Gastvortrag Razia Sultanova

“You claim you are Uzbek, but you can’t play Dutar!”:
Music and National Identity of Uzbeks in Afghanistan

in english


Montag,17. März 2014 / 18.00 Uhr
ORT: Seminarraum des Instituts für 
Volksmusikforschung und Ethnomusikologie,
(AW U0213), Ungargasse 14/2. Stock,1030 Wien

Afghanistan is a war-torn country sitting in an important geostrategic location which connects the Middle East with Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Since the 1970s, the country has lived through a number of invasions and continual combat, with agents like the Soviets, Mujahedin, Taliban and the Western Alliance producing chaos and turmoil for daily life, through which cultural forms and values are still surviving. Today, Afghanistan‘s rich music scene combines the sounds of militant anthems with energetic pop music and deeply devotional Sufi chants performed in different places for different occasions in different languages (Dari, Pashto, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen). The variety of music performed in Afghanistan poses questions about the identity of that musical culture and its connections with the music of the wider region of Central Asia. However the main sources for the presentation are the interviews with famous north Afghan singer and musician Usto Said Kamoliddin who is considered to be the founder of a particular school of Uzbek traditional music. This school deserves the exploration of national identity as a social category for Uzbek communities in their life in Afghanistan


Razia Sultanova is a Fellow at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge, and Director of the Centre for Central Asian music. She graduated from the Uzbek State Conservatory and was awarded her PhD by the Moscow State Conservatory. Razia Sultanova is the editor of a special issue „Music and Identity in Central Asia“ of the journal “Ethnomusicology Forum“ (2005) and of the book „Sacred Knowledge: Schools or revelation? Master-Apprentice System of Oral Transmission in the Music of the Turkic Speaking World“ (2009). The second edition of her monograph “From Shamanism to Sufism: Women, Islam and Culture in Central Asia“ (2011) is currently being published by IBTauris, London-New York.