Year of Graduation
History of Ethnic Identity in the Karagash Nogai Community
This paper is dedicated to the history of the Karagash, also known as Karagash Nogai, an indigenous ethnic group of Astrakhan Oblast, Russia. The Karagash have never been recognized as a separate ethnic group by the governments that controlled the territory. During the 20th century, they have been officially considered integral parts of several ethnic groups, but never a separate one in its own right. Mother tongue lessons in their schools switched from Volga Tatar to Russian and then to Nogai, thanks to the ethnic policies of the state, while in reality most of the Karagash never considered any of these languages native. However, this complex situation resulted in the coexistence of people with different ethnic and linguistic identities within one relatively small community. Combining historical, anthropological sociological and linguistic methods, this project is aimed at understanding this situation and its causes, describing the process of shifting identities and projecting possible future development of the ethnic and linguistic identity in the community and the degree to which their culture and language are preserved.