Reviews

Based for the most part on vernacular primary sources (from periodicals in Tatar language like ‘Alam-i niswan and Tarjuman to others in Central Asian Turki like the official Turkistan wilayatining ghaziti or the autonomous Ayina, among others), on oral history (more than 50 interviews), and on the archival sources preserved in the Central State Archive of Uzbekistan, in Uzbekistani regional archives collections (in Namangan and Bukhara), and in the Russia’s State Archive of Social and Political History), this book, divided into nine chapters, is a very important contribution to our understanding of women emancipation policy from the late Tsarist period to WWII, and more widely to the history Sovietisation in the 1930s. The first chapter stands for an introduction of the legal, economic, cultural change which had influenced the place of women in the society since the Russian conquest of Turkistan. The second chapter deals with the Jadid discourse on reform of women (education, marriage, polygyny, etc.), taking also into account the will of women themselves for changes expressed through rare and valuable documents gathered by the author. Introducing the Russian revolution with the uprising of 1916 (in which, for the first time according to the author, women took part) and the different riots which occurred mostly in bazaars because of shortages, the third chapter focuses on consideration on national discourses and on the ethno-territorial delimitation. As far as emancipation is concerned, it compares the situation with the policy of Turkey to forge a new type of woman. After analysing the opposition between traditional education (with otins) and the formation of a Soviet educational system (chapter 4), the author describes the nascent organisation of the Communist policy of women emancipation, the work and statements of its main official support, the journal Yangi Yol (chapter 5). As to the unveiling before the launching of the hujum (chapter 6), relying on oral history the author discusses the subjective perception of what veil and unveiling represented for women of that period, with the distortion of the different political contexts up to the interviews. Consequently, the hujum (chapter 7) and counter-hujum (chapter 8) are largely analysed. Chapter 9 studies the emancipation, which goes along with the Soviet social and economic engineering of the 1930 (collectivisation, education, etc.) before a conclusion taking into account the ties between that period and the current one. This book is essential reading for all those studying Central Asia in the 1930s, and gender studies in the world of Islam.

Cloé Drieu, School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Paris
CER: II-6.4.G-541