Claire Roosien

Assistant Professor
HQ 539
Fields of interest : 

Central Eurasian literature and culture; Cultural History; Culture and ideology; Comparative history; Minorities and minoritization in the Russian Empire and Soviet Union; Soviet culture; Socialist Realism; Transmediality; Orthodox Christianity

I am a cultural historian of modern Eurasia. At Yale, I teach courses on modern Central Asia, Soviet and post-Soviet culture, and Russian empire and imperialism. My book-in-progress, Socialism Mediated: Culture, Propaganda, and the Public in Early Soviet Uzbekistan, examines how Central Asian cultural intermediaries imagined and mobilized mass participation through Socialist Realist cultural production: poetry, novels, film, newspapers, and material culture, among other media. Drawing on published and archival sources in several Eurasian languages, I posit the category of the “state public” to describe the contested imaginaries of state control and public participation, which were particularly fraught along lines of gender and nationality. In my analysis, Socialist Realism emerges as a mode for public-formation, much as ego-documents have been examined as modes for the formation of a Soviet subjectivity. From this project, my article on the Red Teahouse as an institution of the state public in Central Asia appeared in Kritika in Summer 2021, and an article on textiles as propaganda for Central Asian women is forthcoming in Central Asian Survey

My planned second project will explore the cultural history of the Aral Sea. Another project, based on archival fieldwork in Chuvashia and Tatarstan, examines the afterlives of Orthodox Christian missionary schools for non-Russian minorities in prerevolutionary and early Soviet Russia. Other article-length projects at the research stage examine Central Asian women’s performance culture as national and imperial representation, childcare on Uzbekistan’s collective farms, and Pirimqul Qodirov’s national/ internationalist novel, Starry Nights (Bobur). I also have an interest in literary translation.

Before coming to Yale, I taught courses in Russian history, the Development of Western Civilization, and women’s and gender studies in the Department of History and Classics at Providence College.


AB, University of Chicago, 2010

AM, University of Chicago, 2014

PhD, University of Chicago, 2019

Working Languages:

Uzbek; Russian; Turkish; Persian/ Tajik; Chuvash

Selected Publications: 

Peer-reviewed articles

“‘Not Just Tea Drinking’: The Red Teahouse and the Soviet State Public in Interwar Uzbekistan.” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 22, no. 3 (2021): 479–510. 

“I Dress in Silk and Velvet: Women, Textiles, and the Textile-Text in 1930s Uzbekistan,” Central Asian Survey (forthcoming).

Other Publications

“Official Culture and Tactical Discourse in Kirill Tomoff’s ‘Uzbek Music’s Separate Path: Interpreting ‘Anticosmopolitanism’ in Stalinist Central Asia, 1949-52,’” Russian Review e-feature (forthcoming).

“Not By Archives Alone: The ‘Revolution’ in Soviet Central Asian Literary Studies,” Iranian Studies archival report (forthcoming).

 (Review) Shoshana Keller, Russia and Central Asia: Coexistence, Conquest, Convergence, University of Toronto Press, Russian Review (forthcoming).


Translations of Abdulla Qahhor, “Pomegranates” and “Earthquake”; and selected Zulfiya and Oydin poems, with introductions, in Tulips in Bloom: An Anthology of Modern Central Asian Literature, Palgrave Macmillan Press (forthcoming).

Commentary on and translations of Uzbek women’s poetry, published in Alexander Street database Women and Social Movements in Modern Europe Since 1820, 2016.