Current Institutional Affiliation
Lecturer, International and Comparative Studies, University of Michigan

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1997
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of Michigan
Having a Homeland: Recalling the Deportation, Exile, and Repatriation of Crimean Tatars to their Historic Homeland

Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, more than 250,000 Tatars have returned from diaspora in Central Asia to their historic homeland in the Ukraine. Surprisingly, Tatars born after 1944, with little first hand knowledge of their parents' place of origin, are often more adamant about returning than their elders. I propose to clarify how collective processes of interpretation, especially notions like homeland can mobilize large populations and lead them to replant ties in a different geographic location. A focus on the important differences within this group will provide a corrective to sovietologists' traditional approach that treats ethnic groups as bounded and unified. Narratives of Tatars in Ukraine Will be compared with those in Uzbekistan to identify similarities and differences in the meanings ascribed to homeland, history and collective identity. A detailed examination of memories conveyed in ceremonies of public commemoration, oral narratives and monuments will be used to assess the transmission and manipulation of social memory which is constitutive of national collectivities. The narrative analysis of life history and semistructured interviews will be coupled witl1 a consideration of the national and international political and economic dynamics that register in the lives of informants. The structures of feeling that are the basis of national movements in the post-Soviet period will be investigated through a comparative approach across sites and generations.