Samarkand

Living the City in the Soviet Era and beyond

Marco Buttino
Collana: Viella History, Art and Humanities Collection, 8
Pubblicazione: Novembre 2020
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pp. 356, 15,5x23 cm, hardback
ISBN: 9788833137056
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Samarkand, located along the Silk Road, has a history that is often confused with a fabled image of the East. This book, however, deals with a real city, narrating the changes that took place while it was part of the USSR and in the period following, all the way up to the present. In Samarkand, the passage between these two eras reflects the broader transformation that affected Uzbekistan and the other Central Asian countries, which were internal colonies, first of Russia and then of the Soviet Union, before becoming independent states. Step by step, the reader enters the city, its various districts, private homes, public places, and hears the stories of diverse individuals and families.
Based on archival records, interviews and photographs, the book traces the changes in cultures and ways of life in Samarkand over this period, and investigates the tensions of the post-Soviet years. The Russians vanished from the city they had colonised or guided through the years of Soviet “modernisation”, as did many populations that had been deported there during the Second World War, and various local minorities. The city experienced a period of profound crisis, was transformed in terms of the composition of its population, constructed a new national image, rewrote its history and finally emerged ready to receive tourists with their cameras.

  • Introduction
  • 1. Uzbekistan: From Colony to Independence
  • 2. The City and Its Inhabitants
  • 3. The Old City: The Tajik Mahallas
  • 4. The Mahalla Vostok
  • 5. The Mahalla of the Mugats
  • 6. The Mahalla Shanghai: The Korean Deportees
  • 7. Schools, Factories, Politics: Moulding the Soviet Citizen
  • 8. Towards the Future
  • Notes for a Colonial and Post-Colonial Comparison
  • Appendices
  • Glossary
  • Archival Sources and Bibliography
  • Index

Cover illustration: Detail from the cover of a Samarkand tourist guide, 1965.

Marco Buttino

Marco Buttino è stato professore di Storia Contemporanea all’Università di Torino, dove ha insegnato anche Storia dell'Europa Orientale e Storia delle città e delle migrazioni. Ha scritto molti saggi sulla trasformazione sociale in Russia e in Asia centrale, tra questi i libri: La rivoluzione capovolta. L’Asia centrale tra il crollo dell’impero zarista e la formazione dell’Urss, l'ancora del mediterraneo, Napoli 2003 (trad. in russo, Moscow, Zven’ya, 2008); Samarcanda, storie in una città dal 1945 ad oggi, Viella, Roma 2015 (trad. in inglese e aggiornato, Roma, Viella, 2020). Ha in corso una ricerca sui migranti africani in Italia. Su questo tema ha scritto: Vite provvisorie, braccianti africani nell'agricoltura globalizzata del Saluzzese, Viella, 2022.

Marco Buttino was Professor of Modern History at the University of Turin, where he also taught History of Eastern Europe and Urban and Migration History. He has written extensively on social transformations in Russia and Central Asia, including the books:  La rivoluzione capovolta. L’Asia centrale tra il crollo dell’impero zarista e la formazione dell’Urss, Naples, l'ancora del mediterraneo, 2003 (Russian translation, Moscow, Zven’ya, 2008) and Samarcanda, storie in una città dal 1945 ad oggi, Viella, Rome 2015 (English and updated translation, Rome, Viella, 2020). He is currently working on African migrants in Italy, On this topic he has recently published Vite provvisorie, braccianti africani nell'agricoltura globalizzata del Saluzzese, Viella, 2022.  

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