Viva-voce examination – May 3, 18:00-19:00

On Thursday (May 3) at 18:00, Nurgul Zhanabayeva will be defending her thesis in a viva-voce examination. The viva is public and all are welcome to attend.

Room 8.105, School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Title:
Restrained by Uyat [Shame]: Culture of Dating and Romantic Relationships among Urban Kyrgyz Youth

Abstract:
This thesis is an exploratory qualitative study of the culture of premarital dating and romantic relationships among urban Kyrgyz youth in the city of Bishkek. Drawing from focus group discussions and individual in-depth interviews with young people, I aim to analyze socio-cultural norms and expectations regarding premarital relationships in Kyrgyz society, as well as to present young urbanites’ experiences of these phenomena. Applying the theory of dating and sexual scripts, I discuss what appropriate dating behaviors should be like in the given context. I argue that dating and romantic relationships are socially approved practices in Kyrgyz society mainly because they are seen as precursors to marriage – an important social institution.

However, the approval comes with certain limitations – among them, the most pronounced is the condemnation of premarital sex in relation to women. While young men allegedly enjoy the freedom of their sexuality, young Kyrgyz women are strongly discouraged from engaging in premarital sex. Uyat – a local concept of shame is used as a mechanism for controlling correct sexual performance, as well as an instrument of punishment for deviant behavior. Restrained by uyat, women are finding creative ways of upholding the social norms – their aim is neither subordination nor subversion, but rather finding new ways of operating in the given reality. Moreover, I posit that men, given their sexual freedom, also face sexual pressure, although of a different nature than women.

Furthermore, it is not only the larger society which sees premarital dating as a prelude to marriage, young people also view dating as leading to marriage. Thus, they approach the choice of a potential partner with care. Among the factors of primary importance for young people is one’s socio-economic status – such as quality of received education and financial background. Less important for young people are their prospective mate’s ethnic, religious and regional background, however, they understand that these factors are important for their families, relatives, and even the larger society.

Internal Advisers: Zohra Ismail Beben & Sofiya An
External Adviser: Dr. Noor Borbieva, Indiana University

Viva-voce examination – May 3, 15:00-16:00

On Thursday (May 3) at 15:00, Togzhan Kalamysheva will be defending her thesis in a viva-voce examination. The viva is public and all are welcome to attend.

Room 8.105, School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Title:
The Sociocultural Underpinnings of the Life Insurance Market in Kazakhstan

Abstract:
Life insurance is a financial tool used to provide for well-being of dependents in case of premature death or other risks that stop the income flow. The perception of life insurance differs across nations because of the differences in their social norms. This study is about Kazakhs’ perception of life insurance and the extent to which the idea of ensuring life is compatible with their norms and values. In the framework of this study, based on a large database of the life insurance company, I construct the profile of the Kazakhstani life insurance market and define consumption pattern across regions, the occupation of individuals, their age, gender and marital status. Further, I explain this consumption pattern by employing interviews with local people. I analyze my findings through concepts like risk-perception and death-perception that are central to the idea of ensuring life. As life insurance turns out to be incompatible with Kazakhs’ social norms, I explore local sales agents’ marketing strategies to overcome this cultural barrier.

Internal Advisers: Edwin Sayes & Zhanna Kapsalyamova
External Adviser: Prof. Bruno De Cordier, Ghent University

Viva-voce examination – May 3, 09:00-10:00

On Thursday (May 3) at 09.00, Di Wang will be defending her thesis in a viva-voce examination. The viva is public and all are welcome to attend.

Room 8.105, School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Title:
The Unofficial Russo-Qing Trade on the Eastern Kazakh Steppe and in Northern Xinjiang in the First Half of the 19th Century

