Publication Type: Works in ProgressAbstract: Most of the worlds ethnic Tatars live in Tatarstan, a former Soviet Republic and an autonomous state in Russia today. Once an independent Muslim nation, Tatarstan was conquered by the Russian Tsar, Ivan IV (a.k.a. Ivan the Terrible) in 1552. For centuries, the relationship between Russians and Tatars has been complex. The collapse of the former Soviet Union introduced a new dynamic into Russian-Tatar relations. The possibility for Russian Tatars to travel aboard, to meet members of the Tatar Diaspora, and to observe the rights that ethnic minorities enjoy overseas resulted in a strong desire among Russian Tatars, those living in Russia and abroad, to revise their political, socioeconomic and cultural status within Russia.
In this study, I will examine how Russian Tatars living in the United States define, communicate, and maintain their ethnic identity. As my research data, I will use messages posted on an online forum Tatar USA between January 2005 and 2006. The Tatar USA forum is part of the Tatars in America website (www.tatar-usa.org), created by a group of young Russian Tatars who arrived in the United States as students or employees within the last ten years and have been living in America since then.
By employing grounded theory in my study of ethnic identity among Russian Tatars living in the United States participants of the online forum Tatar USA I hope to identify a central descriptive narrative of the Tatar ethnic identity, as it is expressed, communicated, and maintained by the forum participants.