International Conference: Aitmatov at 90

Thursday, November 29, 2018
9:00am - 5:00pm
World Room, 3rd Floor Pulitzer Hall (2950 Broadway at 116th St, enter through campus on south side of building)

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 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

ModeratorDr. 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