Abstract:
The Treaty of Kuldja (Ili) signed in 1851 between the Russian empire and the Qing empire marked the start of the official Russo-Qing trade in Xinjiang. This thesis aims to explore the generally neglected pre-1851 unofficial Russo-Qing trade on the Eastern Kazakh steppe and in Northern Xinjiang by examining the trade in three area: Semipalatinsk, Tarbagatai and Ili. This pre-treaty era Russo-Qing trade was regarded as illegal on the Qing side with little information available, but legal on the Russian side with abundant data. By comparing the information in Chinese and Russian sources, this thesis argues that the original legal and official Kazakh-Qing trade established in the 1760s was gradually transformed into an unofficial Russo-Qing trade in the first half of the 19th century. Besides analyzing the motivation and the stance of the Russian empire and the Qing empire, this thesis highlights the role of individual actors such as merchants, nomads, government officials and border guards in forging the trade. This thesis also discusses the commodities in the trade, the myth of silver flow and the discovery of the dramatic price change in the year of 1840. The analysis of travelogues and quantitative archival data of the imports and exports of the Semipalatinsk custom post from the 1820s to the 1840s complement the existing scholarship on this topic. By discussing the above-mentioned themes, the author reaches the conclusion that the pre-Treaty era unofficial trade was already marked by established institutions and diverse commodities, though with a high degree of informality. The 1851 Treaty of Kuldja which officialized the Russo-Qing trade in Ili and Tarbagatai did not establish a new trade, but was a result of the pre-Treaty period unofficial trade and carried many characteristics of the pre-treaty era trade.

Internal Advisers: Nikolay Tsyrempilov & Clare Griffin

External Adviser: Prof. Erika Monahan, University of New Mexico

Eurasian MA First-Year Project Presentations – Thurs., Apr. 26, 14.00 – 17.00, 8.310

This Thursday (26th April) first-year students of the MA program in Eurasian Studies will be presenting their thesis feasibility studies in preparation for their research over the summer. The presentations are public. The full schedule is below:

14:00 -14:30 
Gauhar Baltabayeva 
International student migration from Kazakhstan to the US

Advisers: Caress Schenck & Saltanat Akhmetova

14:30 -15:00
Assem Kaliyeva

The waste management system in Astana: The social hierarchy and self-perception among the employees of waste management sector
Advisers: Zohra Ismail Beben & Paula Dupuy

15:00-15:30
Sandra Real
Narratives of Kumis Consumption and Production in Contemporary Kazakhstan

Advisers: Alima Bissenova & Christina Pugh
 
15:30-16:00
Merey Otan
Contemporary music in Kazakhstan and Youth identity

Advisers: Gabriel McGuire & Meiramgul Kussainova

16:00-16:30
Adel Kudaibergenova
Elderly Women in Kazakhstan: Ageing Experience and Popular Representations
Advisers: Sofiya An & Erika Alpert

16:30-17:00
Zhuldyz Tashmanbetova
The indigenous Christianity of Kazakh steppe: Adoption of Nestorian Christianity in Medieval Central Asia

Advisers: Daniel Scarborough & Paula Dupuy

Viva-voce examination – Apr 25, Weds.

On Wednesday 25th April at 16.00 Aigerim Kagarmanova will be defending her thesis in a viva-voce examination. The viva is public and all are welcome to attend.
Room 8.105, School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Title:
Electronic bazaar: Social Media as a Marketplace in Contemporary Kazakhstan photo_2017-10-25_16-25-57
Abstract:
This study focuses on different modalities of social media trade in Kazakhstan and how sellers create trust online using platform features, personal skills and physical locations of stores associated with social media accounts. Researching this topic in Kazakhstan locates this study in a specifically interesting intersection of trade, technology, informality and trust. Social media trade is a part of electronic commerce that is new and technologically advanced type of business, however many traders work informally as they fail to meet legal norms as business registration, paying taxes and giving receipts. Just as individual traders poured to the streets in the period of perestroika, modern day small business owners have occupied social media and turned it into an electronic bazaar. As shops located at bazaars transfer their stores online, and traders learn new technology in order to increase their sales, this study challenges the notion of bazaars being static and backward. Driven by the question of trust building in a complex realm of electronic but yet informal trade, I focus on a concept of a “living account” that is coined by my ethnographic data (interviews, observations and social media content analysis). I explore different dimensions of trade both online and offline to understand how these realms are intertwined in the question of informality and trust. I argue that the “aliveness” of an account produced through regular contact allows sellers to create trust that results in a successful sale. So, as long as an account is perceived to be “living” the question of formal registration, taxes and receipts is not relevant to customers.

