American University of Central Asia - AUCA - University Directory

Elena Kim, PhD

Department Chair / Professor (sabbatical leave)

Psychology Department

Division of Social Sciences


Email: [javascript protected email address]

Phone: +996 (312) 915000 ext. 432

Room: 310

  • Senior Thesis
  • Gender, women and politics of development in Centrak Asia
  • Gender, ethics and politics of violence:theories and practice
  • Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
  • Research Methods: Qualitative

2014               PhD in Development Studies, Department of Philosophy, University of Bonn, Germany, Diploma with honors


2003               MA in Gender Studies, Department of Gender Studies, Central European University, Hungary, Diploma with honors


2002               BA in Psychology, Department of Psychology, American University of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Diploma with honors

2020 – present                Principal investigator  “Eradicating campus-based violence in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan: Inclusive research, policy and action”, funding provided by the University of California Global Health Institute, The Women’s Health, Gender, and Empowerment Center of Expertise

2019 (August              Visiting Scholar Fellowship, School of Global Studies, University of Indiana, Bloomington, USA


2014-2015                  Post-doctoral fellowship by Volkswagen-funded project “Translocal goods”, Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany                                   

2010-2013                  Doctoral fellowship by German Academic Exchange Service to pursue program at the Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, Germany

2005-2012                  Returning Scholar fellowship by Academic Fellowship Program at Open Society Institute, Budapest, Hungary

2002-2003                  Full scholarship by Open Society Institute to pursue MA program at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

2000-2001                  Full scholarship by the United States State Department’s Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (ACCELS/ACTR) to participate in a one-year academic                                               exchange program at the State University of New York, NY, USA

2018- present              Co-Director, Center for Critical Gender Studies, American University of Central Asia


2017-present               Academic Coordinator

                                    Executive Masters in Development Policies and Practice, Graduate Institute of Geneva and American University of Central Asia



2017 - 2019                Principal Investigator

                                    “Combatting culturally endorsed gender-based violence in Kyrgyzstan through higher education”, Development Marketplace Award, the World Bank.


2017-2018                  Co-investigator

                                   Grant awarded to implement project “The Impact of Community Empowerment on access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and services                                              (including HIV) in line with the Sex Worker Implementation tool (SWIT) for female, male and transgender sex workers” funded by Aidfonds & SOAIDS, Netherlands.


2017                            National Analyst

                                    Gender in Society Perception Study, Component on Gender and Migration. Supervised data collection and analysis and produced research report on the national                                      study. Research was funded by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.


2016                            Quality Control Supervisor

                                    Gender in Society Perception Study, Component on Violence against Women and Girls (Bride kidnapping and child marriage practices) in Kyrgyzstan. Supervised                                      data collection and analysis and produced research report on the national study. Research was funded by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.


2015- 2016                 Principal Investigator

                                   Grant awarded to conduct research project “Women empowerment in rural Kyrgyzstan: Challenges and Opportunities” within the program Research beyond the                                         Ivory Tower: Policy and Communications Training for University Teams funded by the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs.


2014                            Principal co-investigator

                                    Grant awarded to conduct collaborative research project in “Gender and Development” at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway.


2013-2014                  Grant awarded to participate in the “Enduring Question of Hate in Human Civilization” program, Hannah Arendt Center, University of Bard, New York, USA.


2011-2012                  Researcher

                                    Grant awarded by the German Society for International Cooperation

                                    German Academic Exchange Service

                                    Department of Development-Related Research

                                    Research entitled “International development and cooperation in Central Asia”.


2011-2012                  Researcher

                                   Grant awarded by the Fiat Panis Foundation (Germany)

                                   Research entitled “Social organization of gender”.


2007-2010                  Co-investigator

                                   Grant awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, International Opportunities Fund Program,

                                   Research entitled “Women's non-governmental organizations in Kyrgyzstan, international funding, and the social organization of gender”.



  • Gender
  • Development, Institutional Ethnography
  • Violence

Refereed journal articles

Kim, E. (in press). The global ruling of local crisis intervention. An institutional ethnography of anti-violence work in Kyrgyzstan. Violence against Women.

Kim, E. & Karioris, F. (2020). Bound to be grooms: The imbrication of economy, ecology, and bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan. Gender, Place, and Society. Advance online publication.

Kim, E. (2020). Re-feminizing the post-soviet women: Identity, politics and virginity ceremonies in contemporary Kyrgyzstan. Journal of Gender Studies, 29(6), 706-716. DOI: 10.1080/09589236.2020.1758043

Kim, E., & Standal, K. (2019). Empowered by electricity? The political economy of gender and energy in rural Naryn. Gender, Technology and Development. DOI: 10.1080/09718524.2019.1596558

Kim, E., Myrzabekova, M., Molchanova, E., & Yarova, O. (2018). The making of empowered women: Exploring gender and development practice in Kyrgyzstan. Central Asian Survey, 37(2), 228-246. 

Campbell, M., & Kim, E. (2018). The (missing) subjects of research on gender and global governance: Toward inquiry into the ruling relations of development. Business Ethics: A European Review. DOI:10.1111/beer.12189

Werner, C., Edling, C., Kim, E., Sartbay, F., Kleinbach, R., Becker, C., Teachout, W. (2018). Bride kidnapping in post-Soviet Eurasia: A roundtable discussion. Central Asian Survey.  DOI:10.1080/02634937.2018.1511519

Molchanova, E., Horne, S., Kim, E., & Yarova, O. (2017). Hybridized indigenous healing in the Kyrgyz Republic: Helping survivors of violence. Women & Therapy (41), 1-2, 69-82, DOI: 10.1080/02703149.2017.1324187

Kim, E. (2014). Conceptual practice of “rural wellbeing” in Uzbekistan: Contradictions and implications for gender equality. Rural Society, 23(3), 242–255.

