Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ivy League Gang Affiliations

It appears that clothing with Ivy League university monograms have become popular apparel with street gangs. According to this post by Todd Zywicki at The Volokh Conspiracy the favored school for gang bangers is Dartmouth College. But Harvard has a strong following among the Bloods. I am pretty sure that SOAS being a British institution with a symbol that looks like it came from the Lebanese flag will never have to worry about this problem. So I do not think I will have to worry about being shot for wearing the wrong gang colors. But, I would say that wearing a Harvard sweat shirt now in a Crips neighborhood is probably asking to be killed.

Friday, February 23, 2007

It Has Been 63 Years Since the Deportation of the Chechens and Ingush

On the morning of 23 February 1944, the NKVD began the systematic round up and deportation of almost the entire Chechen and Ingush nations from their mountain homeland. In the course of a week 19,000 NKVD, NKGB and SMERSH operatives leading 100,000 NKVD internal troops herded over 387,000 Chechens and 91,000 Ingush into 180 train echelons bound for Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The Stalin regime dispersed over four fifths of these mountain peoples across the vast flat plains of Kazakhstan. Here the unfamiliar climate, poor housing, inadequate food and a lack of medical care killed tens of thousands of them during the next couple of years. The NKVD also placed them under special settler restrictions that reduced them to the status of state serfs with no freedom of movement. The Soviet government only released them from this bondage on 16 July 1956. The deportees took advantage of this new freedom to return home to the Caucasus. Finally on 11 February 1957 the regime in Moscow finished recreating the Chechen-Ingush ASSR, despite refusing to return significant portions of its previous territory. The culture, traditional way of life and even the physical existence of the Chechen and Ingush nations came under extreme pressure during their years of exile. The deportations and years of special settlement are traumatic events in the collective memory of the Chechens and Ingush and form an important part of their national narrative.

The initial round up of the Chechens and Ingush involved considerable violence on the part of the Soviet security forces. They arrested over 2,000 people and confiscated over 20,000 firearms. More notably they perpetrated a number of massacres during the operation. The most notorious of these occurred at Khaibakh. Here the NKVD herded over 200 Chechens into barns and other buildings and then set them on fire. This atrocity has become a particularly important symbol in the long litany of Chechen suffering.

The NKVD stuffed the deportees into train wagons meant for the transport of livestock or freight, not humans. On average about 45 people shared each car. They had only a bucket or hole in the floor for a latrine and little food or water. Outbreaks of typhus and other diseases killed many people before they even arrived in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The material deprivation and deaths from infectious illnesses such as typhus would only increase in the areas of special settlement.

In Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan the Chechens and Ingush lived and frequently died in conditions of extreme poverty. They lacked adequate housing, food, clothing, shoes and access to medical care. Hunger, cold and disease afflicted them daily. Repeated epidemics of typhus resulted from the unhygienic and cramped living conditions forced upon the deportees. In combination with chronic malnutrition this disease proved extremely deadly to the Chechen and Ingush exiles.

The Chechens and Ingush suffered truly staggering losses as a result of the deportations and poor material conditions in exile. D.M. Ediev, a Karachai demographer, estimates that the deaths in excess of normal mortality among the Chechens between 1944 and 1952 at over 125,000 or more than 30% of their total population. The Ingush had a somewhat lower mortality rate with a little over 20,000 excess deaths or a little over 20% of their population. (See Ediev, table 104, p. 294) Stalin thus killed a portion of the Chechen population roughly equal to the percentage of Jews in the world to perish in the Holocaust. The Ingush lost a segment of their population proportionately as large as the Gypsy deaths at the hands of the Nazis.

Despite its massive scale there is little public awareness in the English-speaking world of Stalin’s racially motivated crimes against the Chechens, Ingush and others. In large part this is because the Russian government and Russian people unlike Germany have not come to terms with these monumental crimes. They have been greatly aided in this refusal to admit wrongdoing by the US government, academia and media.


