SOAS University of London

Centre of Contemporary Central Asia & the Caucasus

The Non-Russian face of Russia: Muslim Soundscape of post-soviet Moscow

Dr Razia Sultanova (University of Cambridge)

Date: 7 March 2019Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 7 March 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4426

Type of Event: Seminar


Today Moscow is “the biggest Muslim city in Europe”.1 Following the collapse of the USSR, migrant workers have moved there in droves, from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and distant outposts of the Russian Federation, such as Stavropol or Pyatigorsk neighbouring Chechnya and Dagestan. They have brought with them their cultural values and Islamic way of life, which has had impacted these cities in a variety of ways. The new migrant population – up to 1.2m in Moscow2 – has resulted in an abundance of Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Caucasian cafeterias and restaurants, with live music performances on the streets, in bazars, or in private theatres and concert halls. Where is the home for those migrant workers today? How do they manage to succeed culturally upon moving abroad? How do the arts and music help them in adapting to the new places and their new mode of life?

Drawing from a geographically-based study of the social life of a number of musicians, my paper will explore the sense of national identity as a social category for those finding themselves both on the inside and the outside of Central Asian communities, thus offering both an internal and an external approach to the above subject.

Speaker Biography

Dr Razia Sultanova studied and consequently worked at both the Tashkent and Moscow State Conservatories. She worked at the Union of the Soviet Composers and the Russian Institute of Art Studies in Moscow, and having moved to reside in the UK in 1994 at the University of London, and has since 2008 worked at the University of Cambridge. She is the author of four books and five edited volumes (in Russian, French and English) on Central Asian music, gender and music, and music and society. Her tenth book entitled “Popular culture in Afghanistan: Performance, Gender and Islam in Central Asia” is currently being published by Bloomsbury Publishing. Razia Sultanova is the Vice-President of the International Council for Traditional Music. She has been a Visiting Professor at Moscow State Conservatory, at the Kazakh National University of Arts (Astana) and at the Khoja Ahmet Yassawi Kazakh-Turkish University (Turkistan, Kazakhstan).


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