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 complex and layered 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 officers publicly debated the alleged abuse and murder of Uzbek soldiers in the Soviet Army. This discourse resulted in questions regarding the place of Uzbeks and the Uzbek Republic within the Soviet project and highlights the rise of national sovereignty sentiment in the final years of the Soviet Union as well as the center’s continued attempts to reassert political and cultural power in the perestroika period.
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 & Professional Activities:
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