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April 17, 2024

Zulfiya Tursunova Presents at the roundtable “Decentering Russian History through Central Asia” at the 2024 Southern Conference on Slavic Studies

Chairperson of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies and an Associate Professor, Zulfiya Tursunova, gave a talk on “Centering women’s empowerment in Uzbekistan” at the 2024 Sothern Conference on Slavic Studies held on March 14-16, 2024. She highlighted the trajectory of the Soviet genocidal land tenure changes that had severe implications for the Aral Sea disaster, the expansion of cotton production and cash crop economy, and the shift from subsistence farming into a sharecropping arrangement when peasants fell into debt. Zulfiya argued that Russian scholars as part of the imperial machine and scholarship drew on their narrative reference and attitude and articulated Eurocentrically the relationship between the imperial power and the cultural representation of women and the creation of a “new spiritual man.”

Zulfiya provided examples of women-driven micro-credit informal systems networks, that represent a collection action against the economic dependency of women on men, state micro-credit systems, and women’s committees established during the Soviet period to which women at the grassroots level prefer not to resort. These social and economic networks that do not require external donor interventions and function outside the mainstream economic assessment have been able to empower women for social justice, redistribution of resources, knowledge, voice, and conflict transformation that are vital for peace and community development. Female religious leaders use their discursive knowledge, based on Islam, Sufism, shamanism, and animism to challenge and transform women's subordination, abuse, limited property rights, and other practices that impinge on women's needs and rights. Through different ceremonial practices, they create space for raising the critical consciousness of women and transform the social order for maintaining organic peace in the communities.

Professor Zulfiya Tursunova, wearing a blue jacket and black glasses