Becoming a Kazakh in Tsarist Central Asia: Khojas, Tatars, and Chala-Qazaqs of the Kazakh Steppe

Central Asia and Caucasus Seminar
Event Format
In person
CGIS South, S354, 1730 Cambridge St

In contemporary Kazakhstan, the term "Shala-Kazakh" is a derogatory label applied to Russified Kazakhs who tend to possess limited knowledge of the Kazakh language and are, allegedly, estranged from their indigenous culture and traditions. Just over a century ago, however, Shala-Kazakh, or as it is documented in historical sources, "Chala-Qazaq," denoted almost the opposite phenomenon. In the pre-tsarist Kazakh steppe, Chala-Qazaq referred to the descendants of Kazakh women and non-Kazakh men who resided among their Kazakh kin, spoke the Kazakh language, and adhered to local traditions. During the latter half of the 19th century, as Russian imperial expansion extended into Central Asia, the Chala-Qazaq phenomenon experienced further growth and development. The presentation will dive into the factors contributing to the expansion of the Chala-Qazaq population in late imperial Russia and the tsarist regime's efforts to regulate and confine this elusive ethnic category.

Refreshments will be provided. 

Remote video URL


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