An Original Account of Marriage Practices in Kyrgyzstan in the Pre-Soviet, Soviet, and Post-Soviet Eras
The Most Complete and Accessible Introduction to Central Asia Available Today
A comprehensive and unsettling account of the Soviet campaign to forcefully sedentarize and collectivize the Kazakh clans. Stalin and his inner circle pursued a campaign of violence and subjugation, rather than attempting any dialog or cultural assimilation. The results were catastrophic, as the conflict and an ensuing famine (1931-1933) caused the death of nearly one third of the Kazakh population.
Learning to Become Turkmen examines the ways in which the iconography of everyday life—in dramatically different alphabets, multiple languages, and shifting education policies—reflects the evolution of Turkmen society in Central Asia over the past century.
This book presents a nuanced ethnographic study of Islam and secularism in post-Soviet Central Asia, as seen from the small town of Bazaar-Korgon in southern Kyrgyzstan. Julie McBrien explores belief and non-belief, varying practices of Islam, discourses of extremism, and the role of the state, to elucidate the everyday experiences of Bazaar-Korgonians. She shows how Islam is explored, lived, and debated in both conventional and novel sites, and argues that religion is not always a matter of belief— sometimes it is essentially about belonging. McBrien details the complex process of evolving religion in a region that has experienced both Soviet atheism and post-Soviet secularism, each of which has profoundly formed the way Muslims interpret and live Islam.
This book analyzes how Central Asians actively engaged with the rapidly globalizing world of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In presenting the first English-language history of the Khanate of Khoqand (1709-1876), Scott C. Levi examines the rise of that extraordinarily dynamic state in the Ferghana Valley.
Azan on the Moon is an in-depth anthropological study of people’s lives along the Pamir Highway in eastern Tajikistan. Based on extensive fieldwork and through an analysis of construction, mobility, technology, media, development, Islam, and the state along the Pamir Highway, Mostowlansky shows how conceptualizations of modernity are both challenged and reinforced in contemporary Tajikistan.
Nick Megoran explores the process of building independent nation-states in post-Soviet Central Asia through the lens of the boundary between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, using a combination of political, historical, ethnographic, and geographic frames to shed new light on this process.
A fascinating anthropological inquiry into the deeply ingrained presence of ancestors within the cultural, political, and spiritual discourse of Kazakhs. This ancestral dialogue sustains a unifying worldview by mediating questions of faith and morality, providing role models, and offering a mechanism for socio-political critique, change, and meaning-making.
“State weakness” is seen to be a widespread problem throughout Central Asia and other parts of post-socialist space, and more broadly in areas of the developing world. Challenging the widespread assumption that these “weak states” inevitably slide toward failure, Paradox of Power takes careful stock of the varied experiences of Eurasian states to reveal a wide array of surprising outcomes.
Judith Beyer presents a finely textured ethnographic study that sheds new light on the legal and moral ordering of everyday life in northwestern Kyrgyzstan. Beyer shows how local Kyrgyz negotiate proper behavior and regulate disputes by invoking custom, known to the locals as salt. While salt is presented as age-old tradition, its invocation needs to be understood as a highly developed and flexible rhetorical strategy that people adapt to suit political, legal, economic, and religious environments.
During the 1990s, there was a consensus that Central Asia was witnessing an Islamic revival after independence, and that this would follow similar events throughout the Islamic world in the prior two decades, which had negative effects on both social and political development. Twenty years later, we are still struggling to fully understand the transformation of Islam in a region that’s evolved through a complex and dynamic process, involving diversity in belief and practice, religious authority, and political intervention. This volume sheds light on these crucial questions by bringing together an international group of scholars who offer a fresh perspective on Central Asian states and societies.