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Abstract

This dissertation investigates how post-Soviet Uzbekistan appropriated 15-16th century history and historiographies in constructing a national identity and a national historical memory. I pursue how a particular historiographic problem has played out in history-writing in Central Eurasia and shaped the discourses and practices of nation-building in post-Soviet Uzbekistan, a problem that I refer to as the “Shibanid Question”: where should the Shibanids stand in the history of “Uzbekistan”? Tracing back to as early as the 16th century when the Shibanid rulers themselves had to reconcile their nomadic roots with Timurid customs, institutions, and cultures of sedentary rule, I illuminate the longue durée process whereby Turkic, Persian, imperial Russian, and early Soviet historiographers have addressed the Shibanid Question in hallowing the Timurids as progenitor of the Uzbeks and of Uzbekistan. I analyze these processes anchored in 15-16th century Persian and Chaghatay historiography, 19-20th century Russian historiography, and post-Soviet applications of those historiographies on nation-building.

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