Internal Advisers: Aziz Burkhanov & Erika Alpert

External Adviser: Prof. Paul Manning, Trent University

Eurasian Studies Program invites you to a public lecture by Florian Mühlfried (University of Jena) Sept 7, 7:30 p.m., Block C3, 2004.

“We Love Death more than You Love Life” What Jihadists, Thieves in Law and Abreks from the Caucasus Have in Common

In a recent book, Oliver Roy argues that a significant part of the global appeal of the Islamic State lies in its death romanticisation equally popular in youth culture and shared by other millenialist revolutionary movements. This argument is problematic as it entails a high degree of speculation about jihadists’ ‘real’ motivation and attitude. Still, it importantly directs our attention to the cultural embeddedness of the figure of death seeker as well as its fictive genealogies. In my presentation, I will follow this thread and outline a genealogy of role models centred on the motive of embracing death while still alive. All of these role models are vividly present in contemporary discourses all over the Caucasus. The first role model is the so- called Abrek, a Caucasian bandit-come-rebel elevated to resistance fighter in the 19th century. The second is the ‘thief in law’, a criminal authority emerging from the Soviet prison camp system who, in later years, was often a Georgian. The third is the jihadi fighter of late, who has joined the international movement and commits suicide bombings in the Caucasus and beyond. In all three cases, embracing death is represented as a means of empowerment, and those who have allegedly transcended the fear of death are praised as much more powerful than their adversaries (even though these may be more powerful technically). By tracing some cultural roots of the death cult in the ideology of jihadi fighters from the Caucasus, the discourse on global jihadism is purposefully provincialized; the aim is to de-mystify global jihadism and to identify areas of intersection between jihadi ideology and local countercultures.

Bio: Florian Mühlfried teaches in the Caucasus Studies Program at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena. He is the author of Being a State and States of Being in Highland Georgia (2014) and Post-Soviet Feasting: The Georgian Banquet in Transition (2006, in German). His research interests include issues of citizenship, the state, ritual, feasting, and mistrust.

The public lecture is given within the framework of the Joint Central Asia/South Caucasus Projects Summer School and is funded by Volkswagen Foundation

Eurasian Studies Program invites you to a public lecture by Svetlana Jacquesson (AUCA) Sept 6, 7:30 p.m., Block C3, 2004.

Empowered by Translocality? Affordances and Constraints of a Research Perspective

In this presentation, I will speak for a team of scholars, and I hope I will do it correctly. I will start by outlining the conceptual frameworks of a research project on “Translocal Goods – Education, Work and Commodities between Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, China and the Arab Emirates” funded by the Volkswagen foundation in 2013. This outline will be articulated around “translocality”, and why and how it was found useful for studying Central Asia. In this part of my presentation, I will mostly follow Manja Stephan-Emmrich and Philipp Schroeder — two of the leading members of the project who introduced translocality as a research perspective to the team — though I will also emphasize aspects of translocality that I “discovered” by myself. Second, I will offer a review of the ways in which the translocal perspective was applied by a team of scholars of Central Asia, me included. Though I will speak as truthfully as possible for my colleagues, I will spend more time on my own contribution since it is here that I feel most confident. I will finish by some reflections on research perspectives, their affordances and constraints, and on the role of research perspectives in the research projects funded by the Volkswagen foundation. Surprisingly or not, my concluding reflections will connect again to some of the insights that translocality can offer as a research perspective.

The public lecture is given within the framework of the Joint Central Asia/South Caucasus Projects Summer School and is funded by Volkswagen Foundation

Bio:

Svetlana Jacquesson is the director of the Central Asian Studies Institute at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and head of the MA program in Central Asian studies at the same university. She holds a PhD in ethnology (2000) from the National Institute of Oriental Languages and the High School for Social Sciences in Paris, France. After her PhD, she was first elected research fellow at the French Institute for Central Asian Studies in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (2000-2003), then a senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany (2006-2009). In 2010-2012, she was a Volkswagen Stiftung grant holder at the Centre for Interdisciplinary studies of Martin Luther University in Halle, Germany.

