Category Archives: Photo Essay

The Afterlives of Yurt Wall-hangings: Tus Kiiz by Guldana Salimjan, University of British Columbia

Gendering a Tourist Economy

Ölgii, the capital city of Bayan-Ölgii Province, is a small city that one can stroll all over in just an afternoon. Since falconry’s title of cultural heritage was affirmed by UNESCO, the concept of heritage has been widely accepted by locals. Just as falconry became a vital connection to the Kazakh historical past, natural environment, and traditional culture across Eurasia, handicrafts have also allowed Kazakhs to maintain their identity and traditional knowledge as an ethnic minority in Mongolia, and have become an attribute of “authentic” Kazakhness. While Kazakh men take up the iconic image and profit from falconry as part of ethnic tourism and international spectacle, women have quietly become the backbone of a local informal economy, clearly represented by traditional handicraft production. Continue reading The Afterlives of Yurt Wall-hangings: Tus Kiiz by Guldana Salimjan, University of British Columbia

Check out new blogs on Central Asia: Exploring ‘Scapes’ of Sight and Sound

As Central Eurasian researchers and scholars, we sometimes find ourselves working in a field over-determined by tired and limited tropes, particularly when news about the region makes its way to the mainstream press.[1] As curator and online zine editor Ciarán Miqeladze wryly puts it, “Uzbekistan is no different in this matter. The Central Asian country is constantly treated to the same narrative of a post-Soviet, despot-controlled country, replete with bridenappings, magical men on horses, and Instagram-able mountain ranges housing radical Islamic terrorists.” However, at the avant garde culture site Post Pravda, where Ciaran and his colleagues are working to amplify local and alternative voices from the Caucasus to Eastern Europe and beyond, the goal is to provide different viewpoints and narratives.  Continue reading Check out new blogs on Central Asia: Exploring ‘Scapes’ of Sight and Sound

Pedagogy Under Construction: Lessons on Teaching as Fieldwork at Kazakhstan’s Expo, by Meghanne Barker (University of Chicago)

For our first class, I asked my students to describe the space where they slept, in as much detail as possible. I, like the American student ambassadors to the Kazakhstan World Expo, had only arrived in Astana a week before. While I had been given a flat in the “new center” of Astana, on the Left Bank, they were dispersed in different buildings in the Expo Village. Their housing, like so much of the Expo, had been finished just days before their arrival. They described their rooms as sparse, unfinished, and lacking furniture. Continue reading Pedagogy Under Construction: Lessons on Teaching as Fieldwork at Kazakhstan’s Expo, by Meghanne Barker (University of Chicago)

Snapshots from the 2015 CESS conference

An informal look at the Central Eurasian Studies Society Annual Conference, held  at George Washington University in Washington, DC, 15-18 October 2015.  Views include panels, museum exhibit, awards ceremony, business meetings, and just hanging out.  The gorgeous rugs, clothing, and paintings are from GWU’s Textile Museum exhibit, “Old Patterns, New Order: Socialist Realism in Central Asia”, which continues until May 29, 2016.
Continue reading Snapshots from the 2015 CESS conference