Genuine Tuvan : producing authenticity in the Republic of Tuva



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis provides analysis of the networks of power and authority, which interconnect commonly referenced sources of knowledge about Tuvan throat singing. These sources–books, websites, performances, a documentary film, CD liner notes, and the individuals involved in their production–comprise a substantial portion of contemporary public discourse that represents Tuva and its musical practices to the English speaking world and serve to produce “experts” and “expert knowledge” of throat singing. This work also shows how public discourse of Tuva forms an “authentic”, homogenous, romanticized and spiritualized pan-Asian identity centered on the practices of throat singing, shamanism, and nomadism. The conclusion offers an explanation as to why the public discourse focused on Tuvan throat singing locates the “authentic” in rural Tuva, why throat singing is so often aligned with the spiritual, the healing, and the eternal, and why such conceptions serve to benefit the careers of those involved with the production of such an image. This chapter also explores whether or not representing Tuva with an idealized and romanticized image places Tuvans and related ethnic groups at a disadvantage socially, politically, and economically.