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In Conversation with Dr. Ali Igmen, CSULB History

Kyrgyz Actors Remember and Recount the Early Days of Soviet Theatre in Kyrgyzstan: The Female Pioneers of Theatre

Discussion will focus on his current book project on four Kyrgyz actresses who figured into a chapter in his first book, titled Speaking Soviet with and Accent: Culture and Power in Kyrgyzstan. A more detailed abstract and possibly a reading will be circulated in advance of the meeting. Dr. Igmen will likely discuss his oral history interviews with and about these four actresses, who worked between the 1930s and 1990s.

Friday, May 5, 2017
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Bunche 11372

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Dr. Ali Igmen
Associate Professor of Central Asian History and the Director of the Oral History Program, CSU Long Beach

Abstract: This presentation focuses on my research on the intersection of ethnicity, modernity, gender, and Soviet identity in Soviet Theatre during the second half of the twentieth century in Kyrgyzstan. This second book project will delve more deeply into the themes I developed in the first book, Speaking Soviet with an Accent: Culture and Power in Kyrgyzstan. The first book explored the construction and development of the Houses of Culture in Soviet Kyrgyzstan with special attention to theatre. This project, in turn, examines the lives and work of four female theatre professionals who helped construct and define professional theatre on the stage and later on the screen. They were collectively called the Daughters of Tököldösh, in reference to the small town where they came of age. The presentation will highlight my oral history interviews with these theatre professionals and their families.

Biography: Ali İğmen is Associate Professor of Central Asian History and the Director of the Oral History Program at the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). His book, Speaking Soviet with an Accent: Culture and Power in Kyrgyzstan, has been published by the “Central Asia in Context Series” of the University of Pittsburgh Press in July 2012, and was a finalist for the best book award of the Central Eurasian Studies Society. His most recent article, “Four Daughters of Tököldösh: Kyrgyz Actresses Define Soviet Modernity,” appeared in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (CSSAAME). His book chapter “Kyrgyz Houses of Culture, 1920s and 1930s” appeared in Reconstructing the Soviet and Eastern European Houses House of Culture, (Habeck and Donahoe, editors,) by Berghahn Press in 2011. He received his doctorate from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2004, and as a post-doctorate visiting scholar, taught at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He also taught classes in Kyrgyz National University in Bishkek, Osh State University in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, and Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey. A significant number of awards helped İğmen support his research on Kyrgyzstan such as Fulbright Hays, SSRC, and Mellon Slavic Studies Initiative Grant. 

As lunch will be served, please RSVP by Thursday afternoon.

Sponsor(s): Program on Central Asia