Steppe Dreams: Time, Mediation, and Postsocialist Celebrations in Kazakhstan

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University of Pittsburgh Press
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.1 X 1.1 inches | 1.1 pounds
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About the Author
Margarethe Adams, assistant professor at Stony Brook University, is an ethnomusicologist specializing in music and popular culture in Central Asia. She has conducted ethnographic research in Kazakhstan, northwest China, and Mongolia, and has published in Collaborative Anthropologies and The SAGE International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture. Her work investigates temporality and politics in postsocialist culture, and her current research examines popular forms of religion and spirituality, including Muslim pilgrimage, religious healing, and Korean evangelical practices in Kazakhstan.
In vigorous and accessible language, Steppe Dreams deftly illuminates the ubiquitous culture of public festivity, celebration, and pilgrimage in Kazakhstan as a window into the national psyche of this diverse and dynamic country. Margarethe Adams is an insightful ethnographer and graceful writer whose broad knowledge of life in Kazakhstan comes alive on every page.-- "Theodore Levin, Arther R. Virgin Professor of Music, Dartmouth College"
This book engagingly describes how time and space, sound and belief, celebration and memory are negotiated by contemporary Kazakhstani citizens. It is a beautifully written work of cultural studies that provides both an overview for the novice and new insights for the expert.-- "Laura Adams, Harvard University"
Each chapter is a snapshot of a point in the calendar year worthy of celebration--both by Kazakhstanis and readers, whom the author affords the opportunity to witness these commemorations in the former Soviet Socialist Republic.-- "CHOICE Reviews"
The strength of this thought-provoking book lies in Adams's treatment of Kazakh musical traditions. . . . A welcome addition to the scholarship on Kazakhstan.-- "Russian Review"
Margarethe Adams shows us that the Soviet past is never past, that time lingers in pools of memory, structures, habits, celebrations, the arts, and politics. The legacies of a transformative empire endure even in the visions of an alternative future in what seems a precarious and unending pursuit of an elusive happiness. Based on extensive fieldwork in Kazakhstan, Adams explores the nationalizing processes in the independent post-Soviet republic--the revival of Kazakh folk music, the calendar of holidays new and old--as well as the stubborn ideological reminders of the Soviet era. This is a masterwork of thick description of complex cultures in flux that speaks to larger theoretical issues of temporality, memory, and the affective affiliations to nation.-- "Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Michigan"