This book describes the socio-economic history, cultural experience and identity of a group of Kyrgyz herders who worked on collective farms in Soviet Uzbekistan in the second half of the 20th century. It tells the story of the herders and their families, who, for more than 50 years, led a semi-nomadic life, wintering on the collective farms in the Fergana Valley and summering in the high jailoos or summer pastures of the Chatkal and Fergana mountain ranges of Central Asia.
Their historical and cultural experiences emerge through the extraordinary life stories of two people, Köchümkul, son of Mingbay (1906-1986), and his daughter-in-law Kumu, daughter of Düyshöbay (1931-2011). The reminiscences of 20 elderly Kyrgyz herders and their family members further embellish the text. Accounts of key events in Soviet history and rich descriptions of Kyrgyz cultural traditions provide a rich backdrop for these personal stories.
The book contains unpublished folk stories as well as original, valuable ethnographic material about Kyrgyz and Uzbek cultures in the Fergana Valley. It includes a DVD presenting a video film with English subtitles documenting the return of Kumu to the Yspy jailoo in summer of 2009, black and white photographs taken during the 1970s, and color photographs taken between 2009 and 2011 in the same jailoo by the authors. The book is intended for scholars, students, the Kyrgyz public and everyone interested in Kyrgyz nomadic or pastoral life, values, customs, and traditional knowledge on family and kinship relations, nature and livestock raising.
Published with support from the University of Central Asia and The Christensen Fund.
The book can be purchased from University of Central Asia’s Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org