The spiritual gem of each nation is its culture. Tatars possess rich cultural heritage accumulated over the centuries of the historical development, they have absorbed the centuries-old traditions of their ancestors, who were able to achieve a high level of cultural development by combining Turkic roots and Arab influence, owing to the adoption of Islam in the tenth century. This became the foundation upon which the Tatar culture further developed and continues developing.
Art occupies a special place in Tatar culture since it is a complex system inseparably connected with the society, its everyday life, its history, and its future. The famous Gabdulla Tuqay’s metaphor that “a song is a mirror of the national soul” acquires profound scientific meaning in the 21st century when all kinds of art are viewed as a mirror of history and spiritual life of the society, which helps art save its identity and prevent it from being dissolved in the values of the modern global world.
We hope that the papers that will be published in this journal will broaden the horizons of Tatar Art studies, discuss relevant issues of national culture, explore the depths of history, and analyze the trajectories of the national development. The issues of theory and history of Tatar art will be covered in the investigations made by the representatives of various scientific traditions, in the works of scholars of different generations living in Tatarstan, other regions of Russia and abroad.
The masterpieces of Tatar music, painting, architecture, decorative and applied arts, and choreography will receive comprehensive coverage within the context of the national culture preservation and development. Moreover, Tatarica is planning to publish on a regular basis the papers devoted to the rich traditions of Tatar art, its centuries-old history, and theoretical issues of typology and terminology.
We welcome the authors studying the phenomena of art in close connection with various aspects of life, working within the paradigm of interdisciplinarity, those who are engaged in scientific descriptions of new social practices in the field of art. National art cannot exist as a closed system; it develops under conditions of intercultural communication.
The role of national art in the world culture, the identification of linkages and genetic codes present a very interesting area of research, which both contributes to a better understanding of the past and encourages international cultural contacts in the modern world. We hope that the subject scope of the journal will be of considerable interest to Russian and foreign researchers in the traditional and modern Tatar art developing in Tatarstan, in regions of Russia, and in other countries and that it will contribute to the awakening of Tatar art criticism.
One of the main mechanisms for the development of national culture is education. The Tatar pedagogical thought and education have been developing for centuries. Thus, long before the invention of writing, Tatar folk pedagogy was an integral part of collective folk arts, a manifestation of the pedagogical culture of the masses. It still reflects the thoughts and aspirations of the people, their ideals, views, their conception of man, family, children and education of younger generation. Constantly improving, it was passed over generations to become young parents’ heritage. Consequently, it had a positive effect on the spiritual and moral education of the people.
With the development of Turkic, Muslim world, from the beginning of the tenth century the Tatars opened schools along with traditional forms of education: mektebs (primary schools), madrasahs (secondary schools) and schools of higher education, such as Qol-Sharif madrasah. For many years, literacy and knowledge of the Arabic alphabet and writing provided a certain guarantee of preservation of the Tatar people, their culture and identity.
With the development of the Enlightenment and the industrial and social revolutions in Russia, Tatar education underwent considerable changes in the 18th -21st centuries. The people sought knowledge and the Tatars were rightly considered in those times and are still considered now to be among the most literate people in Russia.
However, at all times the development of national education of the Tatar people have been hampered by various obstacles and difficulties, some of which have remained up to now. Some specific features of the Tatar people development led to the territorial dispersion as a national peculiarity. More than 5 million Tatars out of 7 million live outside of Tatarstan, in various regions of Russia, in CIS and other countries, which means severed national roots and no access to national education. The increasing globalization in the emerging information society strengthens the processes of cultural assimilation of Tatars both in Russia and around the world, resulting in loss of national identity and centuries-old traditions. The threat that the Tatar people may lose their native language and ethno-national culture poses an urgent and large-scale problem for further development of the Tatar national education.
The Republic of Tatarstan itself has a considerable number of problems with the development of the Tatar national education today as many inhabitants, including indigenous Tatars, still have a poor command of the Tatar language and do not know much about the Tatar national traditions and cultural monuments.
On the territory of the Russian Federation Tatars live compactly in Samara, Ulyanovsk, Chelyabinsk, the Republic of Bashkortostan, the Udmurt Republic, etc. In these regions, there are centers for studying the Tatar language, cultural societies, weekend schools, national-cultural autonomies, groups, and clubs. However, there is no close connection between them, their work lacks coherence and system of organization, and they do not have a single concept of the Tatar national education development outside the Republic of Tatarstan, including foreign countries.
The Tatarica journal will publish scientific papers that reveal the basic laws and tendencies of the Tatar national education development, represent the most efficient methods of teaching the Tatar language as a native, non-native and foreign, the methods which take into account all the pedagogical achievements of the Tatar people accumulated over many centuries of its existence.
In addition, the journal plans to publish the results of the original research in psychology related to the study of the Tatar ethnic group. Many efficient methods and technologies of ethnic group investigation have been elaborated within the framework of cross-cultural and ethno-psychological research in Western and Russian psychology. Systematic study of the features of ethnic identity and value concepts of Tatars can substantially enrich the data of the world psychology on ethno-cultural research.
Over the centuries of the statehood and educational tradition development, numerous representatives of the Tatar people achieved remarkable success in the fields of public administration and politics, theology and science, art and culture, economics and business. Their discoveries and achievements present an important subject for investigation in Tatar studies.