The Oxford Society for the Caspian and Central Asia is holding an open seminar on May 7th, 2010, at 5pm in the Hovenden Room, All Souls College, Oxford.
The guest speaker is Professor Adrienne Lynn Edgar. She will be giving a paper entitled: “Marriage, Modernity, and the ‘Friendship of Nations’: Interethnic Marriage in Soviet Central Asia.”
This presentation examines the place of interethnic intimacy in post-Stalinist discourse and policy on nationality and modernity in Central Asia. Soviet theorists deemed marriages between Central Asian Muslims and Europeans to be an important force for ‘modernizing’ Central Asia and bringing this historically ‘backward’ region into the Soviet mainstream. Because mixed marriage was thought to promote gender equality, the discourse of intermarriage was closely linked to Soviet policies of female emancipation. Rising rates of mixed marriage were also considered evidence of progress in the consolidation of a unified ‘Soviet people’, whose imminent appearance became an article of faith in the Khrushchev and Brezhnev years. However, the twin goals of intermarriage—modernization and ethnic assimilation—were undermined by the increasing institutionalization and primordialization of ethnic identities in the post-war Soviet Union.
Adrienne Lynn Edgar is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She was formerly an editor of “World Policy Journal”.