Global Voices on Pluralism

Exploring history and memory as a pathway to pluralism in Kyrgyzstan

April 2018

The Centre has launched Global Voices on Pluralism, a new publication series. The first papers in this series were produced as part of the Centre’s project, “History and Memory in Kyrgyzstan: Toward an Inclusive Society,” developed to support local scholarship on Pluralism. Each paper explores an aspect of Kyrgyzstan’s history as a diverse society with the aim of generating awareness in Kyrgyzstan about the importance of more inclusive historical narratives as a pathway to pluralism.

In 2016, the Centre partnered with institutions in Kyrgyzstan on a nation-wide call-for-papers (in English, Russian and Kyrgyz) to support research on Kyrgyzstan’s past as it relates to the country’s diversity. Partners included the Central Asian Studies Institute at AUCA, the French Institute for Central Asian Studies (IFEAC), Bishkek Humanities University and Osh State University.

Through history and memory societies make choices about inclusion or exclusion. For example, are the histories of certain groups recognized? How are past grievances addressed? What are the gaps between the “official” history and people’s remembered past? Are practices to remember the past inclusive of all, or limited to some? These papers offer a unique look at some of the unexplored aspects of Kyrgyzstan’s rich diversity.

Local researchers were selected and paired with mentors. An international advisory committee peer reviewed the submitted research papers. In December 2016, the Centre hosted the forum, History and Memory in Kyrgyzstan: Toward an Inclusive Society at the American University of Central Asia (AUCA). Researchers presented their findings on the theme of building inclusive historical narratives that reflect Kyrgyzstan’s diversity.

The seven papers cover a range of issues related to Kyrgyzstan’s diversity. Two of the international advisory committee members, Dr. Jeff Sahadeo (Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada) and Dr. Morgan Liu (Ohio State University, Columbus, USA) reflect on the themes of ethnic diversity and social and religious diversity discussed in the papers. See their respective comments below.

Reflections on ethnic diversity in Kyrgyzstan & implications for pluralism: papers by Janyl Bokontaeva, Amantur Japarov, Ideat Temirbek uulu and Gulrano Ataeva – Comments by Dr. Jeff Sahadeo

Reflections on social and religious diversity in Kyrgyzstan and implications for pluralism: papers by Askar Mambetaliev, Negizbek Shabdanaliev and Myktar Tagaev – Comments by Dr. Morgan Liu