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Gould, Rebecca Ruth (2008) 'Language Dreamers: Race and the Politics of Etymology in the Caucasus.' In: Grant, Bruce and Yalcin-Heckmann, Lale, (eds.), Caucasus paradigms : anthropologies, histories and the making of a world area. Münster: Lit Verlag, pp. 143-166. (Halle studies in the anthropology of Eurasia, v. 13)

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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.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: language, nationalism, Marr, Kists, Pankisi, Chechnya, Gumashvili, post-Soviet, linguists, Georgi
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
ISBN: 9783825899066
ISSN: 1556-5068
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2023 06:59

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