Thementisch: „Chances through exchange“ (Margaret Litvin and Botakoz Kassymbekova)
At our next WeberWorldCafé, there will be an English-speaking discussion table on chances through exchange. Here, the two table hosts Botakoz Kassymbekova and Margaret Litvin give a first insight into what they plan to discuss with the participants:
Laboratory of “Friendship of Nations” in the Soviet Union
The Soviet state fostered mobility and exchange, both free and forced, across the Soviet republics and beyond. We are interested in grasping encounters and their narrations among Soviet citizens and with foreigners in relation to the idea of the “friendship of nations.”
First, what did the Communist mission mean for “Russian” Soviet officials in Central Asia? How did they differentiate themselves from European imperialists and how did they narrate their presence in an Asian periphery? Second, we are interested in the experiences of Europeans and other “others” in the Soviet Union and the legacies of these contacts in the personal memories and literary works of the people involved.
Margaret Litvin is associate professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at Boston University and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien. She is writing a book on the literary legacies of Arab cultural ties with Russia and the USSR.
Botakoz Kassymbekova is a historian with a special focus on Stalinism in Central Asia and Russian urban history. Her PhD was published under the title “Despite Cultures: Early Soviet rule in Tajikistan, 1920s and 1930s” (2016).