TITLE: The Tale of Joseph and Zulaykha and Tatar National Identity on the Volga Frontier
SPEAKER: Agnes Kefeli
EVENT DATE: 10/22/2009
RUNNING TIME: 48 minutes
The ancient tale of Joseph, son of Jacob, was a "best seller" on the Silk Road from Russia to China. Before the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, Tatars, a Turkic-speaking people living in the Middle Volga, used it to propagate Islam and address the internal communal fractures caused by Russian colonization. Today, proponents of national Islamic identity call for the re-appropriation of such tales to restore boundaries between Tatars and Russians.
Speaker Biography: Dr. Agnes Kefeli currently holds a Kluge Fellowship with the Library of Congress. She was trained at the Institute of Oriental Languages in Paris and received her doctorate degree from Arizona State University's History Department in 2001. She is fluent in French, Russian, English, Volga Tatar, and has skills in a number of other languages. Currently Kefeli teaches about Islam and world religions at the School of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. She has an extensive publication record and list of awards for both her teaching and for her research. As a Kluge Fellow she undertook to complete a monograph.