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Bolshevism, Patriarchy, and the Nation: The Soviet “Emancipation” of Muslim Women in Pan-Islamic Perspective

  • Adrienne Edgar


In this essay, Adrienne Edgar compares Soviet policies toward Central Asian women in the interwar period with gender policies in two other types of Muslim societies—those ruled by European colonizers and those governed by indigenous national elites. She argues that the Soviet “emancipation” of Muslim women in the 1920s and 1930s had little in common with the policies of French and British colonial rulers. Instead, it resembled much more closely the gender reforms of the neighboring independent Muslim states of Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan. In these Muslim states, as in the Soviet Union, the drive for female emancipation was part of an attempt to create a modern, homogeneous, and mobilized population. Because many Central Asians perceived the Soviet state as fundamentally alien, however, the political dynamic that emerged in response to Soviet gender reforms resembled the situation in the colonized Middle East, where feminism and nationalism came to be seen as mutually antagonistic.



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This essay is based on a paper originally presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies conference in Toronto in 2003. A revised version was presented at the Workshop on Borderlands History of the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at Stanford University in January 2005 and at the annual convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities at Columbia University in March 2005. I would like to thank the participants in these sessions, especially Peter Blitstein and Adeeb Khalid, as well as Nancy Gallagher, Laila Parsons, and the anonymous reviewers of Slavic Review for their comments and suggestions.

1. Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv sotsial'no-politicheskoi istorii (RGASPI), f. 62, op. 2, d. 1234 (Protocols and materials from the third republican conference of women's activists sponsored by the Central Committee of the Turkmen Communist Party, 1927), 11. 49–50, 79–85.

2. Massell, Gregory J., The Surrogate Proletariat: Moslem Women and Revolutionary Strategies in Soviet Central Asia, 1919–1929 (Princeton, 1974); Northrop, Douglas, Veiled Empire: Gender and Poiuer in Stalinist Central Asia (Ithaca, 2004); Kamp, Marianne, The New Woman in Uzbekistan: Islam, the Soviet Project, and the Unveiling of Uzbek Women (Seattle, forthcoming); Edgar, Adrienne, “Emancipation of the Unveiled: Turkmen Women under Soviet Rule, 1924–1929,” Russian Review 62, no. 1 (January 2003): 132-49.

3. See, for example, the forum on Soviet nationalities published in Russian Review 59, no. 2 (April 2000); on Soviet modernity, see the essays in Hoffmann, David L. and Kotsonis, Yanni, eds., Russian Modernity: Politics, Knowledge, Practices (New York, 2000); Kotkin, Stephen, “Modern Times: The Soviet Union and the Interwar Conjuncture,” Kritika 2, no. 1 (Winter 2001): 111-64; Hoffmann, David L., “Mothers in the Motherland: Stalinist Pronatalism in Its Pan-European Context,” Journal of Social History 34, no. 1 (2000): 35–54 .

4. The leading attempts to situate the experience of modern Central Asia within the framework of the Islamic world are the works of Adeeb Khalid, especially his book, The Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform: Jadidism in Central Asia (Berkeley, 1998) and Kamp's forthcoming book, New Woman in Uzbekistan.

5. Ahmed, Leila, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate (New Haven, 1992), 130-40; Badran, Margot, Feminists, Islam, and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt (Princeton, 1995); Thompson, Elizabeth, Colonial Citizens: Republican Rights, Paternal Privilege, and Gender in French Syria and Lebanon (New York, 2000), chaps. 5–7; Baron, Beth, The Women's Awakening in Egypt: Culture, Society, and the Press (New Haven, 1994).

6. Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam, 174; Keddie, Nikki R., “Deciphering Middle Eastern Women's History,” in Keddie, Nikki R. and Baron, Beth, eds., Women in Middle Eastern History: Shifting Boundaries in Sex and Gender (New Haven, 1991), 14–15 .

