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RS200 – Return from Exile: The Literature and Politics of Tatar Identity in the Crimea

This course examines the history of the Crimean Tatars (Kyrymly), the indigenous people of the Crimean peninsula, in the context of their political and cultural ties to the Russian Empire.
This course examines the history of the Crimean Tatars (Kyrymly), the indigenous people of the Crimean peninsula, in the context of their political and cultural ties to the Russian Empire.

Instructor(s)

Associate Professor John Gould email
Associate Professor, Chair Alexei Pavlenko email

In just three days in May 1944, Soviet NKVD troops deported the Crimean Peninsula's entire Tatar population to Uzbekistan--almost 200,000 people. Brutality, lack of care and unsanitary conditions ensured that thousands died en route, while many more died upon arrival or in work camps set aside for men. The deportation remains one of the most rapid and thorough cases of ethnic cleansing in history. Drawing on the insights from political science and cultural studies, this course will examine the history of the Crimean Tatars (Kyrymly), the indigenous people of the Crimean peninsula, in the context of their political and cultural ties to the Russian Empire. The 1944 forced deportation, the ethnic cleansing, and Kyrymly's eventual return home will be the foci of our investigation. We will look at the Russian canonical narratives of Crimean identity and correlate these texts with Kyrymly's own stories of survival and return. The readings and discussions will locate the Tartar case in broader questions about ethnicity, ethnic conflict, genocide, communism and post-communist transitions. Students will travel to the scenic coast of Crimea, Ukraine where they will live and study among local Kyrymly-recent returnees from their long diaspora.

Prerequisite: $$ Extra Expense (taught in Crimea) May 24 - June 15, 2012

Also listed as: PS203