The Caucasus and Central Asia in Conversation: The Importance of Stories and Archives from the Soviet and Post-Soviet Periphery

The Second Annual Ralph T. Fisher Workshop at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

June 15-16, 2018

Sessions on June 15 will take place in 308 Main Library (1408 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana, IL 61801). Sessions on June 16 will take place in 101 International Studies Building (910 S. Fifth St., Champaign, IL 61820).

Co-Conveners: Eva Rogaar (UIUC) and Ben Bamberger (UIUC)

fisherworkshop@gmail.com

The Caucasus and Central Asia have often been understood through the lens of the Russian center, in terms of the categories that emerged from Moscow and St. Petersburg, and through the centralized archives and libraries that many scholars have used to study these regions. This workshop explores what can be gained—conceptually and methodologically—by centering the archives and stories from these regions. How can we transcend a history of the Caucasus and Central Asia that has defined these regions primarily in terms of their relationship with the Russian center? How do we create such histories without overemphasizing the centrality of the nation as a category of analysis? How can we write transnational and local histories that go beyond both the nation and the binary of center and periphery?

Key to these questions is the role of sources and methodology. What constitutes a peripheral archive and how does an insistence on such archives and stories upend or complicate our understandings of the Caucasus and Central Asia as regions? What peripheral stories can be found in central archives and spaces? What are the challenges involved in finding and using such stories?

All workshop sessions are free and open to the public.

Workshop Program