N.F. Bugai, ed., “Deportatsiia: Beriia dokladyvaet Stalinu,” Kommunist, no. 1, 1991, pp. 101-112.

D.M. Ediev, Demograficheskie poteri deportirovannykh narodov SSSR (Stavropol’: ‘Argus’, 2003).

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Imaginary Course Number Four: Deported Nationalities in Kazakhstan and Central Asia


Alexeyeva, Ludmilla, Soviet Dissent: Contemporary Movements for National, Religious and Human Rights (Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1985).

Allworth, Edward, ed., The Tatars of Crimea: Return to the Homeland (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998).

Bachmann, Berta, trans. Duin, Edgar, Memories of Kazakhstan: A Report on the Life Experience of A German Woman in Russia (Lincoln, ND: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1983).

Martin, Terry, The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939 (Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell University Press, 2001).

Naimark, Norman, Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001).

Pohl, J. Otto, Ethnic Cleansing in the USSR, 1937-1949 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999).

Polian, Pavel, Against Their Will: The History and Geography of Forced Migrations in the USSR (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2004).

Sheehy, Ann and Nahaylo, Bohdan, The Crimean Tatars, Volga Germans and Meskhetians: Soviet Treatment of Some National Minorities (London: Minority Rights Group, 1986).

Uehling, Greta Lynn, Beyond Memory: The Crimean Tatars’ Deportation and Return (NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).

Weitz, Eric D., A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003).

Course Description:

This course will examine the history of Stalin’s deportation of whole nationalities from the Caucasus and other regions west of the Urals to Kazakhstan and Central Asia. In particular it will focus on the Russian-Germans, Karachays, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Crimean Tatars and Meskhetian Turks exiled to special settlements in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan during World War II. The course will cover the development of Soviet nationalities policies during the 1920s and 1930s, the planning and conduct of the deportations, the changing legal and material conditions of the deportees, their struggles for rehabilitation and return and finally, post-Soviet conditions. Among other factors the course will look at the roles played by geography, language, economics, religion, memory and gender in the historical development of the deported nationalities in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Special attention will be paid to the differences between the deported national groups in regards to cultural retention and political mobilization. The course will seek to ascertain the root causes of these variations. A comparative approach will be followed throughout the course.

Course Requirements:

This course will consist primarily of seminar discussions of the assigned reading. Unless otherwise noted, students are to read the entire book named in the assignment. At the end of every two weeks each student will be required to submit a 400 to 500 word comparative review of the week’s reading. This review should highlight the similarities and differences in both the subjects and the viewpoints of the works being examined. These short critiques will form a substantial part of the final grade. Each student will also be required to write a 3000 to 3500 word research paper on one of the nationalities deported to Kazakhstan and Central Asia. This paper is due at the end of week nine. Please submit a copy of this paper to each student as well as the instructor. The class will discuss these papers during week twelve and thirteen of the course. Plagiarism will result in failing the course and notification of the Dean.


Five Short Critiques 30% (6% each)
Final Research Paper 50%
Oral Participation 20%


Week 1 Introduction and Course Organization

Weeks 2-3 Concepts and Parallel Cases of Ethnic Cleansing and Racial Exclusion

Naimark and Weitz

Weeks 4-5 Nationality Policies in the USSR during the 1920s and 1930s


Weeks 6-7 Deportations

Pohl and Polian

Weeks 8-9 Life Under the Special Settlement Regime

Bachmann and Uehling

Weeks 10-11 Unrehabilitated Nationalities: Russian-Germans, Crimean Tatars and Meskhetian Turks

Alexeyeva chapters 7-9, pp. 137-174, Allworth, and Sheehy and Bohdan

Weeks 12-13 Conclusion

Student research papers

Lunch at the Red Rooster Cafe

Today after finishing hours of footnote typing I did some less mind numbing work. I went with my organizing assistant for the International Conference on International Borders and Migration, Chris O'Byrne, to the Red Rooster Cafe for lunch. After making sure that the food was up to proper international standards I reserved lunch at the large table for the participants of the conference on 10 March 2007. I wish all my work was as enjoyable.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Footnote: There Has to be a Better Way

