CERIA Brief No. 7, September 2015
By Ulan Bigozhin
Religion and the nation-state in post-Soviet Central Asia are going through deep and interrelated processes. Recently, several anthropological works have appeared about state, religion, and identity in Central Asia. However, my focus is on the “ground level,” where religion, state, and post-Soviet identity building ideology are interwoven in multiple types of relations. In Kazakhstan, several complex processes of nation-building and religious revival are embedded. In Negotiated Dictatorship, Christian Krohn-Hansen points out that modern anthropology of state-building is focused on the analysis of the cultural forms and practices that constitute states. 1 Two examples taken from recent field work illustrate these processes of nation-building and religious revival: a jubilee celebrating a saint and the use of images of saints and shrines in a local political campaign. This data is based on field work research done in 2012-2014 near the Aqkol aul (village) shrine complex. Aqkol is located around 400 kilometers from the Kazkahstani capital, Astana, and 90 kilometers from the nearest coal mining town, Ekibastuz. Aqkol is prominent because of its association with the sacred lineage of a Qozha family (qozha or khodja is the generic term for the sacred lineage family in Islam) and the nearby shrine complex named after its legendary founder, Isabek Ishan.
- “Imagined” vs “real” nation-building: language and identity policies between theory and practice in Central Asia
- Private Initiative, Religious Education, and Family Values: A Case Study of a Brides’ School in Tashkent
- Between Utopia and Dystopia: Uyghur Intellectuals (1949-2000)
- Sergey Abashin – Central Asian Migrants in Russia: Will there be a Religious Radicalization?
- Call for Applications – OSF Eurasia Fellowship Programme at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies