I am interested in the development and experience of national and ethnic identities in Soviet Central Asia in the 1970s and 1980s. Particularly focused on Soviet Uzbekistan during the perestroika and glasnost’ reforms of the late 1980s, I am interested in questions of sovereignty, political and social scandals that accompanied reform efforts, cultural revival, and how Central Asian populations experienced and understood their place in a rapidly changing USSR.

My latest 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 local involvement in late-Soviet reforms 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. 

Qoralash: Cotton, Corruption, and the Assault on Uzbek National Identity in the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, 1983-1991

Spring 2024: TA – Hist 2C

Winter 2024: TA – Hist 17B

Fall 2023: Reader – Hist 193F

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)

Professional Affiliations

  • Member of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies
  • 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 Bahriyev, 1989