I just spent nearly nine hours during the last three days correcting or more accurately standardizing 68 footnotes for a paper that will be published as a chapter in an anthology. Most of the work was in making sure that periods, commas and parentheses all corresponded to the Chicago Style. In particular I found having to provide the full publishing information each time a work was first cited as a footnote to be an exercise in redundancy. The Chicago Style requires a works cited page which already has all this information. Thus I think providing the author's name, the title of the work and the page number should be sufficient for all the footnotes. If a reader wants to know the city of publication, the publishing house or the date of publication he can look the source up by name and title on the works cited page. But, for some reason the people who came up with the stylistic guidelines for the Chicago Style wanted me to spend hours copying and pasting publishing minutia from the works cited page to the footnotes. I am not sure why this replication is deemed necessary, but it caused me to spend over a full work day engaged in mind numbing drudgery.

I realize that for academic work there really is no substitute for the footnote. Although as I note above I think they should all be simplified with the full publishing information limited to either a works cited page or a bibliography. But, for popular works I find footnotes to be annoying. Unless it is an outrageous claim I do not generally bother checking the citations in works aimed at a non-scholarly audience. A number of people have told me they like footnotes because they serve as lists of suggested further reading. I agree that lists of suggested further reading are helpful, but I think that there are better ways than footnotes to provide them. Right now for my popular history, Catherine's Grandchildren: A Short History of the Russian-Germans under Soviet Rule, I am dispensing with footnotes in favor of having a short bibliographical and historiographical essay on each chapter at the back of the book. These essays will deal with the major sources I used in writing the chapter. Due to the nature of the book's intended audience I will be giving special emphasis to those sources available in English. I think that this is a better way to provide information both on the book's source base and give readers suggestions for further reading on the topic.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Imaginary Course Number Three: Introduction to the History of Kazakhstan and Central Asia Under Russian and Soviet Rule


Allworth, Edward, ed., Central Asia: 130 Years of Russian Dominance: A Historical Overview, 3rd edition (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1994).

Martin, Terry, An Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939 (Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell University Press, 2001).

Nove, Alec and Newth, J.A., The Soviet Middle East: A Communist Model for Development? (New York: Praeger, 1967).

Polian, Pavel, Against Their Will: The History and Geography of Forced Migrations in the USSR (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2004).

Course Description:

This course is an introductory survey course to the history of present day Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. In particular the course will concentrate on the era of Soviet rule from 1917 to 1991. The course will treat the area chronologically and emphasize the political, economic and social changes it experienced under Soviet rule. Among the topics that will be examined are the development of territorialized national identifications, the political subordination of the region to Moscow, the radical transformation of the territory’s economy and ecology and the changing social roles played by Islam and women in recent history. These topics will be covered in the course of examining the important political events in Soviet history and their impact on Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Among these events are the Bolshevik Revolution, Civil War, demarcation of internal Soviet borders along national lines, collectivization, industrialization, the assault on religion, the Purges, World War II, the Thaw and finally Glasnost and Perestroika. The course will emphasize a comparative approach and concentrate on the historical similarities and differences between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the two largest nations in the region.

Course Requirements:

This course will consist of lectures and discussions based upon the assigned reading. At the end of each week every student will be required to submit a 200 to 300 word long summary of the week’s readings. This summary should include the main points and themes addressed by the author. These summaries will count significantly towards the final grade for the class. Each student will also be required to write a 2000 to 2500 word long research paper on one of the weekly topics covered in class. This assignment is due the first day of the last week of classes. Plagiarism will result in failing the course and notification of the Dean.


