Events & Seminars

The CEES Seminar Series is supported by the MacFie Bequest, named after Professor Alec MacFie, Adam Smith Professor of Political Economy at the University from 1945 to 1958. 

Friday 6 October 2023, 4 to 5:30pm. Room 706, Adam Smith Building

Dr Shamil  Khairov, University of Glasgow, CEES

'Tatars in Mordovia – a minority in a national  autonomous republic.  Origin, Self-identity and Daily Life'

There are about 7,000,000 Tatars in the world. Genetically, the three main groups that form the Tatar nation – the Volga Tatars, Siberian Tatars and Crimean Tatars – apparently do not share a close common ancestor.

The Mishar Tatars are the second largest subgroup of the Volga Tatars (after the Kazan Tatars). They populate the Western side of the Volga.  

Shamil's family originates from Mishar Tatars in Mordovia, one of the national republics within Russia, where Moksha and Erzya Mordvins and ethnic Russians make up the majority. Today about 55,000 Tatars ( about 8% of the republic’s population ) live in Mordovia. For centuries, Tatars coexisted on these lands with these three ethnic groups, but until the 1980s interethnic marriages were very rare.  

Since mass collectivization, starting in the 1930s the core enterprise in the village from where his parents come from was collective farming (kolkhoz), but the wages were very low and the younger generation sought jobs in Saransk, the republic's capital, or migrated to Moscow and other big cities. Although Tatar was abandoned as a language of instruction in the local school in the 1970s, up until the 1980s, the only language spoken in the village was Tatar. However, due to mass migration from the countryside to big cities during the Soviet period, the children of working migrants grew up in Russian-speaking environments and became bilingual or even lost their Tatar language (and identity).

Tatars in Mordovia are Sunni Muslims. They celebrate the main Muslim holidays, respect the elderly, and have regular gatherings with meals and prayers for the dead. But they also do not mind having parties with alcohol, dancing and singing Tatar, Russian and Soviet songs.

The paper is illustrated by numerous photographs from Shamil's trips to the village in 2010 and 2018 when he spoke with relatives living there permanently or visiting it during their summer holidays from Saransk, Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Shamil Khairov is a lecturer in Russian at the University of Glasgow.  He has given lectures on Russian visual culture and photography in Belgium, The Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Poland, and Slovakia.





Research Events

Conference of Political Historians of the Post-War Soviet Union

Wednesday 8 – Friday 10 June 2022

Room 253, Gilbert Scott Building, University Cloisters

Conference Organiser – Dr. Michael Loader, CEES

Commentary by Professor Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Michigan

This conference of Political Historians of the Post-War Soviet Union is the first-ever gathering of its kind, bringing together the world’s leading scholars in Soviet political history to the University of Glasgow. Twenty-three speakers will present their cutting-edge research on the political history of the USSR. Several papers address aspects of how Soviet politics is connected to Russia’s War on Ukraine. The aim is to form a research network, foster collaboration, and discuss ways of promoting entry into the field. All experience levels are represented including PhD students, early career scholars and distinguished professors


Webinar: Gaelic and Sámi: Sharing Knowledge on Promotion of Indigenous Languages

Wednesday 16 February 2022, 10.30-13:00

This is the first of two webinars organised as part of the project Gaelic and Sámi: Promoting Mutual Learning in the Protection of Indigenous Languages, conducted in partnership with Várdduo Centre for Sámi Research, Umeå University, Sweden.

The past three decades have seen significant developments in policies and practices geared to promotion of the Gaelic and Sámi languages. The year 2022 also marks 30 years since the drafting of the Council of Europe European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which (since 2000 in Sweden and 2001 in Scotland) provides a common framework committing signatory governments to resolute action in this field.

This seminar will encourage comparative reflection on these developments, by addressing the following questions: what have been the main achievements relating to Gaelic and Sámi language promotion and what kinds of cultural, social, and economic added value have been derived from this? What are the most pressing issues and challenges in the two language contexts at the present time, and how might these be addressed? How effectively do the respective institutional frameworks and relevant bodies (Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Sámediggi) function in terms of promoting the languages and giving voice to the two linguistic communities?


Rob Dunbar, Professor, Chair of Celtic, University of Edinburgh.

Anders Östergren Njajta, Language Consultant, Sámediggi.

Johan Sandberg McGuinne, Teacher in Sámi and English, Lycksele kommun.

Ulla-Karin Sarri, Chair of the Sámi Language Committee (Sámi Parliament of Sweden)

Jim Whannel, Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Craig Willis, Researcher, European Centre for Minority Issues, Flensburg


10.30-11.30: Opening statements by panellists and initial Q&A

11.30-11.45: Break

11.45-13.00: Roundtable discussion (panellists and online participants)

This webinar will be followed by a second one on Thursday 3 March, 'Gaelic and Sámi: Digital Aspects of Indigenous Languages Learning' (details coming soon). 

These events form part of a wider project comparing current institutional arrangements for the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic and Sámi cultures, with a focus on languages. They will assess the suitability of these arrangements in relation to challenges faced by speakers of these Indigenous languages and discuss possible new or supplementary approaches that could help to realise the potential cultural, social, and economic added value of linguistic diversity.

The project as a whole is supported by the Scottish Government Arctic Connections Fund 2021-22 and arises out of the activity of the COST Action European Non-Territorial Autonomy Network (ENTAN – It seeks to bring together academic experts and practitioners from Scotland, Sápmi, Sweden and beyond to boost public awareness and support knowledge exchange and mutual learning on best-practices to promote Indigenous-languages.