Post-Soviet Kazakh and Kyrgyz Interpretations of Turkic Central Asian
and World Religious-Cultural History
Fresh interpretations of Turkic Central Asian as well as broader world religious-cultural history and identity have quite naturally emerged among Kazakh and Kyrgyz scholars in the post-Soviet and now post-911 era. In examining these interpretations, Dr. Weller highlights, via his own careful English translations of the Kazakh language sources, the internal struggle between resurgent Muslim and Tengrist (i.e., “Native Turkic Religious”) positions developing in dynamic interface with lingering atheistic communist and rising Western secular as well as Christian influence among the Turkic Central Asian peoples, making comparative reference to key works from the late Tsarist and Soviet periods along the way.
Building off of T. H. Gabitov’s (2001) five main paradigms of Kazakh-Turkic religious history and identity and recognizing crossover on an identity continuum, he identifies seven main options for viewing Turkic-Central Asian identity arising in the post-Soviet context within a global and world historical framework. These views carry implications for not only Turkic Central Asian history and identity, but for interreligious, intercultural and international relations and dialogue between the Western and Central Asian as well as broader Western-Islamic and Christian-Muslim worlds.
Dr. Weller draws from nearly 20 years of personal experience and study, with a focus on and visits to the region going back to 1991, including eight total years of residence in Kazakhstan during which time he completed his doctoral studies working in the Kazakh language under the direction of Kazakh professors entirely within their university system.
R. Charles Weller
Ph.D., Al-Farabi Kazakh National University
Visiting Fellow, Yale University
Wednesday, November 17, 5:30 – 6:50pm
Niebuhr Lecture Hall, Sterling Divinity Quadrangle