Campbell, M., & Kim, E. (2011). Working across Boundaries: Exploring the Relations of Researching Gender and Development. Women & Therapy, 34(3), 261-278.

Kim, E. (2004). Women’s involvement in religious fundamentalism: A case study of Hizb Ut-Tahrir, Kyrgyzstan. Women’s Studies Review, 9, 39-59. Galway: National University of Ireland.

Book chapters

Kim, E. (2019). Child marriage in Kyrgyzstan: Exploring institutional ambivalences in constructing the “victim”. In D. Bühler-Niederberger and L. Alberth (Eds.), Victim, Perpetrator, or What Else?: Generational and Gender Perspectives on Children, Youth, and Violence (Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, Vol. 25), pp. 171-189. Bingley, West Yorkshire: Emerald Publishing Limited.

Kim, E., & Molchanova, E. (2019). Resurgence of ethnic sports in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan: Still hunting for women. In G. Molnar, S. Amin, Y. Kanemasu (Eds.), Women, Sport and Exercise in the Asia-Pacific region: Domination-resistance-accommodation, pp. 49-61. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Kim, E. (2018). Sustainability of irrigation in Uzbekistan: Implications for women farmers. In P. T. Chandrasekaran (Ed.), Water and sustainability. London, New England: IntechOpen.

Kim, E. (2018). Explicating translocal organization of everyday life: Stories from rural Uzbekistan. In M. Stephan-Emmrich and Ph. Schröder (Eds.), Mobilities, Boundaries, and Travelling Ideas: Rethinking Translocality Beyond Central Asia and the Caucasus. OpenBookPublishers.

Kim, E., Hornidge, A-K., & Schetter, C. (in press). Uzbekistani agrarian policy reforms and their gendered effects on women's water-management practices. In L. Bisaillon (Ed.), Impact of public policy on everyday life: The policy stories that people tell. The Netherlands: Springer.

Molchanova, E., Kim, E., Galako, T. (2016). Psychiatry in Kyrgyz Republic: Between the Soviet past and vague future. In I. Krasnov (Ed.), Handbook of Psychiatry in Russia and Central Asia. London: Routledge.

Kim, E., & Hornidge, A-K. (2015). IWRM in Uzbekistan: A global concept with local consequences. In Integrated water resources management: Concept, research and implementation. The Netherlands: Springer.

Kim, E. (2015). Exploring crisis intervention as practice: An institutional ethnography. In E. Molchanova & N. Agazade (Eds.), Mental health services in emergencies and crises: Guidelines for emergency responders. Bishkek: American University of Central Asia.

Kim, E., & Campbell, M. (2013). Violence against women and peace building: Tracking ruling relations in women’s development NGO in Kyrgyzstan. In A. Choudry and D. Kapoor (Eds.) NGO-ization: Complicity, contradictions and prospects, pp. 185-206. London: Zed Books.

Molchanova, E., Kosterina, E., Kim, E., Horne, S. G., Latipova, K., & Koga, M. (2013). Counseling in the Kyrgyz Republic. In T. H. Hohenshil, N. E. Amundson & S. G. Niles (Eds.), Counseling around the world: An international handbook, pp. 107-116 . Washington, DC:  American Counseling Association.

Campbell, M., & Kim, E. (2013). Working across boundaries: Exploring the relations of researching gender and development. In K. L. Norsworthy and E. Kaschak (Eds.), Global border crossings: Feminist activists and peace workers collaborating across cultures, pp. 51-68. New York: Routledge.

Molchanova, E., Kim, E., Horne, S., Aitpaeva, G., Alymkulov, J., Ten, V., & Pohilko, D. (2009). Status of Counseling in Kyrgyzstan. In L. H. Gerstein, P. P. Heppner, S. Ægisdóttir, S. M. A. Leung, & K. L. Norsworthy (Eds.),  International handbook of cross-cultural counseling, pp. 265-281. London: Sage Publications.

Kim, E. (2011). Qualitative methodology and the psychology of participation in religious fundamentalism. In Psychology laboratory review, pp. 58-69. Bishkek: American University of Central Asia.


Kim, E. A. (2014). International development and research in Central Asia: Exploring the knowledge-based social organisation of gender. Doctoral dissertation, University of Bonn, 2014). Retrieved from University of Bonn database.

Kim, E. A. (2003). Women’s involvement in religious fundamentalism: A case study of Hizb Ut-Tahrir Kyrgyzstan. Unpublished master’s thesis, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary.

Research reports

Kim, E. (2017). Women and Labor Migration in Kyrgyzstan. UN Women Gender in Society Perception Study. Bishkek: UN Women.

Kim, E. (2016). Violence against Women and Girls. UN Women Gender in Society Perception Study. Bishkek: UN Women.

Kim, E. & Ukueva, N. (2016). Gender, poverty and environment in rural Kyrgyzstan: Issues of natural resource management, biodiversity and environmental degradation. Bishkek: UNDP/UNEP/PEI.

Kim, E. (2014). Case-based analysis of existing economic and environmental practices of rural women in Suusamyr ayil okmotu, Kyrgyz Republic. UNDP-UNEP Poverty and Environment Initiative. Bishkek: UDNP.

Ukueva, N. & Kim, E. (2014). Desk review of research on gender and environment. UNDP-UNEP Poverty and Environment Initiative. Bishkek: UDNP.


  • Central Eurasian Studies Society
  • Association for the Study of Nationalities
  • Society for the Study of Social Problems

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

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