The Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center supports staff, instructors, and students to create unique organizations based on collective interests in Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs). Stu McLaughlin, an IAUNRC Graduate Outreach Assistant and a graduate student of the Central Eurasian Studies Department (CEUS), created another example of such an organization through the founding of the IU Turkic Speakers Uyushma. The Uyushma – a common term meaning “association” in many Turkic languages – aims to offer students and speakers of all levels the opportunity to explore the distinctions and uniting facets of the Turkic world. During the spring semester of the 2021-2022 academic year, the club hosted a number of inaugural events. The initial meeting involved an information session about the professional, academic, and interdisciplinary applications of Turkic language by Stu McLaughlin.
A cultural presentation of particular note relayed important distinctions of Central Asian Turkic bardic tradition by Jack Szczuka, a dual-major undergraduate student of the Jacobs School of Music and CEUS.
The club is designed with the interests of new undergraduate and graduate students in mind, to demonstrate the accessibility of language resources at IU as well as the versatility of application for students wishing to apply their language skills to continued academic study and professional pursuits upon finishing their degree.
The IAUNRC actively funds instructors and provided FLAS support for students of over ten Turkic languages covering the Inner Asian and Uralic geographic and linguistic landscape. Several of these are offered regularly throughout the academic year, and a number are offered in intensive summer courses through the Summer Language Workshop. The IU Bloomington and CEUS community represent a unique and invaluable opportunity to facilitate an engaging space for representatives of Turkic cultures and their multi-faceted cultural breadth and depth. Multilingual conversation hours, food demonstrations, and cultural presentations are planned for the coming academic year. McLaughlin, himself a student of Uyghur, Kazakh, and Azerbaijani, founded the club in the interest of promoting and studying Turkic linguistic and cultural identity as mutually inclusive influences. The Uyushma fills an important niche for students and heritage speakers to develop skills and cultural competencies outside the classroom and learn more about the potential applications of Turkic language knowledge.
If you would like to find out more about the Uyushma, email McLaughlin at email@example.com.