【Report】 The 8th AJI Book Launch was held! Associate Professor Chika Obiya (Center for Southeast Asia Studies, Kyoto University) reported on her own book about the modernization of Uzbekistan.

On Wednesday, July 13 (17: 00 ~ 18: 00), the 8th AJI Book Launch was held online, and this time featured a newly published book, Modernity in the Veil: The Experience of Post-socialist Uzbekistan, written in Japanese by Associate Professor Chika Obiya of the Center for Southeast Asia Studies, Kyoto University and published in January 2022 by Tokyo Press,)). The Asia-Japan Research Institute invited her for this event.

This book traces the pursuit of modernity in Uzbekistan since the latter half of the nineteenth century and centering on the issue of the Islamic veil, critically examines the twentieth-century-way of modernity, and considers a possible path for an alternative modernity.

Firstly, Professor Obiya overviewed Uzbekistan’s way of pursuing modernity and sorted out the historical periods from the age of Tsarist Russia, to the Soviet Union, to modern Uzbekistan, and discussed the realities and representations of Muslim women and their veils in each period. Additionally, modernism in contemporary Uzbekistan, which can be described as a crossover between post-socialism, authoritarianism and the Islamic revival, was examined in detail. The appearance of veils and the actual status of wearing veils in Uzbekistan were explicated, and the experience of Uzbekistan as a post-socialist country led to a discussion based on empirical grounds about how to think about the diversity of modernity. These overviews of this book were quite thought-provoking for a new book introduction.

In the Q&A session, attendees could share academically interesting exchanges concerning issues such as the social awareness of hijab (veil) of young Muslim women in the post-Karimov era, the possibility of the growth of political movements led by women wearing hijab, and the secularization of religion in Uzbekistan. This book launch was a very meaningful in the sense that we could learn about the historical and contemporary situation of Uzbekistan, which is country that most people living in Japan are quite unfamiliar with.

Associate Professor Obiya reporting her own book

Attendees for this book launch