Anthropology Club KG

Anthropology Club KG


Anthropology Club KG is based at the American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. It is a student/faculty body engaging all people interested in anthropology subjects in looking at the world around us through the prism of anthropology.

Club meets every Tuesday or Wednesday at 17.15, usually at room 109, main building AUCA


Club activities consist of a mix of events from four series:

- Academic

- Professional

- Fun

- Public


Coming and passed events:


09.10.2013 - Active Citizenship: Using Social Networks for the benefits of Society. Virus Activism as an Instrument of Positive Change


Aibek Baratov, urban activist



26.09.2013 - Our Former "Our": Movies for Research: How and Why?


Guzel Sabirova, Saint-Petersburg Highest School of Economics



20.09.2013 - Himalayan Pathways and Central Asian roads:
Remoteness and Connectivity in Asian Mountain Societies


Martin Saxer, University of Munich



19.09.2013 - Make Your Own AnthroKINO



11.09.2013 - A [reluctant?] American On 9/11


Erica Feldman, University of Michigan



05.09.2013 - Vann Kyrgyz: In the Search of Identity


Pr. Cholpon Turdalieva will present the results of summer anthropology fieldwork in Vann, Turkey



03.04.2013 - Migrants in Cities or Cities of Migrants: Frontiers of Central Asian Migration in Russia


Emil Nasritdinov and Nurzat Sultanalieva



This research deconstructs the term Central Asian Migrants in Russia. First, Central Asia is a very diverse region and migration experience of a migrant from Khodjand can be very different from that of a migrant from Samarqand or Toktogul. Second, Russia is the largest country in the world by its territory and migrants' life in Sahalin is very different from that in Moscow. In our work we compared how migrants from different regions of Central Asia are inhabiting their Russian frontiers in two very different from each other cities: Kazan and Saint Petersburg. Research was conducted with the help of AUCA anthropology students in the Summer of 2012. The novelty of this research is the use of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology for graphic analysis of regions where migrants and city residents live, work and spend free time and of their daily travel routes. We also employed cognitive mapping and analysis to see how migrant and city residents perceive their city and each other.


27.03.2013 - Tablighi Movement in the context of Reislamization in Kyrgyzstan: Local practices and contested discourses

Toktogulova Mukaram and Rahimov Ruslan



The presentation will be based on field works conducted in At Bashy Ozgorush village, in Karakol, Cholpon Ata, Hutor, Balykchy, Suzak, Osh, Kara Suu and Bishkek.


After the collapse of the Soviet Union reislamization of the society in Kyrgyzstan was started with the revival of presoviet Islamic practices that were prohibited during the soviet time, on the one hand, and, on the another hand, with the emergence of transnational Islamic movements, that introduced to local Muslims new practices they never experienced before. Tablighi jamaat was one of those transnational movements, missionaries of which entered Central Asia in 1990th with the goal to bring  Muslim society back to Islam through “davat” which is defined in The Oxford Dictionary of Islam (2003) as “Call. God’s way of bringing believers to faith and the means by which prophets call individuals and communities back to God”. In short period of time Tablighi davat became popular among ordinary Muslims  through which local Muslims have been involved in local and transnational Tablighi networks.


In the presentation we will focus on three issues: a) localization of Tablighi practices in Kyrgyzstan, b) the role of women in preaching Islam d) diversification of Islamic context in Kyrgyzstan and competitive relationship between different groups.


20.03.2013 - Kyrgyz in China: History, Philosophy and Tradition

Jamby Zhusubalieva and Gulzada Abdalieva



A group of young researchers from Central Asian Studies institute visited the main places of residence of Kyrgyz in China: Kyzyllsuu, Tarbagatai, and Fuyu. Vevbers of this expedition Jamby Dhusubalieva (AUCA) and Gulzada Abdalieva (Arabaev University) will share the main findings of their research and will show you a short documentary film.


13.03.2013 - Politicizing 8th of March: Importance of Feminist Activism in Kyrgyzstan

Galina Sokolova, Aikanysh Jeenbaeva and Temir Kadyrov



27.02.2013 Holly Geography of Kyrgyzstan

Cultural Research Center Aigine



Presenters will talk about the idea of doing research on holly places was born, how fieldwork was organized with the help from students from regional universities and from local communities. They will also share the primary results of this research, which was cnducted by Aigine in five oblasts of the country.


