Soviet Kazakh identity through the works of Magzhan Zhumabaev and Iliyas Zhansugurov



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Tartu Ülikool


This thesis aims to contribute to the growing scholarship surrounding Kazakh national identity and Kazakh literary studies, by focusing particularly on the development of Kazakh poetry and the evolution of Kazakh identity in the 1920s and 1930s. The thesis is investigating the following research question: How did Kazakh identity evolve in the perception of the Kazakh poets Magzhan Zhumabaev and Iliyas Zhansugurov during the 1920s and 1930s? The literary study focuses on two authors; Magzhan Zhumabeav and Iliyas Zhansugurov, who represent the two predominant ideological strands and discourses within the Kazakh intelligentsia surrounding the future of the Kazakh people, their culture and their country: Kazakh modernity and Soviet modernity. The theme of modernity, as an overarching dominating discourse of the time, serves as the conceptual tool of this research. Cultural studies and the theories associated with it, such as Stuart Hall’s conception of identity, serve as the theoretical basis of this study. This study analyzes and draws conclusions from a variety of poetry from Magzhan Zhumabaev and Iliyas Zhansugurov, which has been translated into the Russian language. The following work argues that the evolution of Kazakh identity was at a crossroads in the 1920s and 1930s and in desperate need for change as it was stagnant. Both authors express the strong need for this change and both give clear criticism and suggestions for change. Their propositions converged frequently in particular their views on education, literacy and Kazakh language yet their views on the nature of modernity and how best to reach it differed markedly.