Department of Kazakh Language and Turkic Studies and the Eurasian Studies Program invites you to a public lecture by Julia McLean, UCLA, August 25, 3 p.m.- 4:30 p.m., 8.105

The Taste of Place and the Nature of Trust: Zhailau Foods in Post-Socialist Kazakhstan In contemporary Kazakhstan, as among other industrial and post-industrial societies, ideas surrounding rurally-sourced foods extend beyond questions of urban-industrial hygiene or quality control, and point more powerfully to the perceived moralities instilled in foods sourced from different places. These places may […]

Viva-voce examination – Thurs 15th June

On Thursday 15th June at 17.45 Dmitriy Mel’nikov will be defending his thesis in a viva-voce examination.

The viva is public and all are welcome to attend.

Room 8.322B, School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Anuar Duisenbinov
Pavel Bannikov
A special edition of Novyi Mir dedicated to modern Kazakhstani Russophone writing.

Title: Toward Russophone Super-Literature: Making Subjectivities, Spaces And Temporalities In Post-Soviet Kazakhstani Russophone Writing

Abstract: This thesis is devoted to the analysis of literary works by a number of the leading post-Soviet Russophone Kazakhstani writers: Anuar Duisenbinov, Bakhyt Kairbekov, Diusenbek Nakipov, Nikolai Verёvochkin, Il’ia Odegov and Iurii Serebrianskii. Kazakhstan is a country where Russian literature has been developing quite successfully since the collapse of the USSR. There has been a transformation of writing in Russian in Kazakhstan since the country’s independence – with the rise of the new generation of the writers in the 2000s, Russian literature in Kazakhstan transformed into Russophone Kazakhstani literature. In this thesis, I argue for the difference between the younger and older generations of the contemporary Russophone Kazakhstani writers – the latter is focused on post-traumatic sense of loss and absence, while the former is characterized by a more positive identification concentrated on the new national post-independent realities of Kazakhstan. The concept of Russophone super-literature fits most the younger generation of the authors. The main argument of the thesis is that Russophone Kazakhstani literature is a supralinguistic and supracultural realm where complex subjectivities of Russophone Kazakh-ness, “other” Russian-ness and Kazakhstani-ness are produces and expressed. While increasing their community, the younger writers reconsider the imperial and colonial aspects of Russian-ness, incorporate (Russian-Kazakh) bilingualism, keep pace with literary modernity, accumulate their international literary capital and seek for independence from the political and nationalizing agendas of both Kazakhstan and Russia. Despite its growing importance, post-Soviet Russophone Kazakhstani literature is almost unexplored in English-language scholarship. While relying on textual analysis of prose and poetry as well as on in-depth interviews with the Kazakhstani writers, I conclude that now Russophone Kazakhstani literature demonstrates a high degree of vitality, first of all by nurturing new generations of Russophone writers in the Almaty Open Literary School; however, the bright possible future of the literature should not be overestimated, because of a number of problems such as poor national book market, the lack of audience and the continuing de-Russification of the country.

Internal Advisers: Victoria Thorstensson, Alima Bissenova & Gabriel McGuire

External Adviser: Prof Rossen Djagalov, New York University

 

 

Conference Announcement: Eurasian Migration, Past & Present. 18-19 May 2017

Eurasian Migration, Past & Present – Living Cross-Cultural Lives

18-19 May, 2017

Nazarbayev University

Block C3, Room 1010

Dungans in the village of Karakunuz (modern-day Masanchi), 1909. Source: http://rus-turk.livejournal.com/340163.html)

 

May 18:

9.30: Opening statements/welcome, Block C3, Room 1010

Panel 1

10.00-12.00: Living and Working in Places of Settlement

Chair: Zohra Ismail Beben, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Discussant: Caress Schenk, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Papers:

Michaela Pohl, Vassar College (US)

In the Streets of the Virgin Lands/Na ulitsakh tseliny

Madeleine Reeves, University of Manchester (UK)

Out of Synch? Labor, Time, and Deportability in Moscow’s Migrant Economy

Rano Turaeva, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Germany)

Migrant communities and Mosques in Moscow

Sergey Ryazantsev, Institute of Socio-Political Research, Russian Academy of Science (Russia)