7. Khalid, Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform, 218–28.

8. See Ellen L. Fleischmann, “The Other ‘Awakening’: The Emergence of Women's Movements in the Modern Middle East, 1900–1940,” and Mervat Hatem, “Modernization, the State, and the Family in Middle East Women's Studies,” both in Meriwether, Margaret L. and Tucker, Judith E., eds., A Social History of Women and Gender in the Modern Middle East (Boulder, Colo., 1999). On Iran, see Afary, Janet, The Iranian Constitutional Revolution, 1906–1911: Grassroots Democracy, Social Democracy, and the Origins of Feminism (New York, 1996), chap. 7.

9. Massell noted that the Soviet leadership was concerned at being “outdone” by Muslim “bourgeois” states in the sphere of women's emancipation. Massell, Surrogate Proletariat, 218–20.

10. Kotkin, “Modern Times,” 154. Asia is here broadly defined to include the Islamic Middle East.

11. Martin, Terry, The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923–1939 (Ithaca, 2001); Hirsch, Francine, Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union (Ithaca, 2005); Northrop, Veiled Empire.

12. On Soviet conceptual hegemony, see Hirsch, Empire of Nations; on the discourse of backwardness, see Northrop, Douglas, “Nationalizing Backwardness: Gender, Empire, and Uzbek Identity,” in Suny, Ronald Grigor and Martin, Terry, eds., A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin (Oxford, 2001), and Michaels, Paula A., “Medical Propaganda and Cultural Revolution in Soviet Kazakhstan, 1928–41,” Russian Review 59, no. 2 (April 2000): 159-78; on resistance, see Northrop, Veiled Empire.

13. The most straightforward recent statement of the “Soviet empire” thesis can be found in Michaels, Paula, Curative Powers: Medicine and Empire in Stalin's Central Asia (Pittsburgh, 2003), 4–10 .

14. On conceptions of race in the Soviet Union, see Hirsch, Francine, “Race without the Practice of Racial Politics,” Slavic Review 61, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 30–43 . On the idea of national equality, see Slezkine, Yuri, “Imperialism as the Highest Stage of Socialism,” Russian Review 59, no. 2 (April 2000): 227-34.

15. Beissinger, Mark R., “Demise of an Empire-State: Identity, Legitimacy, and the Deconstruction of Soviet Politics,” in Young, Crawford, ed., The Rising Tide of Cultural Pluralism: The Nation-State at Bay? (Madison, 1993), 95 ; Peter Blitstein, “Nation and Empire in Soviet History, 1917–1953” (unpublished paper, 2005); Roy, Olivier, The New Central Asia: The Creation of Nations (London, 2000), 10–11 .

16. Northrop, Veiled Empire, 9, 21–22. Northrop later qualifies this characterization, arguing that the Soviet Union was a hybrid entity that possessed features of the modernizing state. Ibid., 23–31.

17. Kamp, New Woman in Uzbekistan, introduction.

18. This is not to say that such tensions were entirely absent in the Muslim states. They may in fact be endemic to nationalist projects, whose ‘Janus-faced” features have often been noted. As Deniz Kandiyoti writes, nationalism “presents itself both as a modern project that melts and transforms traditional attachments in favour of new identities and as a reaffirmation of authentic cultural values culled from the depths of a presumed communal past.” Kandiyoti, “Identity and Its Discontents: Women and the Nation,” in Williams, Patrick and Chrisman, Laura, eds., Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory: A Reader (New York, 1994), 378 .

19. Briullova-Shaskol'skaia, N. V., “Na Amu Dar'e: Etnograficheskaia ekspeditsiia v Kerkinskii okrug TSSR,” Novyi Vostok, no. 16-17 (1927): 298-99; RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 801 (Materials about work with women in the Turkmen SSR, 1926), 1. 125.

20. Cited in Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam, 154. See also Mabro, Judy, ed., Veiled, Half-Truths: Western Travellers’ Perceptions of Middle Eastern Women (London, 1991).

21. Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam, 151–52. In India, too, native “barbarism” in the treatment of women was used as a justification for British colonial rule. See Chatterjee, Partha, The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton, 1993), 118-19.

