Language Dreamers: Race and the Politics of Etymology in the Caucasus
Yale-NUS College; University of Iowa
March 30, 2010
CAUCASUS PARADIGMS: ANTHROPOLOGIES, HISTORIES, AND THE MAKING OF A WORLD AREA, Halle Studies in the Anthropology of Eurasia, Vol. 13, pp. 143-166, Bruce Grant, Lale Yalçın-Heckmann, eds., Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2007
This essay presents an ethnographic narrative of Suleiman Gumashvili, the poet-scholar of the village of Joqolo, in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge. Gumashvili is currently engaged in a project to demonstrate that Chechen is the most ancient language in the world. His intellectual ambitions reveal how premodern Caucasian cultures have been remade by modern nationalist imaginaries.
Contextualizing the recent resurgence in this region of “gentlemen-scholars” such as Gumashvili pursuing projects serving linguistic nationalist ends within the history of linguistic ethnonationalism and Soviet Ibero-Caucasian linguistics, I argue that Suleiman’s intellectual ambitions deserve to be taken more seriously by scholars of language politics as well as of national identity, and that his work merits a place in the intellectual history of scholarship on language and identity.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
Keywords: language, nationalism, Marr, Kists, Pankisi, Chechnya, Gumashvili, post-Soviet, linguists, Georgiaworking papers series
Date posted: April 3, 2010 ; Last revised: March 15, 2013
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo1 in 0.312 seconds