Giants and Eco-nationalism in Tatar Islamic Literature

artistic representation of giants in Tatar mythology

The College of Integrative Sciences and Arts kicks off its fall 2021 Humanities Lecture Series with this presentation by Agnes Kefeli, clinical full professor in ASU's School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies.

"Even under the officially atheist Soviet state, Volga Tatar intellectuals took pains to introduce their readers to the spiritual riches of their Islamic identity," said Kefeli. "In novels, they reworked older cosmological myths, and subtly connected them to Muslim traditions and culture. One set of myths pertained to giants that once roamed the Volga-Urals region and fashioned its landscape. Expressing hopes and anxieties, those giants became the builders and guardians of sacred geography, threatened by urbanization and secularization in post-Soviet society."

Agnes Kefeli is the author of "Becoming Muslim in Imperial Russia." She is working on a book tentatively called “Enchanting the Eurasian Steppe: Eco-nationalism and Eschatology in Soviet and Post-Soviet Tatar Literature.”  Her research was recently awarded a National Humanities Center Fellowship.

The Humanities Lecture Series is organized by the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts' Faculty of Languages and Cultures at ASU Downtown Phoenix campus.

Zoom link:

Passcode: 233265

Faculty of Languages and Cultures
Mirna Lattouf, Principal Lecturer
Online via Zoom

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