22. For details of these campaigns in Central Asia, see Massell, Surrogate Proletariat; Northrop, Veiled Empire; Edgar, Adrienne, Tribal Nation: The Making of Soviet Turkmenistan (Princeton, 2004), chap. 8; on Azerbaijan, see Baberowski, jörg, Der Feind ist überall: Stalinismus im Kaukasus (Munich, 2003), 442-78.

23. Tignor, Robert, Modernization and British Colonial Rule in Egypt, 1882–1914 (Princeton, 1966), 86–97, 123–27.

24. See Mani, Lata, Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India (Berkeley, 1998), 15 ; on British equivocation before the ultimate ban on sati, see Yang, Anand, “Whose Sati? Widow-Burning in Early 19th-century India,” Journal of Women's History 1, no. 2 (Fall 1989): 13–14 . Another practice deemed barbaric and degrading to women, the African practice of clitoridectomy, was never banned despite public and Christian missionary pressure on the British government in Kenya. See Pedersen, Susan, “National Bodies, Unspeakable Acts: The Sexual Politics of Colonial Policy-Making,” Journal of Modern History 63, no. 4 (December 1991): 647-80.

25. Tignor, Modernization and British Colonial Rule, 342–43; Badran, Feminists, Islam, and Nation, 23.

26. Badran, Feminists, Islam, and Nation, 92–94, 125–26; on early attempts at unveiling in Egypt, see Baron, Beth, “Unveiling in Early Twentieth Century Egypt: Practical and Symbolic Considerations,” Middle Eastern Studies 25, no. 3 (July 1989): 370-86.

27. Fleischmann, Ellen L., The Nation and Its “New” Women: The Palestinian Women's Movement, 1920–1948 (Berkeley, 2003), 31–36 .

28. Charrad, Mounira M., States and Women's Rights: The Making of Postcolonial Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco (Berkeley, 2001), 114-17, 132–41; Lazreg, Marnia, The Eloquence of Silence: Algerian Women in Question (New York, 1994), 88–90 . See also Gordon, David C., Women of Algeria: An Essay on Change (Cambridge, Mass., 1968), 37–38 .

29. Lazreg, Eloquence of Silence, 90–92, 134–35; Gordon, Women of Algeria, 37–38.

30. Charrad, States and Women's Rights, 115, 132–36. On Algeria, see also Lazreg, Eloquence of Silence, and Knauss, Peter R., The Persistence of Patriarchy: Class, Gender, and Ideology in Twentieth Century Algeria (Westport, Conn., 1987).

31. Thompson, Colonial Citizens, 113–15.

32. On the emergence of women's organizations in the Levant, see ibid., 94–100.

33. Ibid., 127–29, 136–40.

34. Not surprisingly, these changes were fervently opposed by Muslims. Ibid., 152–53.

35. See, for example, RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 1237 (Materials of KPT departments of female workers and peasants on the campaign for emancipation of women in the republic, 1927), 1. 15; Karpov, G., “Raskreposhchenie zhenshchiny-turkmenki,” Zapartiiu, no. 3-4 (March-April 1929): 81, 84.

36. Badran, Feminists, Islam, and Nation, 12; Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam, 137.

37. Tignor, Modernization and British Colonial Rule, 319–24; Badran, Feminists, Islam, and Nation, 8–12.

38. Tignor, Modernization and British Colonial Rule, 342–43; Badran, Feminists, Islam, and Nation, 42–44; Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam, 153.

39. Fleischmann, The Nation and Its “New” Women, 42–45.

40. Thompson, Colonial Citizens, 77–90.

41. Lazreg, Floquenre of Silence, 62–67, 78; Gordon, Women of Algeria, 44–45.

42. Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments, 10.

