The Hungry Steppe: Famine, Violence, and the Making of Soviet Kazakhstan

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Thursday, March 19th, 2020

Thursday, March 19, 20202:00PM - 4:00PM108N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
M5S 3K7
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Prof. Cameron’s talk, which is based upon recent book, The Hungry Steppe: Famine, Violence, and the Making of Soviet Kazakhstan (Cornell University Press, 2018), examines one of the most heinous crimes of the Stalinist regime, the Kazakh famine of 1930-33. More than 1.5 million people perished in this crisis, a quarter of Soviet Kazakhstan’s population, and the disaster transformed a territory the size of western Europe.
Drawing upon a wide range of sources in Russian and in Kazakh, her talk brings this largely unknown story to light, revealing its devastating consequences for Kazakh society. It finds that through the most violent means the Kazakh famine created Soviet Kazakhstan and forged a new Kazakh national identity. But the nature of this transformation was uneven. Neither Kazakhstan nor Kazakhs themselves became integrated into the Soviet system in precisely the ways that Moscow had originally hoped. More broadly, she shows how the case of the Kazakh famine overturns several assumptions about violence, modernization, and nation-making under Stalin.


Larysa Iarovenko


Sarah Cameron
University of Maryland

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