Imagining the Emancipation of Muslim Women in Soviet Turkestan

Daniil Melentyev


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The agitation posters on Muslim women's emancipation and Bolsheviks' gender policy open up a different perspective on the soft sociocultural reforms in Soviet Turkestan. Visual agitation was a means of cultural transfer of Europeanized and secular norms into the patriarchal public and private space and a tool for recoding the indigenous peoples' worldview. The paper investigates visual agitation and analyzes the principles of functioning of emancipation posters of Muslim women in a culturally sophisticated society. Agitation posters are examined as instruments of modernizing women's living environment in cities, villages as well as in the steppe (of a nomadic lifestyle). The paper partly raises the question of the potential limits of the perception of indigenous women's image. The theoretical researches of Soviet art critics are used for this analysis. There is an attempt made to analyze the visual propaganda in the cultural and psychological contexts as well as in terms of the artistic features of the images. The visual agitation is studied as an essential component of emancipation, which played a significant role in promoting the values of Soviet feminists in the first half of the 1920s. 


Gender studies; visual agitation; feminism; Soviet posters; Turkestan


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