Uzbekistan: A Modernizing Society

Underestimating Uzbekistan’s legacy of modernist secularism, Americans often stereotype the nation as one of the poor and backward ‘‘-stans.’’ Many Central Asia analysts accept at face value nationalist, pan-Turkic, or Islamist versions of the region’s past, dismissing as inauthentic anything that is modern, Western, or familiar. Focusing on the exotic or (in the case of the Fergana Valley) dangerous, they foster misperceptions about the character of Uzbekistan that result in flawed policies.

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