Ak Jang in the context of Altai religious tradition
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In 1904, a Native religious movement, Ak Jang, formed in Gorny Altai in Southwestern Siberia. It strongly opposed itself to Shamanism, which was considered to be the “core” tradition of Altaians. The initial persecution of the movement by the Russian colonial administration did not stop its spread and development. It was widely practiced in Altai until 1930 when it was eradicated by the Soviet regime. During the period when Ak Jang was still practiced, it was observed by a number of witnesses, some of whom were ethnographers while others were not. Those who investigated Ak Jang, produced a number of diverse and often contradictory interpretations of it. From the 1930 until the post-Soviet period, Ak Jang was not studied due to an imposition of the Communist Party “verdict” regarding its (counterrevolutionary) character. In the 1980, the practice of Ak Jang has resumed. However, there is no agreement in academic publications regarding its nature and character. In my research, I aimed at two objectives: the analysis and clarification of certain misconceptions about the nature and character of Ak Jang, and the formulation of a view, according to which Ak Jang is the manifestation of the continuity between the old religious and cultural tradition of Turks and Mongols and the modern tradition of Altaians and their cultural “siblings” – the heirs of the ancient Turkic-Mongolian culture.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
DepartmentReligious Studies and Anthropology
ProgramReligious Studies and Anthropology
SupervisorMullens, James G.
Copyright DateNovember 2003