skip to primary navigationskip to content

Talk by Dr Siddharth (Montu) Saxena on 'Projected Commonality in Bukhara'

When Nov 24, 2017
from 11:00 AM to 01:00 PM
Where Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT
Contact Name
Add event to calendar vCal

Cambridge Central Asia Forum in collaboration with the Centre of
Development Studies, University of Cambridge cordially invites you to a
talk by

Dr Siddharth (Montu) Saxena, Cambridge Central Asia Forum, Jesus
College, University of Cambridge; Centre for Development Studies,
University of Cambridge


Projected Commonality in Bukhara

Date: 24 November
Time: 11am-1pm
Venue: Room S2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT


Dr Saxena uses experience of Bukhara as a Silk Road city to propose the idea of a ‘Projected Commonality’ to garner insight and answer the question - how multi-ethnic and multi-faith cities have historically ‘worked.’  This paper attempts to articulate the view that in Bukhara the nature of cosmopolitanism is constructed not by the usual means of creating a hybrid society through inter-ethnic and inter-religious mixing, but through building of trade, education, community, cultural and ritualistic institutions.  This ‘Projected Commonality’ creates spaces for interaction where Bukharans have achieved not just mere tolerance but a way to celebrate the differences and to coexist peacefully.


The paper contrasts this locally readable plurality with the case of the Muslim Jews, Chala, who converted to Islam. The Chala tag is a derogatory one, as it refers to something that is in-between or incomplete.  This is how these hybrids, who had transgressed religious and ethnic lines, were viewed in the local social landscape. However, for the Soviet ideologues such groups were ready made and ideal Soviet citizens who seem to imbibe what looked like the Western forms of cosmopolitanism. They were the ones to be celebrated, to be turned into role models to bring ‘tolerance’ and civilisation to these oriental backwaters.

Everyone is welcome.