Abstract: The paper analyses the earliest attempts of the first generation of SovietKazakh writers, mainly, Sabit Mukanov to Sovietize and modernize the past. These processes included the reconceptualization of the previous epochs and Kazakh historical development. The first decades of the Soviet order in Central Asia and Kazakhstan brought about a new ideology and new tools for intellectual and creative production, educational renaissance and uniformity of cultural censorship. By analysing the role played by the early Soviet Kazakh writers played in the processes of educational and cultural modernization in Soviet Kazakhstan, the paper traces the development of narratives, discourses and frameworks using Sabit Mukanov’s work to trace show how Kazakh Soviet tradition of cultural and artistic representations was created.

Keywords: Orientalism, Literature, Nationalism, Post-Soviet, Women, Central Asia, Post-Socialist


The 1920s and 1930s decades in Soviet Kazakhstan was were a defining and transformative period for Kazakh culture and literature when new Soviet institutions of literary and cultural production and control were established. Kazakh intelligentsia identified as “not simply educated people” but rather as a group who “are knowledgeable people who have a critical spirit in relation to the existing society and a desire to bring it closer to their ideal” (Uyama 2001: 76) were at the fore of these processes. These intellectuals were involved in the process of re-defining authentic Kazakh national identity, understood here in terms of a cultural and semi-political united community, heritage and traditions guiding the further development of the community in the future.