Victoria Clement is the Eurasia Regional Analyst at the Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning at the Marine Corps University in Quantico, VA.  Her research focuses on Central Asia and Turkey, with an emphasis on Turkmenistan. She is a former research fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, DC, and former professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.  Her book, Learning to Become Turkmen: Literacy, Language, and Power, 1914-2014, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2018.  Dr. Clement’s research has been published in the International Journal of the Sociology of Language, the edited volumes Daily Life in Central Asia (2007) and Muslim World in Transition (2007) as well as several encyclopedias, and two Central Asian publications: Türkmen Dili (2003) and Owadan (1997).  She has lived in Turkmenistan and Russia and works with primary sources in Turkmen, Turkish, and Russian languages.

Project Summary

At a time when the U.S. is advocating moderate Islam as remedy for extremism the meaning of modernity is critical.  For over a century, Central Asian Turks have wrestled with their modern identities.  They have struggled to adapt to modern society while simultaneously living as good citizens of the Muslim world.  Turkmenistan embodies this struggle and therefore deserves more attention.  The Turkmen experience offers the opportunity to revisit the concept of modernity and the processes of becoming modern, asking what they mean in specific historical context through the lenses of Islam, literacy, and education reform. 

Major Publications

  • Learning to Become Turkmen: Literacy, Language, and Power, 1914-2014Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018.
  • “Emblems of Independence: Script choice in post-Soviet Turkmenistan,” International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Vol. 192, July 2008, pp. 171-85. 
  • “Central Asia’s Hizmet Schools,” The Muslim World and Politics in Transition edited by Greg Barton, Paul Weller and Ihsan Yilmaz (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013), pp. 154-167.
  • “Articulating National Identity in Turkmenistan: Inventing Tradition through Myth, Cult and Language,” Nations & Nationalism, July 2014, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 546-562.