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Generational Politics: Narratives of Power in Central Asia's Visual Culture

  • Author(s): Khudonazar, Anaita
  • Advisor(s): Larkin, Margaret
  • et al.
Abstract

This dissertation focuses on the visual representation of generational politics as it changed during Imperial, Soviet and Post Soviet periods. It argues that the most important shift in visual representation of power relations between generations in Central Asia took place in the late 1920s when a group of cultural producers, which this dissertation introduces as Transsoveticus, entered the Soviet art and film industries. This dissertation demonstrates ways in which these artists and filmmakers used the visual technologies of the Soviet state to continue the artistic traditions of the pre-Soviet era, thereby creating their own niche in form and style. In this respect, this thesis rejects the assumption that Soviet non-Russian and non-Slavic art in the twentieth century is derivative of socialist realism. While theoretically, Soviet popular culture was to be produced in the tradition of socialist realism and was thus to be ideologically unambiguous, most of the analyzed popular works contain other semantic layers that complicate or/and contradict the Soviet narrative. By combining Soviet forms of visual culture with pre-Soviet perceptions of art as a complex system of symbols which change their meaning depending on the viewer's visual history, Transsoveticus cultural producers addressed and continue to address a variety of issues on modernity, technology, rural/urban division, and family structure in Central Asia and outside of it.

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