A young political scientist from Dushanbe has embarked on an exercise now fashionable in Tajikistan: the writing of national history in the very long duration—still recently a monopoly of the orientalists of the Academy of Sciences, whence political scientists were confined to the paraphrase of the CPSU’s decisions.  As to history itself, it was, according to a famous wit by Marc Ferro, a too serious thing to be entrusted to historians.  The present work’s inner organisation bears trace of the influence of “cultural studies (kul’turologiia)” as they have been developing in Dushanbe during the last twenty years in the wake of the Soviet national historiography:  Instead of the former Marxist hierarchy of the modes of production, a “Zoroastrian” period is now succeeded by an “Islamic” one, and then a Soviet parenthesis—some fifty page long out of the book’s 350, that is much less than in the history textbooks of the Soviet era.  A chapter on the “transition to the open period” optimizes the political upheavals that have been taking place since the independence in 1991, in a formalist and apologetic spirit that is in accordance with the patterns of the traditional historiography of the CPSU as it used to be practised until recently by Komsomol-educated political scientists.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-3.4.A-256