Twelve Short Summaries 36% (3% each)
Final Research Paper 50%
Oral Participation 14%


Week 1 Geography, Peoples and Cultures

Chapter 3 in Allworth, pp. 92-130

Week 2 The Russian Conquest

Chapters 4 and 5 in Allworth, pp. 131-171

Week 3 Tsarist Rule

Chapters 6 and 7 in Allworth, pp. 172-206

Week 4 The Bolshevik Revolution

Chapters 8, 9 and 10 in Allworth, pp. 207-265

Week 5 Demarcation of National Borders the 1920s

Chapters 1 and 2 in Martin, pp. 1-27 and pp. 56-74

(Note these page numbers refer to the edition published in London)

Week 6 Promotion of National Cadres and Cultures in the 1920s

Chapter 4 in Martin, pp. 125-181

Week 7 Collectivization and Industrialization in the 1930s

Chapters 11 and 12 in Allworth, pp. 266-348

Week 8 Political and Cultural Changes in the 1930s

Chapter 13 in Allworth, pp. 349-396

Week 9 World War II: “Human Dumping Grounds”

Chapter 2 sections 2-4 and chapter 3 sections 1 and 2 in Polian, pp. 123-157 and 181-194

Week 10 Post-war Economic Development

Nove and Newth (read whole book)

Week 11 The Era of Stagnation

Chapter 17 in Allworth, pp. 527-572

Week 12 Glasnost and Perestroika

Chapter 18 in Allworth, pp. 573-607

Week 13 Conclusion


Very soon after I posted my last blog entry I got an e-mail from Greta Uehling expressing regret that she would not be able to attend my conference due to a schedule conflict.

Friday, February 16, 2007

First Arivaca International Conference on International Borders and Migration

On 10 March 2007, I will be hosting the first Arivaca International Conference on International Borders and Migration. The conference will have four presenters from outside the community who will address various aspects of international migration. It will be open and free to the public and take place at the Arivaca Community Center from 9:00 am to 5pm. There will be two coffee breaks and a break for lunch. I have reserved 20 minutes of time for questions and comments from the audience for each speaker. I hope to preside over a lively discussion between the invited speakers and the audience.

My goal with this conference is to examine the role of migration across international borders in a comparative global context. It will thus deal with migration in Europe as well as the Americas. I will give a short introductory paper on the history of international migration. My goal is to frame the topic in a global perspective and encourage the audience to think about the connections, similarities and differences of various migrant flows. I hope that this exercise will allow the listeners to place the talks by our invited guests into a coherent conceptual framework. Rather than just viewing these case studies as isolated movements of people I want people to think about them as parts of larger historical and international trends.

The first invited paper by Dr. Rudolf Pueschel will deal with the long-term environmental and social consequences of the expulsion of the German population from north Bohemia in Czechoslovakia in 1945 and 1946. The forced removal of the German communities from north Bohemia and their replacement with Czech settlers greatly altered the landscape, architecture and economic use of the region. Among other changes the ethnic cleansing of the Germans from north Bohemia led to massive environmental degradation. Unlike the other invited papers, Dr. Pueschel will be dealing with effects of emigration rather than immigration. The impact of losing population rather than gaining it due to migration has been unduly ignored.

Next, the conference will deal with the influx of illegal immigrants into the various countries of the European Union. Professor Richard Griffiths of Leiden University will talk about the efforts of the European Union as a whole to control entry across its borders by illegal immigrants seeking work. Specifically he will discuss the European Union attempts to police the English Channel, the coast of Southern Italy and the eastern border of Germany. This paper will thus provide a detailed and comparative look at the interconnections between the flows of illegal immigrants into different countries.

Professor Chris Quispel also of Leiden University will talk about illegal immigration into the Netherlands. He will deal with the reasons for illegal immigration into the Netherlands, the policies of the Dutch government regarding these immigrants and the opinions of the Dutch citizenry towards them. The Netherlands will thus serve as an individual case study for this conference regarding illegal immigrants in the European Union.

The final paper will cover immigration into the US. Dr. Greta Uehling will speak about the smuggling of children into the US. She will discuss how the US government deals with unaccompanied minor children coming into the US illegally. Among topics she will cover are the differences in US treatment of such children depending upon their country of origin. In particular she will be comparing how US authorities deal with children from Latin America versus those from Asia. Her paper provides a detailed analysis of a little discussed aspect of US immigration policy.

