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Nation, Language, Islam

Helen M. Faller


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1I am deeply grateful to everyone who helped me to realize the goals of this project. My most sincere thanks to all the Tatars, Russians, and other ex-Soviet citizens who generously shared their worldviews with me. Almost without exception, everyone I encountered gave freely of their time, intellectual energy, and social contacts. In particular, I would like to extend my thanks to Rafael Xäkim for helping me obtain visas for two trips to Kazan and for aiding me in gaining access to Tatarstan research institutions. Additionally, I thank Damir Isxakov for acting as my unofficial advisor and tirelessly answering my uninformed questions. I also express gratitude to Rafik Abdurakhmanov for regularly sending me the Institute of History’s most recent publications on federalism. The openness of all the journalists at Radio Azatliq, as well as the members of Shariq Kluby and Üzebez Xäräkäte made this a stronger work. I am grateful to Gamil Nur and Räfis Jemdi for their friendship. Thanks also to all the government officials, school administrators, teachers, and children of Kazan who granted me interviews and allowed me observe how they do things. And thanks all the wonderful people who showed me hospitality by inviting me into their homes, taking me to their bathhouses and dachas, and generally welcoming me into their lives. I would particularly like to acknowledge the help and friendship of the Apakay family, the Isxakovs, and the Shamsutdinovs, especially Räsimä hanim, whom I miss all the time. My gratitude likewise extends to 2000’s 11th class at the Academic College, Fliura at the National Museum, Irina, all the bureaucrats who allowed me to invade their Tatar language lessons, my research assistants Amina Apakaeva and Gulnara Saifeeva, the staff at the National Library, everyone at the Institute of History—especially the members of the Ethnography Department, who generously allowed me to interlope whenever I felt like it—and Sofia Iskenderovna at Kazan Pedagogical University (now the Tatar State University) for her endless goodwill and all her help in making Kağan’s visit to Kazan possible. Thanks also to everyone who remains unnamed here—you are not forgotten. I hope that the findings in this book reflect your lives to some extent and you find something of use in it. My appreciation to the Tatarstan Kitap Näshriiaty for allowing me to reproduce in Chapter 3 the alphabets published in Xälif Kurbatov’s excellent book on Tatar alphabet reform.

2I am grateful to the members of my dissertation-writing group for commenting on the earliest drafts of this work, namely Jenny Gaynor, Lourdes Guitterez, Jeff Jurgens, and Terry Woronov, and to my dissertation committee, Jane Burbank, Judy Irvine, Alaina Lemon, Uli Schamiloglu and Katherine Verdery for nudging me through the initial writing process. I likewise thank Alice Ritscherle for her careful reading of the original introduction and final chapter. Additionally, I am grateful to members of Michigan’s Linguistic Anthropology Lab, and to participants in the International Institute’s Ford Workshop on Interdisciplinary Comparative Cultural Politics, the Social Science Research Council’s Eurasia Program in Dissertation Writing Workshop on Central Asia and the Caucasus, and the Kennan Institute’s Multicultural Legacies in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. All provided useful comments. I am grateful also to Fred Starr and Pat Kolb, who at one time expressed interest in publishing this book, for suggestions on how to revise the manuscript to make it accessible to a broader reading public. Thanks also to Jane Burbank, Liliya Karimova and Aneta Pavlenko for carefully reading and commenting on later drafts, as well as to my anonymous reviewers at the Central European University Press. Thanks also to my copy editor Parker Snyder. Deep, enduring gratitude goes to my dear friend Suzanne Wertheim for her generous spirit and endless hours of discussion about Tatarstan and sociolinguistics that help to refine my thinking.

3The initial research for this book was supported by a US Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Scholarship and an International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) Individual Advanced Research Opportunity, with additional support from a University of Michigan Department of Anthropology Dissertation Research Grant. Financial support for site location and research project development trips to the former Soviet Union was provided by a University of Michigan International Institute Predissertation Research Award for Summer Fieldwork, a Summer Fieldwork Travel Grant from the International Institute’s Ford Seminar in Social Sciences and Area Studies, and a Department of Anthropology Margaret Wray French Fellowship. Funding for further research came from the National Endowment of the Humanities and the American Philosophical Society. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this book do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Likewise, research for this publication was supported in part by a grant from IREX (International Research & Exchanges Board) with funds provided by the United States Department of State through the Title VIII Program. None of these organizations is responsible for the views expressed. I thank them all for their support.

4Finally, big thanks go to my parents, Kathleen Coulborn Faller and Lincoln Faller, without whose unfailing support I would not have undertaken this project. I dedicate this book to my daughter Bernadette. Thank you, BB, for making me laugh at the most unexpected moments.

5Part of Chapter 5 was previously published in a different form as “Repossessing Kazan as a Form of Nation-Building” in Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 22(1): 81–90. All photographs were taken by the author, unless otherwise indicated in the caption line.

© Central European University Press, 2011

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