Adrienne Edgar’s Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples—Ethnic Mixing in Soviet Central Asia (Cornell University Press, 2021) is an outstanding study of the evolution of intermarriage practices in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan across the Soviet era and beyond. Based on substantive oral history research work, plus extensive engagement with published and unpublished Soviet sources, the book tells an intriguing story, one that delves into the ever intriguing process of ethnic mixing. As a phenomenon that transcended revolution, war, de-Stalinisation, and independence in a remote part of the Soviet Union, intermarriage becomes a vehicle for a wider argument focusing on the racialization of identities. Edgar’s engaging prose engage with wider process, including the inexorable involution of Soviet internationalism and the rise of primordialism, top describe how mixed couples and families in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan were painfully affected by the growth of ethnic primordialism and by the tensions between the national and supranational projects in the Soviet Union.
Adrienne Edgar is Professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she works on the history of the Soviet Union, especially the history of Central Asia in the Soviet period. She is the author of Tribal Nation: The Making of Soviet Turkmenistan (Princeton University Press, 2006).
Luca Anceschi is Professor of Eurasian Studies at the University of Glasgow, where he is also the editor of Europe-Asia Studies. Follow him on Twitter @anceschistan
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