I hope that this event stimulates a lively discussion of the various issues involved in international migration. In particular I hope it encourages people to think about these issues in a broader perspective. The current mass flow of illegal immigrants into the US across the Mexican border is not unique. It is part of a larger set of international and historical trends. It can be better understood when viewed in this perspective.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Imaginary Course Number Two - Mehmet’s Grandchildren: The Islamic Peoples of Eastern Europe and their Ottoman Roots


Fisher, Alan, The Crimean Tatars (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1978).

Finkel, Caroline, Osman’s Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire (NY: Basic Books, 2006).

Gammer, Moshe, The Lone Wolf and the Bear: Three Centuries of Chechen Defiance of Russian Rule (London: Hurst and Co., 2005).

Malcolm, Noel, Bosnia: A Short History (New York: NYU Press, 1996).

Wilson, Andrew, “Politics in and Around Crimea: A Difficult Homecoming,” in Allworth, Edward, ed., The Tatars of Crimea: Return to the Homeland, (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998).

Course Description

This is an introductory course to the history of the various Muslim nationalities living in Eastern Europe. In particular it will cover the Bosnian Muslims, the Crimean Tatars and the Chechens. These nationalities all adopted Islam under Ottoman influence and later came under the rule of Christian empires. The course will thus start with a survey of the long history of the Ottoman Empire. It will then examine the history of each of the nationalities chronologically from their ethno-genesis through to modern times. Particular emphasis will be given to the 19th and 20th centuries when these peoples all lived under first Christian and then communist rule. During this time these nationalities became reduced to national and religious minorities within much larger states dominated by Slavs of Christian heritage. These states saw integrating these Muslim nationalities as a problem and pursued various policies ranging from granting them broad cultural administrative autonomy to conducting ruthless repression and ethnic cleansing against them. This class will examine the relationship between these nationalities and their rulers in Belgrade and Moscow in the historical context of the slow disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the subjugation of much of its Muslim population to European colonial rule.

Course Requirements

This course will consist of lectures and discussions based upon the assigned reading. At the end of each week every student will be required to submit a 200 to 300 word long summary of the week’s readings. This summary should include the main points and themes addressed by the author. These summaries will count significantly towards the final grade for the class. Each student will also be required to write a 2000 to 2500 word long research paper on one of the Muslim nationalities in the Balkans, Caucasus or Crimea. This assignment is due the first day of the last week of classes. Plagiarism will result in failing the course and notification of the Dean.


Twelve Short Summaries 36% (3% each)
Final Research Paper 50%
Oral Participation 14%


Week 1 Introduction and Course Organization

Section One: The Ottoman Empire

Week 2 The Foundation of the Ottoman Empire

Chapters 1-5 in Finkel, pp. 1-151

Week 3 Expansion and Consolidation of the Empire

Chapters 6-9 in Finkel, pp. 152-288

Week 4 “The Sick Man of Europe”

Chapters 10-16 in Finkel, pp. 289-554

Section Two: The Balkans with Special Emphasis on Bosnia

Week 5 Bosnia in the Middle Ages and under the Ottomans

Chapters 1-9 in Malcolm, pp. 1-135

Week 6 Austrian Rule, WWI and WWII

Chapters 10-13 in Malcolm, pp. 136-192

Week 7 Communist and Post-Communist Rule

Chapters 14-16 and Epilogue in Malcolm, pp. 193-272

Section Three: Crimea

Week 8 The Crimean Khanate and the Tsarist Era

Chapters 1-10 in Fisher, pp. 1-108

Week 9 The Crimean Tatars in the Soviet Union

Chapters 11-25 in Fisher, pp. 109-202

Week 10 Return to Crimea


Section Four: The Caucasus with Special Emphasis on Chechnya

Week 11 Tsarist Subjugation

Chapters 1-9 in Gammer, pp. 1-118

Week 12 Soviet Rule and After

Chapters 10-15 in Gammer, pp. 119-221

Week 13 Conclusion

Research paper due in first class of the week.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

