Viva-voce examination – June 7, 18:00-19:00

On June 7 at 18:00, Dina Mukatova will be defending her thesis in a viva-voce examination. The viva is public and all are welcome to attend.
Room 8.140, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Nuclear Cultures and Nuclear Legacies in Kazakhstan and Japan
A lot of people throughout the world know about Japanese monster Godzilla. This element of pop-culture is one of the most-known examples of Japanese nuclear culture. However, in Kazakhstan it is difficult to find something as massive as Godzilla, even though Semipalatinsk Polygon and the “Nevada-Semipalatinsk” movement were a big part of the country’s history. My thesis aims to understand why Kazakhstan has an underdeveloped nuclear culture in comparison with Japan. By looking at Godzilla it can be seen that nuclear trauma expression found a way in economic and technological superiority, while in Kazakhstan the government supports the image of the state that voluntary gave up nuclear weapons. I argue that nuclear culture (memoirs, literary texts and films) in Kazakhstan sought to blame the Soviet authorities and that now national branding in Kazakhstan attempts to shift away from this discourse of victimhood.

Internal Advisers: Gabriel McGuire & Alima Bissenova
External Adviser: Cynthia Werner, Texas A&M University

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

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

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, 11:00-12:00

On Thursday (May 3) at 11:00, Karina Matkarimova 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

Germany’s “Soft Power” Strategy in Kazakhstan: Educational and Cultural Aspects

The research represents a case study and explores Germany’s “soft power” strategy in Kazakhstan in terms of education and culture. Since no research has been done before on this matter, the author attempts to provide the key information of the strategy, by analyzing its features, actors and the role of the German diaspora.  In terms of the conceptual framework, the research is based on Joseph Nye’s concept of “soft power” and its interconnection with the “public diplomacy”.  The fieldwork results show that German officials do not use so-called “soft power” concept in their rhetoric, but there is German “cultural relations and education policy”.  Moreover, the research describes the role of the state, non-state actors and also of the German diaspora, and their level of cooperation in Kazakhstan.

Internal Advisers: Charles Sullivan & Gabriel McGuire

External Adviser: Dr. Markus Kaiser, German-Kazakh University

New Programme Director!

The MA in Eurasian Studies is proud and happy to announce that Alima Bissenova will take over the duties of programme director at the end of July.


Alima Bissenova is Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, specialising in Economic Anthropology, Development, Urban Anthropology and the Anthropology of Islam. She has published on the new middle classes in Central Asia, on the growth and development of the city of Astana, and on new forms of religious devotion and sensibility in post-Soviet Central Asia. Her work has appeared in Religion, State and Society, Ab Imperio and Europe-Asia Studies.

Join us in welcoming Alima to her new role!

MA in Eurasian Studies – Application Deadline Extended!

The application deadline for the MA programmes of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences has been extended to Monday 24th April. 

You can begin your application via

Please do not forget to upload all your documents and click the “Submit” button.

We hope to see you at SHSS this coming Fall!

For inquiries please call: +7 (7172) 70-66-38

Мы рады сообщить Вам что срок на предоставление заявки на программы магистратуры в Школу гуманитарных и социальных наук продлены до 24 апреля.

Вы все еще можете направить свою заявку через

Пожалуйста не забудьте прикрепить все надлежащие документы и нажать на кнопку “Отправить”. Мы надеемся увидеть Вас в ШГСН этой осенью!

По всем вопросам пожалуйста обращайтесь по номеру +7 (7172) 70-66-38

Біз сіздерге Гуманитарлық және әлеуметтік ғылымдар мектебіне деген үлкен қызығушылықтың негізінде магистратура бағдарламаларына өтінімдер қабылдау мерзімінің 2017 жылдың сәуірдің 24 дейін ұзартылғандығын қуанышпен хабарлаймыз!

Сіз өтінімді әлі келесі сілтеме арқылы жібере аласыз:

Барлық құжаттарыңызды тіркеп, “Жіберу” түймешігін басуды ұмытпауыңызды сұраймыз. Біз Сізді ГӘҒМ-де осы күзде асыға күтеміз!

Барлық сұрақтарыңыз бойынша мына нөмірге хабарласуыңызға болады: +7 (7172) 70-66-38


Apply Now!

Recruiting in Öskemen, Saturday 30th January

Народный Дом в Усть-Каменогорске в котором впоследствии разместился драматический театр имени Жамбыла Жабаева.

This Saturday, 30th January, there will be recruitment talks for the three Master’s programmes of Nazarbayev University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences – the MA in Eurasian Studies, the MA in Political Science & International Relations, and the MA in Economics – in Öskemen (Ust’-Kamenogorsk).

11am at Sarsen Amanzholov East Kazakhstan State University (Восточно-Казахстанский государственный университет имени Сарсена Аманжолова).

1pm at the Kazakh University for Humanities, Jurisprudence and Innovation (Казахский гуманитарно-юридический инновационный университет).

The programmes will be presented by Professor Alexander Morrison, the director of the MA in Eurasian Studies.