Please join us for an international conference about the literary, diplomatic, and cultural legacy of renowned Soviet and Kyrgyz writer, Chinghiz Aitmatov. Leading international scholars will discuss complex topics relating to Aitmatov and issues of feminism, colonialism, and national identity. The importance of Aitmatov of Soviet film and music will be considered by a number of prominent figures who knew or collaborated with Aitmatov.
This event is part of the three-day series Celebrating Chinghiz Aitmatov at 90 organized by the Harriman Institute, the Kyrgyz American Foundation, and the American University of Central Asia. This event series also includes a lecture on literature, a photography exhibit, a book talk, and film screenings.
Chinghiz Aitmatov (1928-2008) was one of the leading writers of the post-Stalin thaw and probably the best-known “ethnic” (non-Russian) writer in the USSR. He wrote in both Kyrgyz and Russian but was much more widely read in the latter. Aitmatov was a major figure in Soviet literary and cultural life; his fiction was published in leading Soviet journals and translated into many languages. Along with Andrei Voznesensky, Aitmatov was one of the very few Soviet authors who managed to hold onto an independent yet public position over almost the entire post-Stalinist period, straddling the uncomfortable line between what was controversial and what was officially acceptable. Many of Aitmatov’s novellas were turned into successful films, and his influence on music and the other arts in the USSR was also considerable. Aitmatov, a symbol of the Kyrgyz nation, also served as a diplomat.
(Subject to change)
Welcome — 9:20am
PANEL I — 9:30am-11:30am
Moderator: Dr. Alexander Cooley, Director, Harriman Institute; Claire Tow Professor of Political Science Barnard College
Aitmatov and Soviet Sentimentalism
Andrew Wachtel, President of Narxoz University, Almaty, Kazakhstan; Former President of American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Colonialism and 'National' Culture in Chingiz Aitmatov's Works
Diana Kudaibergenova, Cambridge University
Aitmatov’s Historical Construction of Fictional and Real Kyrgyz Women’s Identity During the Second Half of the Soviet Era
Ali Igmen, Professor of Central Asian History; Director of the Oral History Program at the California State University at Long Beach
The Day Lasts More than a Hundred Years Revisited
Katerina Clark, Professor of Comparative Literature and of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Film and Media Studies at Yale University
Lunch Break — 12:00pm-2:00pm
PANEL II — 2:00pm-4:00pm
Moderator: Aza Sydykov, Concert Pianist and Music Director, President of Kyrgyz American Foundation
Chinghiz Aitmatov and Kyrgyz Classical Music
Muratbek Begaliev, President, Kyrgyz National Conservatory; Professor of Music, Award-winning composer
Aitmatov: The Kyrgyz People’s First Post-colonial Writer
Bolot Shamshiev, Award-winning film director and publicfigure
Chingiz Aitmatov, Writer and Diplomat: The Role of Literature and Culture in the Formation of a New State
Roza Otunbaeva, Former President of Kyrgyz Republic, President of Roza Otunbaeva International Public Foundation