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Please join us on 2/24 for a lecture by Victor Shnirelman. This event is part of the Central Asian Lecture Series. ~JRT

“The Politics of a Name in the Northern Caucasus: the Alan Controversy”
Victor Shnirelman, Kennan Institute

Friday, February 24
12:00 noon
336 Ingraham Hall

About the lecture: The abrupt growth of nationalism in the very late 20th through very early 21st centuries manifested itself in particular in the intense discussions of ethnic names and their changes to meet the vital demands of ethnic groups or their elites. A search for a new identity did not escape the Northern Caucasus where today various ethnic groups are eager to identify themselves with the Alans. The speaker will discuss the nature of this discourse: the meaning of the name of the Alans for such groups as the Ossetians, Balkars, Karachai, Ingush and Chechens; the connections between the "Alans", moral values and territorial claims; a symbolic content of the new republican emblems; a political and ideological wars which are waged with the reference to the Alan ancestors.

About the speaker: Victor Shnirelman is the Chief Researcher at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and a member of the Academia Europaea. During the last 15 years, he has focused on nationalism and ethnicity, social memory, politics of the past, culture wars and ethnic conflicts. From the fall of 2005 through the spring of 2006 he will be a fellow of the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. He is an author of about 300 publications including more than 10 books in Russian and English.

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