I am a scholar of cultural politics in Central Asia, the Russian Empire, and the Soviet Union. My work is broadly comparative, examining Eurasia in the context of the global rise of mass society. My research spans multiple disciplines, from literary studies to cultural and social history, and engages conversations in a range of area studies fields. I am particularly invested in close engagement with texts written in minority languages of the Russian Empire, including Tajik/ Persian, Uzbek, Chuvash, and Tatar.
My current project, “Socialism Mediated: Creating a Soviet Public in Uzbekistan,” examines the role of local cultural producers (musicians, performers, writers, and activists) in imagining socialism in Central Asia. I put forward the category of a “state public” to theorize the unpredictable dynamics of popular participation even in the context of authoritarian control over cultural production. My article on the Red Teahouse as an institution of the state public in Central Asia is forthcoming in Kritika. My next project will examine the role of late Soviet Central Asian and Caucasian performance culture in shaping ethnic/ racial and gender hierarchies in the Soviet Union and the Third World. Another project examines the afterlives of Orthodox Christian missionary schools for non-Russian minorities in prerevolutionary and Soviet Russia. Other research projects at an early stage of development include women’s poetry in early Soviet Uzbekistan, Soviet children’s literature for and about non-Russians, childcare on Soviet collective farms, and apocalyptic in the writings of Islamic modernist Abdurrauf Fitrat.