20.02.13 - Social Art. "Critical Animation Workshop" and other SHTAB's Projects. 

Georgy Mamedov - art director of SHTAB, Joshik Murzakhmetov and Samat Mambetshaev, MCA participants



Mundane consciousness expects art to produce beauty and entertainment, but art today is a diverse and complex fielld, which is also connected to critical, research and political activities. Social art has its purpose in active engagement in the transformation of the surrounding reality, in the real social change. How artistic tools can be used in activist and politival work? What is the difference between social art and creative activism, like fleshmobs? Using the examples of their own work SHTAB representatives will try to answer these and other questions, related to contemporary politically and socially oriented art.


13.02.13 Philipp Reichmuth

"Expert" and "expert knowledge": Experience on the Border between Science and Practice in International Organizations



International cooperation often relies on international and local experts. Despite the fact that majority of experts come from academia, expert community has its own forms of knowledge and norms of communication, where scientific knowledge is replaced by expertise with more applied purposes. This talk will be devoted to the esense of expertise, norms and expectations of communication, expertise development, conflicts resulting from inevitable politicization of knowledge, and expectations of international organizations from young specialists forming the body of the next generation of experts. 


Philipp Reichmuth is a historian; he studied in Germany (universities of Bonn and Halle) and in Tashkent. He completed his Masters with a thesis on Tajik press in Bukharian Emirate. His PhD analyzed land and waqf rights and Central Asian historic documents of the XIII-XX centuries. He currently works as an expert at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in the position of a manager of international cooperation and community work. He also continues developing his interests in the anthropology and history of Central Asia.


6.02.13 "Bombily": Life behind the Wheel or Looking at Bishkek from Inside a Taxi


We invite you to a meeting with the representatives of a very interesting profession and unique culture - Almaz Zholdoshev and his colleagues from a taxi brigade.


Almaz is a leader in his team with many years of experience. He and his friends are very well familiar with the difficulties and peculiarities of taxi driving in our capital. They know the city better than anybody else and they are just as strong experts on Kyrgyz politics. The are exceptional people to talk to and they have hundreds of stories to tell. They are also exceptional psychologists and we are often ready our inner-most secrets and worries to them. We are very grateful to them when they save us and we are ready to tear them apart when a taxi arrives an hour late from the time we needed. We invite you to a very open conversation with them. Almaz and his colleagues will share their experience and stories and will answer your questions.





30.01.13 Bolotbek Shamshiev: Will There Be Another Miracle of Kyrgyz Cinema


The legandary Kyrgyz film-maker Bolotbek Shamshiev will talk about his life, work and the state of contemporary Kyrgyz cinema.



16.01.13 Exclusion-Inclusion: Bishkek's Novostroikas, Internal Migrants and Self-Help Groups

Dear friends and colleagues,

We are happy to invite you to the next Anthropology Club Meeting
Wednesday, January 16, 5.15pm, room 220, main building AUCA

Nuriya Temirova and Mamatkul Aidaraliev representing NGO Arysh will tell us about their work with the residents of novostroikas (new settlements) in Bishkek. For many years Arysh has been actively participating in the life of novostroikas and helping their population to organize into self-help groups in order to solve their problems. Presenters will talk about the city practice of “exclusion” of internal migrants, particularly in relation to their access to basic services (medical treatment, education, social security) and about their own experience in the strategies of “inclusion”.



09.01.13 Masha Vlasova "The Mothers"


We are happy to invite to the first session of a new season with the Anthropology Club. The season will be opened by Masha Vlasova a Russian born artist who lives and works in New York City. For the presentation at Anthropology class, she will be showing her film "The Mothers" 2011-12. "The Mothers" is a film essay. The author forms a fragmented narrative in which historic, literary, cultural and personal narratives develop around a single image - a family photograph taken in 1989. This year signified great political shifts in Eastern Europe. Through archival footage, voiceover narration and interviews, she examines the split of the Berlin wall and the splintered histories of underground publishing samizdat, perestroika and the coup of 1991 as well as my personal spilt of immigration."