Migrants from East and Southeast Asia on the Russian labour market

12.00-13.30: Lunch break

Panel 2

13.30-15.15: Living Betwixt and Between

Chair: Gwen McEvoy, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Discussant: Alima Bissenova, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Papers:

Elena Borisova, University of Manchester (UK)

Being immobile at a time of mass migration: labour migrants with re-entry bans in northern Tajikistan

Igor Savin, South-Kazakhstan State University and Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

Main tendencies of return migration from Central Asia to Kazakhstan [Основные тенденции возвратной миграции из Центральной Азии в Казахстан] (in Russian)

Irina Kuznetsova, University of Birmingham (UK)

Refugees from Eastern Ukraine in Russia: experiences, policies and discourse in the context of forced migration from the Ukraine conflict

15.15-15.45: Coffee break

Panel 3

15:45-17:30: The Impact and Legacies of ‘Hard’ Borders in the USSR

Chair: Kris Rees, Indiana University East

Discussant: Alexander Morrison, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Papers:

Jeff Sahadeo, Carleton University (Canada)

Our House is/was the Soviet Union: Migration, Internal Borders and Identity in the late USSR

Alima Bissenova, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

“Songy Kosh” (Last Migration) – Mass Sino-Soviet Migration of Kazakhs from 1955 to 1962

Jeremy Smith, University of Eastern Finland

Stranded migrants: the break-up of the USSR and the impact of new international borders on national minorities

Kazakhstan is also becoming a destination for migrant workers. Source: http://migrant.ferghana.ru/newslaw/из-россии-в-казахстан-трудовая-миграц.html

May 19

Panel 4

9.00-10.45: Navigating home: Migrants and Sending Countries

Chair: Aziz Burkhanov, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Discussant: Madeleine Reeves, University of Manchester (UK)

Papers:

Ted Gerber, University of Wisconsin-Madison (US)

Labor migrant experiences in Russia: Views from back home

Helene Thibault, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Polygyny in the context of Tajik labour migration

Malika Tukmadieva, Independent Scholar (Kazakhstan)

Curse or Blessing? Official Rhetoric on Emigration in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

10.45-11.15: Coffee Break

Panel 5

11.15-13.00: Migrants and the Host State

Chair: Maja Savevska, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Discussant: Ted Gerber, University of Wisconsin-Madison (US)

Papers:

Emil Nasretdinov, The American University of Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan)

The Effect of Kyrgyzstan’s Accession to EEU on the Life of Kyrgyz Migrants in Moscow

Irina Chernikh, Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies

Ethnic Immigration in Kazakhstan: Regional Specificities, Dynamic, Model of adaptation

Caress Schenk, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Does Corruption Increase Opportunities for Migrants in Eurasia?

13.00-14.00: Lunch break

Panel 6

14.00-15.45: Migrants and the Host Society

Chair: Caress Schenk, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Discussant: Jeff Sahadeo, Carleton University (Canada)

Papers:

Alexander Morrison, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

On Dunganskaya Street – Colonial Vernyi as a plural society

Elena Sadovskaya, Center for Conflict Management (Kazakhstan)

Rise of anti-Chinese sentiments in Kazakhstan in the context of land lease to China in 2016: background, dynamics and prospects

Natalya Kosmarskaya, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia)

Exploring Regional Specifics of Everyday Xenophobia in Russia: Case-Study of Moscow and Krasnodar

15.45-16.00: Coffee Break

Panel 7

16.00-17.45: Crossing Borders: the Logistics of Mobility in a World of Changing Borders

Chair: Helene Thibault, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Discussant: John Schoeberlein, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)

Papers:

Olga Tkach, Centre for Independent Social Research, St. Petersburg (Russia)

The Unbearable Lightness of the Finnish Schengen: Visa Strategies of Russian Visitors to Finland

Natalya Zotova, The Ohio State University (US)

Russia’s “Stop-List” and Central Asian Migrants: New Dimensions of Human Insecurity

Sergei Abashin , European University of St Petersburg (Russia)

Crisis, circular migration, and returning home: migrants between Russia and Central Asia (in Russian)

All Welcome!