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Noontime Scholars Lecture - Lydia Catedral, "'I just say Russian': Speaking Russian and claiming Russianness among Uzbeks in the United States"

Event Type
101 International Studies Building (910 S. Fifth St., Champaign)
Apr 25, 2017   12:00 pm  
Lydia Catedral (PhD Candidate in Linguistics, University of Illinois)
Free and open to the public.
Originating Calendar
Russian, E. European & Eurasian Center: Speakers

Research on Russian language in Uzbekistan has focused primarily on the de-russification that accompanied Uzbek independence (c.f. Fierman 1991), but there are fewer scholarly attempts to link the continued use of Russian with Uzbek ethno-national identity. In this lecture, Lydia Catedral uses a global scale of analysis to highlight how Russian language and identity function in conjunction with Uzbek ethno-nationalism for Uzbeks in the United States. This study focuses empirically on audio recordings and ethnographic observations of Uzbek communities in the U.S. The findings show that varying Russian proficiency functions as a signifier of difference between Uzbeks in the U.S., but that Russian identity functions as a valid replacement for Uzbek identity in English-dominant spaces. This research has implications for understanding post-Soviet people as global subjects, and for uncovering the shifting meanings of Russian across varying transnational contexts.

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