Film is made in English. After the film Masha can answer your questions both in English and in Russian.

Bio: Masha Vlasova studied experimental video and photography at The Cooper Union, earning her BFA in Fall 2012, and was awarded the Robert Breer Film and Video Award. She is the recipient of a Fulbright grant to shoot a documentary film in Kyrgyzstan, which began in Oct. ’12 and is currently a CASI fellow at AUCA. Her research is based in homecoming and homemaking in post-colonial Kyrgyz Republic. Maria Vlasova's photographs and videos have recently been exhibited in “In Time” at La MaMa La Galleria and “Seconds” at the Cooper Union. Her work will be shown in an upcoming group show at Leeds College of Art in the UK this spring.



12.12.12. - Guitars and Poems

End of the Year (...End of the World?!) Anthropology Party

Anthropology Club is inviting ALL to our last meeting/party in 2012 - on Wednesday 12.12.12. at 5.15pm room 403.

Guitar jam session: Ruslan Rahimov, Maria Kalinchenko, Arsenii Pisarev and Alexey Mun
Poems: Cholpon Turdalieva and Adia Abdykanova
(if anybody want to play guitar or share poems - you are welcome)
End of the world story - Masha Marchenko
Anthropology quizes and contests with special prizes for winners.

For everybody else - special gifts - anthropology posters and calendars and of course soft drinks and pizza! We will be happy to see all of our guests!



December 5, 2012 - Adventures of a Kyrgyz in Taraz: Islam, Migration and Kazakh Nationalism


Aman Jumabaev, senior student of the anthropology department will share the results of his summer field research in the city of Taraz, Kazakhstan. In his talk Aman will talk on three themes united by his broader quest for understanding contemporary Kazakh identity. He will talk about the current state of Islam and religious policies in the region and about the differences in the religious practices of Kazakhs, Dungans and Uzbeks living there. He will then talk about Kyrgyz labor migrants in Taraz and about their involvement in the religious traditions of davatchis. Finally, Aman will discuss how religion and migration overlap with Kazakh nationalist discourses and practice of renaming the streets, language policies, rewriting of history and installation of new monuments. Throughout the talk Aman will try to reflect on his first serious experience of ethnographic fieldwork, which included some adventurous moments, and on how the field and his own Kyrgyz identity affected each other. The talk will be accompanied by some interesting visual materials.


This trip was supported by the grant from the American University of Central Asia administered by the Student Intellectual Life Committee. The supervisor of this research is Ruslan Rahimov, chair of the Anthropology program.





November 28, 2012 - View from Barricades: Gender Advocacy Campaigns in Kyrgyzstan


We are inivitng you to meet one of the most active fighters for the rights of women in Kyrgyzstan - Rimma Sultnova. In her talk Rimma will discuss the particularities of gender advocacy work in our country and will give examples from her own practice. She will tlak about three projects: 1) Program against bride kidnapping in KR (National Campaign 155), 2) Reducing the cases of unregistered marriages, 3) Access to basic social services for women internal migrants in Bishkek. For a long period Rimma was working on gender issues within the National Red Crescent Society and now she continues her struggle within the Center for Women Support.


November 23, 2012 - Charity Hip-Hop Evening "Street Nation"


Anthropology Club KG, Rotaract Club and invite everybody to the charity hip-hop evening Street Nation.

17.15pm room CH-1



November 14, 2012 - Rehabilitation of Political Psychiatry in KR: Unhealthy Society and Psychic Disorders Caused by Being in Power


This lecture will talk about the transformation of “political psychiatry” as a concept and about applicability of psychiatric concepts for description and explanation of socio-political events. Social disability can be defined as an adaptive phenomenon that helps people survive in the contemporary society, while the syndrome of unjustified self-confidence (hubris) – as an aggregate of symptoms of specific professional deformation, caused by long presence in power.


Lecturer: Molchanova Elena Sergeevna, Kandidat of medical science with specialty in Psychiatry, Associate Professor at the American University of Central Asia, consultant at the Kyrgyz Association of Psychiatrists.


