WiP: Policing in Tsarist Turkestan

CRRC, ARISC and American Councils are proud to present the 11th talk of the 2020 Spring Series of the Tbilisi Works-in-Progress series, now celebrating its 10th year!

Given the continuing COVID19 situation, we will once again hold the Works-in-Progress session virtually. The meeting link and password will be posted on Facebook WiP page on the day of the event or will be sent to registered participants on email.

“Surveillance and Control: Policing Practices in Urban Centers of Tsarist Turkestan”

By Malika Zehni, University of Cambridge

Date: June 3, 2020, at 18:30
Venue: for URL RSVP to georgia[at]arisc.org

Upon the Tsarist conquest of Central Asia in the 1860s, Russia’s Finance Minister, Ivan Vyshnegradsky, using the analogy to British India, stated that the region was a ‘precious jewel in the crown of the Russian Emperor’. On the ground, however, the region of Turkestan was seen as in need of shaping and reshaping; it was yet to be carved into a jewel. One of the ways in which the colonial administration sought to remake the region was through the police force. This paper will explore ways in which policing practices in major urban centres of Central Asia intersected with imperial ambitions and colonial insecurities. After providing an overview of the Tsarist ideology in Central Asia, the paper will analyse cases that demonstrate how the policing system was utilised by the colonial administration as well as the indigenous population.

Malika Zehni is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge and recipient of the Cambridge Trust Scholarship. She works on technologies of mobility in colonial Central Asia during the turn of the century. Malika had previously completed her MPhil degree in World History at Cambridge and BA in History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS, University of London. Upon finishing her undergraduate degree, she worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Although this presentation will take place in virtual format, in observation of the spirit of the Chatham House Rule to which the series generally adheres, the talk will not be recorded and we courteously request that the other participants refrain from recording and/or distributing it as well.

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WiP is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the new office of CRRC at Liziko Kavtaradze St. 1. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public.