Post-Soviet nationalism(s)

Joep Leerssen's picture

This query comes on behalf of a young colleague who has been working on Muslim intellectuals in the Central Asian republics. He was wondering if there was any existing work on a typology of post-Soviet nationalism, in particular for Islamic post-USSR successor states, with their competing self-definitiions in religious, political or ethnocultural (Turkic; internalized orientalism) terms, and their legacy of a vacillating repression/encouragement of their national identities under the Soviet system. (That last bit sounds familiar also for non-Islamic post-Soviet states like Armenia and Georgia). I know the Ab Imperio journal has done great stuff on specific issues but are there any more general studies/typologies?

I'm not an expert of the region, but one book stands out to me: Rebecca Gould, Writers and Rebels ( covers the general Caucasus region. She pulls from some under-appreciated writers from the region to show how both the Tsarist and Soviet eras impacted locals towards insurgency and resistance. At the very least, it should have some good source materials, both archival and literary.

Dear Joep,

This may be too far afield (too early in time period and across a border), but I remember reading the following years ago and thinking it was brilliant, albeit it's from outside of my own field of study and so I can offer only a layman's opinion: 

The Many Deaths of a Kazak Unaligned: Osman Batur, Chinese Decolonization, and the Nationalization of a Nomad

The American Historical Review, Volume 115, Issue 5, December 2010, Pages 1291–1314

Best wishes, 

Dave Prior