43. Gordon, Women of Algeria, 56–60.

44. Fleischmann, The Nation and Its “New” Women, 137–40.

45. Baron, Beth, Egypt as a Woman: Nationalism, Gender, and Politics (Berkeley, 2005), 55–56 .

46. Keddie, “Deciphering Middle Eastern Women's History,” 13; Kandiyoti, Deniz, ed., Women, Islam, and the State (London, 1991), 8–9 ; Gordon, Women of Algeria, 35–36, Thompson, Colonial Citizens, 138–40. See also Chatteijee, The Nation and Its Fragments, 120–21.

47. Nermin Abadan-Unat, “The Impact of Legal and Educational Reforms on Turkish Women,” in Keddie and Baron, eds., Women in Middle Eastern History, 179–81; Deniz Kandiyoti, “End of Empire: Islam, Nationalism, and Women in Turkey,” in Kandiyoti, ed., Women, Islam, and the State, 22–23; Arat, Zehra F., “Kemalism and Turkish Women,” Women and Politics 14, no. 4 (1994): 57–59 .

48. On the evolution of Iranian ideas about female education and the nation, see Najmabadi, Afsaneh, Women without Mustaches and Men without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity (Berkeley, 2005), chap. 7.

49. Afsaneh Najmabadi, “Hazards of Modernity and Morality: Women, State, and Ideology in Contemporary Iran,” in Kandiyoti, ed., Women, Islam, and the State, 53–55; Kandiyoti, Deniz, “Women, Islam, and the State: A Comparative Approach,” in Cole, Juan R. I., ed., Comparing Muslim Societies: Knowledge and the State in a World Civilization (Ann Arbor, 1992), 240-41; Ettehadieh, Mansoureh, “The Origins and Development of the Women's Movement in Iran, 1906–1941,” in Beck, Lois and Nashat, Guity, eds., Women in Iran: From 1800 to the Islamic Republic (Urbana, 2004), 95–96 ; Hoodfar, Homa, The Women's Movement in Iran: Women at the Crossroads of Secularization and Islamization (Paris, 1999), 12–13 ; Amin, Camron Michael, The Making of the Modern Iranian Woman: Gender, State Policy, and Popular Culture, 1865–1946 (Gainesville, 2002), chap. 5. It was only in 1963 that women received the vote in Iran, and only in 1967 that a family protection law was adopted limiting men's right to polygamy and unilateral divorce. Hoodfar, Women's Movement in Iran, 18–20.

50. Chehabi, Houchang E., “Staging the Emperor's New Clothes: Dress Codes and Nation-Building under Reza Shah,” Iranian Studies 26, nos. 3-4 (Summer-Fall 1993): 214-19; Ettehadieh, “Origins and Development of the Women's Movement in Iran,” 96–100; Hoodfar, Women's Movement in Iran, 13–14.

51. Moghadam, Valentine M., Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East (Boulder, Colo., 1993), 217-19.

52. On the etatist goals of the Kemalist reforms, see Arat, “Kemalism and Turkish Women,” 58–59.

53. Kandiyoti, Women, Islam and the State, 9. In Iran, Homa Hoodfar argues, discussions of women's status have been “central to the debate surrounding the national goal of modernizing and building a strong independent nation.” Hoodfar, Women's Movement in Iran, 40.

54. Massell, Surrogate Proletariat, chap. 4.

55. Abu-Lughod, Lila, “Feminist Longings and Postcolonial Conditions,” in Abu-Lughod, Lila, ed., Remaking Women: Feminism and Modernity in the Middle East (Princeton, 1998), 7–8 .

56. Kandiyoti, “End of Empire,” 41–42; Kandiyoti, “Women, Islam, and the State,” 250–51; Najmabadi, “Hazards of Modernity,” 56–57; Fleischmann, “The Other ‘Awakening,’” 116–18.

57. Najmabadi, “Hazards of Modernity,” 57. On the jadids, see Adeeb Khalid, “Nationalizing the Revolution in Central Asia: The Transformation of Jadidism,” in Suny and Martin, eds., A State of Nations, 145–62.

