of interethnic relations in the late-Soviet period, and the multiple identities that emerged from Central Asian contact with the Soviet state.
My current project examines the press discourse of the “Recruit Murder Scandal” of 1989-1990, wherein Uzbek journalists and Soviet military officials publicly debated the alleged abuse and murder of Uzbek soldiers in the Soviet Army, resulting in discussion of social and economic crises that extended beyond the military and the borders of the Uzbek Republic. This project examines the complex relationship between the Uzbek literary intelligentsia and the Soviet government (itself divided by perestroika and glasnost’), contributing to our understanding of late-Soviet reforms in Central Asia and the emergence of politically independent Central Asian states.
My M.A. thesis, “Qoralash: Cotton, Corruption, and the Assault on Uzbek National Identity in the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, 1983-1991”, explores the media discourse surrounding the Uzbek Cotton Scandal of the 1980s and demonstrates how glasnost’ resulted in the revival of orientalist tropes and cast corruption as an Uzbek cultural problem, rather than a systemic Soviet problem. The “nationalization” of the Scandal led to broad condemnations of Uzbek cultural practices, a questioning of the Uzbek Republic’s place in the USSR, and ultimately provided Moscow with a justification for increased centralized control over the Republic during the perestroika period.
Awards and Fellowships
- Title VIII Fellowship, Arizona State University, Critical Languages Institute – Intermediate Uzbek (2021)
- FLAS Scholarship, University of Wisconsin Madison, Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute – Elementary Tajik (2019)
- Title VIII Fellowship, Arizona State University, Critical Languages Institute – Elementary Uzbek (2018)
- CSU Long Beach Romance, German and Russian Languages and Literatures Department – Russian Program Scholarship (2016)
- Member of Central Eurasian Studies Society
- Member of Dobro Slovo National Slavic Honor Society
“Xo‘sh, yillar davomida armiya jamiyatga nima berdiyu jamiyat armiyaga nima berdi…Sharofiddinning qishlog‘i bilan nohiya o‘rtasida telefon aloqasi yo‘q, «tez yordam» chaqirolmay, kasal uzilishi mumkin; ammo tovushdan tez uchuvchi raketalar bor. Yana: o‘zbek, dehqonining og‘irini yengil qiladigan paxta mashinasi yaratilmaydi-yu, parashyutdan suvga tashlasa, cho‘kmaydigan tanklar bor!”
“Consider what the what the army has given society and what society has given the army over the years…there is no telephone connection between Sharofiddin’s village and the district center and a sick person cannot call for an ambulance without risking being disconnected; but we have rockets that can fly at supersonic speeds. Again: Uzbek, a cotton machine will not be designed to lighten farmer’s burden, yet we have tanks that can be parachuted into water without sinking!”
-Karim Bahriev, 1989