My old school (Alte Landesschule Korbach) published an interview with me this month in their alumni journal. Sweet!
I carried out some follow-up fieldwork in Northern Kyrgyzstan in order to finish my book which is due at the end of September this year. I had a wonderful time, met old friends and made new ones and really enjoyed the cool and starry nights in my village in Talas province, and the hot days in the capital Bishkek.
Panel at the European Society for Central Asian Studies (ESCAS) Conference October 8-11 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland
Organized and chaired by Prof. Dr. Judith Beyer
1. Judith Beyer
Juniorprofessor of Anthropology, University of Konstanz, Germany
This panel seeks to problematize the notion of tradition and retraditionalization in the Central Asian context. The three papers critically investigate the implications of current retraditionalization discourses and practices concerning gender, sex and discrimination. (Re-) traditionalization is often portrayed as a positive dimension of ongoing wider transformation processes, and as a source of inspiration to which people in Central Asia turn to, looking for guidance in how to shape their own future. This panel, however, concentrates on the intended or unintended side effects of such discourses and practices, and seeks to explore in what ways they might lead to an overall re-conceptualization of gender- and sex-relations on the one hand, and to an exclusion, marginalization and criminalization of some members of society on the other hand.
2. Cynthia Buckley
Professor of Sociology, University of Illinois, USA
Framing homosexuality in moral terms: Patterns of potential tolerance among Eurasia’s Muslim populations
Over the past decade substantial shifts in public opinion regarding homosexuality in western Europe, north America and elsewhere match legislative changes legalizing same sex unions and restricting statues limiting the rights of homosexuals. Most recently, Russia and other Eurasian states have been experiencing increasingly restrictive legislation regarding homosexuality and rising tides of anti-homosexual public opinion. Using data from the 2012 Pew Research Center’s Muslim World Survey, I investigate levels and individual predictors of homosexual tolerance in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Russia. Supporting previous studies on tolerance, bivariate logistic regression indicates that highly educated, female, rural and less religious individuals are less likely to view homosexuality as morally unacceptable in all countries but Russia. However, age patterns among Muslims in Eurasia differ markedly from other national studies. Thinking sociologically about the origins of and trends within tolerance can improve understandings of current public opinion trends and identify likely future trajectories in Central Asia.
3. Anna Kirey
Senior Program Officer, Public Health Program at Open Society Foundations
LGBT activism in Central Asia at the crossroads after the introduction of ‘propaganda’ bills
In my presentation I would like to provide an overview of LGBT activism in Central Asia with a focus on Kyrgyzstan and some glimpses into three other Central Asian countries. As someone who participated in ten years of emerging LGBT activism in the region, I would like to discuss different influences that contributed to framing LGBT issues before the ‘propaganda’ discourse emerged in post-Soviet space and after the introduction of the ‘propaganda’ bill in Kyrgyzstan. I will also relate this to current developments in Russia and Ukraine and to an overarching discourse on traditional values.
4. Diana Kudaibergenova
PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge, UK
Instagram exposed: Framing traditional and neo-traditional gender perceptions online
The paper discusses (neo-) traditional perspectives and perceptions as framed through the visual platform Instagram in contemporary Kazakhstan. Discussing gender roles in patriarchal societies such as Kazakhstan, I propose researching Instagram on the basis of three levels of framing: an internet-based frame (action), a social frame (traditional perceptions and code of behaviour) and a neo-traditional frame (re-creation of presumably traditional values online). In doing so, I argue that social networks serve as spaces of visualization and re-creation of new forms of traditional and “acceptable” behaviour, lifestyles, self-representation, gender and sexual identity as well as beauty standards. Instagram is both a global space of visual exchange as well as a norm-setting framework on the local level. In this hybrid production of cultural content, youngsters in Kazakhstan are positioning themselves as global consumers of famous brands and glamour but also as guardians of traditional lifestyles. But Instagram also serves as a space for breaking the typical gender roles especially for non-traditional discourses of male gay culture in Kazakhstan.
I will give a lecture at the Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca on May 12th, 2.30 pm.
The topic is based on a co-edited volume I did with Madeleine Reeves and Johan Rasanayagam called “Ethnographies of the state in Central Asia. Performing politics.” (2014. Indiana University Press).
The seminar is organized by Antonio De Lauri.
Here’s the link to the programme: seminario stato 2015
Central Asia in the XXI Century: Historical trajectories, contemporary challenges and everyday encounters
Call for pre-organized panels and papers
The European Society for Central Asian Studies (ESCAS) invites proposals for individual papers, panels and roundtable discussions for the fourteenth ESCAS biennial conference scheduled for 8th -11th October 2015 at the Department for Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Zurich, Switzerland. The Conference will be organized by the Halle-Zurich Centre for the Anthropological Study of Central Asia (CASCA).
ESCAS welcomes proposals relating to all aspects of research in the arts, humanities and social sciences on Central Asia – namely the republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, together with Xinjiang, Mongolia, Afghanistan and adjacent regions of Russia, China, Iran, South Asia and the Caucasus.
Scholars and practitioners of anthropology, archaeology, architecture, art & art history, cinema, development studies, economics & finance, history, musicology, philology, political science, sociology and other related disciplines are encouraged to participate. We particularly welcome panel proposals which will cross disciplinary boundaries, bringing together experts from different fields.
The theme of the 2015 conference is “Central Asia in the XXI Century: Historical trajectories, contemporary challenges and everyday encounters“.
More information, including where to submit your pre-organized panels or papers here.