58. On policy toward women and families in the Soviet Union, see Goldman, Wendy Z., Women, the State, and Revolution: Soviet Family Policy and Social Life, 1917–1936 (Cambridge. Eng., 1993); for a comparative analysis of Soviet attempts to rationalize society and mobilize the population, see David L. Hoffmann, “European Modernity and Soviet Socialism,” in Hoffmann and Kotsonis, eds., Russian Modernity, 245–60.

59. Chehabi, “Staging the Emperor's New Clothes,” 222–27.

60. One example of the latter is the French promotion of Berber-Arab difference in North Africa, see Charrad, Slates and Women's Rights, 141; on the tsarist reification of the nomadic-sedentary distinction in Central Asia, see Khalid, Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform, 54–55.

61. Douglas Northrop makes this point in Veiled Empire, 22.

62. On eradicating backwardness in the Soviet periphery, see Slezkine, “Imperialism as the Highest Stage of Socialism,” 228–29.

63. Arat, “Kemalism and Turkish Women,” 60–67; Arat, Yesim, The Patriarchal Paradox: Women Politicians in Turkey (Rutherford, N.J., 1989), 34 .

64. Ettehadieh, “Origins and Development of the Women's Movement in Iran,” 95–96. For all of Reza Shah's efforts to promote education, his government never made elementary school attendance compulsory. Mathee, Rudi, “Transforming Dangerous Nomads into Useful Artisans, Technicians, Agriculturalists: Education in the Reza Shah Period,” in Cronin, Stephanie, ed., The Making of Modern Iran: State and Society under Riza Shah, 1921–1941 (London, 2003), 141 . In Turkey, too, it appears that enforcement was spotty, though relatively little is known about the implementation of the Kemalist reforms. Brockett, Gavin, “Collective Action and the Turkish Revolution: Towards a Framework for the Social History of the Atatürk Era, 1923–1938,” in Kedourie, Sylvia, ed., Turkey before and after Atatürk: Internal and External Affairs (London, 1999), 44–61 . Brockett also argues that implementation varied widely in rural areas, and laws that sought to radically change existing practices were ignored or only minimally enforced. Kamp points out that new laws requiring civil registration of marriage were widely ignored in rural areas of Turkey. Kamp, New Woman in Uzbekistan, chap. 3.

65. For examples of such rumors in Turkmenistan, see RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 1811 (Summaries, reports, and letters of the permanent representative of the OGPU in Central Asia on the political situation in the provinces … on religious sentiments and anti-soviet propaganda among the population, etc., 1929), 11. 193–94; in Uzbekistan, see Northrop, Veiled Empire, 204–8.

66. RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 440 (Protocols of meetings and report of the KPT Central Committee's department on work among women, January–February 1925), 1, 110; d. 630 (Materials of the Lenin provincial committee of the KPT on the holding of district peasant conferences and other topics, 1926), 11. 36, 38, 44–45; d. 1237, 11. 277–78.

67. RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 440, 11. 93–94, 109–10; d. 1237, 11. 68–69; Massell, Surrogate Proletariat, 277, 280–81.

68. RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 440, 11. 68, 72–73, 92–94; d. 1237, 1. 270; d. 800 (Reports and accounts of completed work by KPT Central Committee department of female workers and peasants, 1926), 11. 8–9. For the debate among the leading officials in the Turkmen Communist Party over female-initiated divorce, see Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii (GARF), f. 3316, op. 19, d. 855, 11. 103–4.

69. On violence against unveiled women in Uzbekistan, see Northrop, Veiled Empire, 170–72, 193–95; Keller, Shoshana, “Trapped between State and Society: Women's Liberation and Islam in Soviet Uzbekistan, 1926–1941,” Journal of Women's History 10, no. 1 (Spring 1998): 20–44 ; Kamp, New Woman in Uzbekistan, chap. 8. On violence against emancipated women in Turkmenistan, see RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 1811, 1. 75; d. 2438 (Materials of the women's sections of the Communist Party Central Committees of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan … about work among women, January–November 1930), 1. 65; d. 440, 1. 68; on similar attacks in Azerbaijan, see Baberowski, Der Feind ist überall, 472–73.

