Many scholars have argued that shrine veneration and respect for sacred lineages are essential parts of Islam in post-Soviet Central Asia because of their long history in the region; in other words, shrines and sacred lineages are important now because they were important in the past. In contrast Ulan’s research reveals contemporary influences. He argues that patron-client relationships and state ideologies shape contemporary shrine practices and sacred identity in important way. Ulan will discuss the relationships among the state, society, and religion, and how sacred lineages have been preserved and changed in the Soviet and post-Soviet eras.
Ulan Bigozhin was born in 1980 in Astana, Kazakhstan. He graduated from al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazGU) in 2002 with a BA in History and Ethnography. In 2008, Ulan was awarded an MA by the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University. His thesis examined nineteenth century Islam in the Kazakh steppe, as recorded in Russian-Kazakh colonial newspapers. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies in Sociocultural Anthropology at Indiana University in 2012, Ulan worked as a manager in the School of Social Science and Humanities at Nazarbayev University, in Astana. Currently ABD, Ulan completed his fieldwork in 2013, and is actively writing his dissertation, tentatively titled “State, Shrine, and Sacred Lineage in Post-Soviet Kazakhstan.”[/vc_column_text][vc_button title=”Please RSVP” target=”_blank” color=”btn-warning” icon=”none” size=”btn-large” href=”http://go.gwu.edu/bigozhin”][/vc_column][/vc_row]