Exploring Iconicity and Erasure Related to the Kazakh Nomadic Ideal as Tradition

Erik A. Aasland (Fuller Theological Seminary)

Proverbs and oral tradition are important resources for presenting national identity / tradition whether by individuals or organizations. For many contemporary Kazakhs the words of Kazybek Bi back in the 18th century in this statement to Chinese officials that Kazaks are a “sheep herding people” are key to their sense of natural and necessary identity. What I want to do in this paper is explore the three-fold aspects that Irvine and Gal present in their 1995 article: iconicity, recursiveness, and erasure. In recent years there have been challenges to this nomadic ideal and its part in Kazakh self-understanding.

Part of 64-04 Folklore and Social Change, Saturday, October 23, 2:00 pm–3:30 pm