70. Kamp, New Woman in Uzbekistan, chap. 8; see also Massell, Surrogate Proletariat, 281–82.

71. RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 2438.

72. Chehabi, “Staging the Emperor's New Clothes,” 220–21. Amin, Making of the Modern Iranian Woman, 86–91, 110–11. It is noteworthy that violent resistance to unveiling was greater in Soviet Central Asia than in Iran, even though the Soviet regime never actually banned the veil.

73. Chehabi, “Staging the Emperor's New Clothes,” 219–21; Paidar, Parvin, Women and the Political Process in Twentieth-Century Iran (Cambridge, Eng., 1995), 113-14; Ettehadieh, “Origins and Development of the Women's Movement in Iran,” 96–100. Ettehadieh argues that the veil subsequently became a sign of class distinction, since upper-class and educated women abandoned it while lower- and middle-class women retained it.

74. Brockett, “Collective Action and the Turkish Revolution,” 59–61, 47–50. Religious leaders led peaceful demonstrations in 1925 against the imposition of the European hat for men; these were brutally put down by the government.

75. In Iran, where such violence was rare, a single incident in which a rampaging mullah beat unveiled women with a cane was widely deplored in the press. Amin, Making of the Modern Iranian Woman, 239–41.

76. For a general argument about the incompatibility of Soviet socioeconomic transformation and nationality policy, see Suny, Ronald Grigor, The Revenge of the Past: Nationalism, Revolution, and the Collapse of the Soviet Union (Stanford, 1993), 106-10; see also Simon, Gerhard, Nationalism and Policy toward the Nationalities in tlieSoviet Union (Boulder, Colo., 1991), chap. 5.

77. In other colonized countries of the Middle East and Islamic world, women's emancipation similarly came to be associated with European rule and was therefore seen as a betrayal of national values. See Thompson, Colonial Citizens, 138–39; Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam, 129, 164. In colonized India, nationalists came to define women's role as an interior sphere of culture in which colonizers did not have the right to intervene. Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments, 116–17, 120–21.

78. On Jadid debates about the “woman question,” see Khalid, Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform, 222–28.

79. Thompson, Colonial Citizens, 136–37. Leila Ahmed has argued that the western deployment of feminist rhetoric to criticize Islamic culture has discredited feminism in much of the Middle East. See Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam, 165–67.

80. Northrop, “Languages of Loyalty: Gender, Politics, and Party Supervision in Uzbekistan, 1927–1941,” Russian Review 59, no. 2 (April 2000): 191–96; Massell, Surrogate Proletariat, 266–84; Edgar, Tribal Nation, 255–56. On vocal peasant opposition to changes in family law in Turkmenistan, see RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 630, 11. 36, 38, 44–55; d. 1237, 11. 277–78. Even within the Turkmen Communist Party Central Committee there were communists who argued against rapid change in family and gender law. For opposition to the banning of bridewealth at the highest levels of the Turkmen Communist Party in the 1920s, see GARF, f. 3316, op. 21, d. 100 (Union republic reports on legislation about crimes of custom, 28 November 1927–8 September 1930), 11. 78–79; op. 19, d. 855 (Stenographic account of the third session of the Turkmen SSR Central Executive Committee, 1926), 11. 88–89, 102. On high-level communist opposition to Soviet divorce laws, see GARF, f. 3316, op. 19, d. 855, 11. 103–4.

81. RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 1237, 1. 3; d. 2696 (Materials on the emancipation of women in the Turkmen SSR, 1931), 1. 134. Terry Martin has distinguished between “hardline” and “soft-line” policies of the Soviet regime, with the former constituting the regime's main priorities. Policies toward women clearly fell into the “soft” category. See Martin, Affirmative Action Empire, 22–23.

82. RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 1237, 11. 6, 267, 280. Of those convicted of customary crimes in Turkmenistan in the second half of 1928, 7.5 percent were party members, candidate members, and members of the Komsomol. Karpov, “Raskreposhchenie zhenshchiny-turkmenki,” 83. On communists in Uzbekistan, see Northrop, “Languages of Loyalty,” 191–96.

