Department of History Undergraduates Jiayi Zhou and Peter Worger have had research accepted for publication in a pair of widely respected academic journals. Students of Associate Professor Victoria Frede, Zhou’s research will appear in The Journal of Slavic Military Studies while Worger’s work will be highlighted in Communist and Post-Communist Studies.
Titled “The Muslim Battalions: Soviet Central Asians in the Soviet-Afghan War," Zhou’s research concerns the Soviet military’s use of soldiers of Afghan ethnicities (Uzbek, Tajik, Turkmen, and others) during its war in Afghanistan. Zhou challenges earlier views that Soviet Muslims and Central Asians were unreliable soldiers who colluded with mujahedin, and points to a more balanced perspective of their role in Afghanistan.
With the help of a grant from the Department of History, Zhou was able to conduct extensive research in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in March 2010. “As a student of history, it meant a lot to be able to put faces to the research, and to interact as a person with the veterans whose stories I was trying to understand,” explained Zhou. “One veteran took me to a cemetery for fallen soldiers, shed tears where his friend was buried. It was a tremendous experience.”
Worger’s article titled "A Mad Crowd: Skinhead Youth and the Rise of Nationalism in Post-Communist Russia," focuses on the emergence of neo-Nazi groups in post-soviet Russia. He posits that these groups signify a fundamental trend in Russian political culture rather than operating on the margins of it, and that they are the result of political reformations in the country and the spread of global capitalism. Worger’s research will be published in Communist and Post-Communist Studies, and it will appear in the journal’s 20th anniversary retrospective on the fall of Soviet Russia.
-Alex Coughlin, History Staff