Gender and ethnicity in the Soviet Muslim peripheries: a feminist postcolonial geography of women’s work in the Tajik SSR (1950–1991)

Negar Elodie Behzadi*, Lucia Direnberger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article explores the articulation and experience of Soviet gendered ideology regarding work in the Tajik SSR, one of the Muslim Soviet peripheries, during the post-war period ending with Perestroika. Central Asian women’s work was used for economic purposes, as well as being a key driver for fulfilling the ideological objective of emancipating Central Asian women from religion and tradition. Through a feminist postcolonial geography approach, attentive to questions of discourse and material lived experiences, this article explores the ways in which gender and ethnicity were co-produced by Soviet ideology. Analysis of scientific publications produced by Tajikistani female researchers, and of women’s magazines from the 1950s, is contrasted with ethnographic data on workers from various collective farms and semi-urban places, including ‘work heroines’ (peshqadam). Our findings illustrate the hybrid nature of the Soviet regime, advancing theoretical debates on the use of postcolonial theory in Soviet Central Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages202-219
Number of pages18
Volume39
No.2
Specialist publicationCentral Asian Survey
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • ethnicity
  • feminist postcolonial geography
  • Gender
  • Soviet women
  • Tajikistan
  • work

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