95 Years of Arizona Statehood

On 14 February 1912 Arizona became the 48th state to join the USA. We had been a federal territory since 24 February 1863. Somewhat ironically Arizona became a state exactly 50 years after it was recognized as a territory within the Confederacy by Jefferson Davis on 14 February 1862. Despite the importance of 14 February 1912 in Arizona history there seems to be very little recognition here that today is anything other than Valentine's Day. It is tough being an historian in a world that cares only about the present.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

GKO Order 1281ss - 14 February 1942

The conscription of deported Russian-Germans under the terms of GKO Order 1123ss quickly depleted the number of able-bodied men between the ages 17 and 50 among this population. Despite exhausting this labor pool, the Stalin regime still only managed to mobilize 93,000 out of a planned 120,000 Russian-Germans for the labor army. The Stalin regime thus soon expanded the category of Russian-Germans eligible for conscription into the labor army. Over 50,000 local Russian-German men aged 17 to 50 that had not been subjected to deportation lived in the Russian Far North, Urals, Siberia, the Russian Far East, Kazakhstan, and Central Asia. GKO Order 1281ss of 14 February 1942 signed by Josef Stalin ordered that these men be “mobilized into labor colonies for the duration of the war and transferred to the NKVD USSR for use in constructing rail roads.” This induction campaign followed the same procedures as the one conducted under GKO Order 1123ss in January 1942.

This second labor draft took considerably longer than the first one. The decree established a deadline of 25 March 1942 for the Peoples Commissariat of Defense to complete this mobilization. The Soviet authorities, however, only completed this task in late April. The induction netted over 40,000 Russian-Germans out of the more than 50,000 members of the target population. The transfer of these men to labor army work sites took place on unhygienic trains with insufficient potable water and edible food. Outbreaks of gastro-intestinal diseases killed large numbers of these men during transit. The NKVD removed 270 corpses of men to die from this cause from one train on 21 April 1942 and another 49 on 13 May 1942.The survivors initially became attached to nine separate labor army work sites. The NKVD assigned nearly 18,000 of these men to rail construction and most of the remainder to build industrial complexes in the Urals. This second mobilization brought the number of Russian-Germans in the labor army up to over 120,000 men.


N.F. Bugai, “Mobilizovat’ nemtsev v robochie kolonny…I. Stalin”: Sbornik dokumentov (1940-e gody) (Moscow: Gotika, 1998), doc. 18, pp. 39-40, doc. 19, p. 41, doc. 38, pp. 61-62, doc. 40, p. 64, doc. 47, pp. 70-71, doc. 210, pp. 282-283.

A.A. German and A.N. Kurochkin, Nemtsy SSSR trudovoi armii (1941-1955) (Moscow: Gotika, 1998), pp. 57-59 and table 5, p. 67.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Updated Schedule for Conference on International Borders and Migration

This is an updated list of presentations that will be at the International Conference on International Borders and Migration I will be hosting at the Arivaca Community Center on Saturday 10 March 2007. The conference will start at 9 am and go to 5 pm. There will be two coffee breaks and a break for lunch.

Introduction and Overview

"International Migration in Global and Historical Perspective" - Dr. J. Otto Pohl (Arivaca, AZ)

International Migration and Europe

"Ethnic Cleansing, and Social and Environmental Ruin in Czechoslovakia" - Dr. Rudolf Pueschel (Mountain View, CA)

"Crossing the Borders of 'Fortress Europe'" - Professor Richard Griffiths (Leiden University, the Netherlands)

"The Opening of the Dutch Borders. Legal and Illegal Migration to the Netherlands 1945-2005" - Professor Chris Quispel (Leiden University, the Netherlands)

Immigrants and the US Border

"The International Smuggling of Children: Coyotes, Snakeheads, and the Politics of Compassion" - Dr. Greta Uehling