83. On obstacles to korenizatsiia in Turkmenistan, see GARF, f. 3316, op. 20, d. 156 (Report on the Turkmenization of the state apparatus in the Turkmen SSR, August 1927), 11. 40–41, 119; Ia. A. Popok, O likvidatsii Sredne-Aziatskikh organov i zadachakh kompartii Turkmenii, Doklad sekretaria TsK KPT na sobranii partaktiva Ashkhabada, 16. okt. 1934 (Ashgabat, 1934), 30; RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 2587 (Report of the Central Asian Bureau brigade investigating the Bairam Ali district committee of the KPT, 1931), 1. 36; RGASPI, f. 62, op. 3, d. 397 (Stenogram of the Second Plenum of the KPT Central Committee, 4–6July 1929), 1. 108; RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 545 (Report by instructors of the all-union Communist Party Central Committee and the Central Asian Bureau on an investigation into the work of the KPT Central Committee and party organizations of Turkmen SSR, March 1926), 1. 35. For examples of ethnic conflict surrounding indigenization in Kazakhstan, see Payne, Matthew J., Stalin's Railroad: Turksib and the Building of Socialism (Pittsburgh, 2001), 138-39.

84. See, for example, Tokmak, no. 69 (1927), cited in RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 1185, 1. 100. See also Tokmak, no. 20–21 (1927) and no. 31 (1927), cited ibid., 11. 70, 82. RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 838 (Letters, speeches, articles, declarations by representatives of the opposition, 1927), 1. 11. These complaints were also made within the party behind closed doors. See, for example, RGASPI, f. 62, op. 2, d. 490 (Materials of the Central Committee on korenizatsiia of the Central Executive Committee of the Turkmen SSR, 1926–January 1927), 11. 147–49, 152.

85. Thompson, Colonial Citizens, 289.

86. Najmabadi, “Hazards of Modernity,” 63–70. Because the dictatorial regime of Reza Shah's son was strongly identified with both a pro-western stance and women's rights, women's activism had become discredited in Iran by the 1970s. See Hoodfar, Women's Movement in Iran, 22–23, and Paidar, Women and the Political Process, 167.

87. Chehabi, “Staging the Emperor's New Clothes,” 223; Kandiyoti, “Women, Islam, and the State,” 243; Arat, Patriarchal Paradox, 31–32. In Egypt, similarly, feminists sought examples of emancipated women in the Pharaonic past. Badran, Feminists, Islam, and Nation, 91, 144–45; Baron, Egypt as a Woman, 30–31.

88. Kandiyoti, “Women, Islam, and the State,” 251, 260; Najmabadi, “Hazards of Modernity,” 49–51, 63–70; Chehabi, “Staging the Emperor's New Clothes,” 220–22. Other reasons for the Afghan overthrow include overall state weakness and the strength of regional, ethnic, and tribal interests. Emadi, Hafizullah, Repression, Resistance, and Women in Afghanistan (Westport, Conn., 2002), 59–66 .

89. Edgar, Adrienne Lynn, “Nationality Policy and National Identity: The Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic, 1924–29,” Journal of Central Asian Studies 1, no. 2 (Spring/Summer 1997): 2–20 .

90. Northrop, Veiled Empire, 13–14; Edgar, Tribal Nation, 258–60.

91. This was Massell's argument in Surrogate Proletariat, recently reaffirmed by Northrop in Veiled Empire (11–12). I have argued elsewhere that communists in Turkmenistan readily sacrificed the emancipation of women to maintain the support of male “class allies” such as poor and landless peasants. See Edgar, “Emancipation of the Unveiled,” 132–49.

92. Beissinger, “Demise of an Empire-State,” 99.

Bolshevism, Patriarchy, and the Nation: The Soviet “Emancipation” of Muslim Women in Pan-Islamic Perspective

  • Adrienne Edgar


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