November 6, 2012 - Perverted Guide to Architecture

Meder Ahmetov - Architectural Studio Museum


We live in architectural space but where does architecture live? Somewhere in our body... that's why there is always some claustrophobic effect in architectural space. The architect does not create claustrophobic spaces but he is in the infinite tendency towards them and in this tendency he is realizing his love for Utopia - utopia which forms the aesthetics of claustrophobic spaces.



October 23, 2012 - Alternate Globalities: The Tablighi Jama'at as a global religious 'service-provider.'

As the TJ has expanded over the last 50 years to cover almost the entire globe, it has transformed into a global agent in its own right. The paper will discuss how the TJ managed to go beyond the ethnic and cultural roots of its model of interpretation and practice of Islam in South Asia and what consequences followed from there.
While the TJ benefited from the high social, economic and cultural mobility of South Asian Muslims which have historically been shaped by the Moghul Empire, the Gujarati trading castes and the British colonial legacy, it managed to go beyond serving the South Asian Muslim diaspora. Today it struck roots in several countries as a significant force of religious mobilisation where none of the three factors has played a role. Countries such as France, Spain, the Maghreb with Morocco, Tunesia and Algeria, South East Asian countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Kampuchea, and post-Soviet Central Asia have all seen the emergence of major Tablighi branches that primarily rely on local Muslims of non-South Asian extraction. Such expansion and differentiation have thrown up questions of consistency and homogeneity vs. pluralism and heterogeneity. To what extent and how does the TJ manage to preserve its core message and core procedures, where does it make amends and why so. It is proposed here to read the TJ from a sociological perspective as a confluence of pietist religious, social, economic and even political concerns, a conservative value-driven global agent with a modernist agenda of differentiation, change, advancement and empowerment. It serves the globalised religious market where it operates like a franchise with the same degree of professionalism and expertise, to produce, distribute and consume "salvation goods", to speak with Bourdieu applying his understanding of the Islamic field.


Privatdozent Dr. Dietrich Reetz is senior research fellow at the Zentrum Moderner Orient and senior lecturer of political science at the Free University Berlin. The focus of his research is on global Muslim identities with special emphasis on South, Southeast and Central Asia, as well as Europe.


October 17, 2012 - Iaido

From the Fun series of the anthropology club meetings, this week we will host the representatives of the Bishkek Shiseikan organization, who will tell us about, show and demonstrate their art of Iaido. What is Iaido? Iaidao is Japanese martial art of instanteinous pull and use of the samurai's sword (katana). Iaido is significantly different from other martial arts because of its mediative dynamics. Behind its beautiful external imagery, there is deep philosophy and unique worldview. The main principle of Iaido is complete peace of mind and being prepared to meet any difficulty that life can bring. It is a way of harmony with the world and with oneself (



October 10, 2012 - Alternative Media Spaces in Kyrgyzstan: SmArt Media Group

Guests of the Anthropology Club for this week are Jamilya Kulova and Mamasadyk Bagyshov, principles of the professional media organization SmArt Mefia Group, Ltd. – a multi-profile media company with six years of experience in the sphere of advertisement, marketing services and show business in Kyrgyzstan. SMG develops and distributes alternative products and services for business and culture in Kyrgyzstan. We asked Jamilya and Mamasadyk to reflect on the following question: What is the role of local Kyrgyz social and cultural (urban and more traditional)  context in the conceptualization, development and realization of their products. Presentation will be accompanied by interesting visual materials.



October 3, 2012 Kyrgyz in China

Jamby Djusubalieva, journalist (free-lance), researcher at the Institute of History (NAN KR), and assistant professor at ACUA

This summer the expedition of CASI – Central Asian Studies Institute of AUCA has spent one month research study to China. The aim was to visit several sites (Xinjian and Heilongjiang provinces of China) where Kyrgyz ethnic population lives and compare the cultural background (religion, oral tradition, language) within those communities. We would like to show you the short film giving the general overview of our field trip and present first conclusions of the expedition.



American University of Central Asia
7/6 Aaly Tokombaev Street
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic 720060

Tel.: +996 (312) 915000 + Еxt.
Fax: +996 (312) 915 028