Monthly Archives: January 2015

The political lives of infrastructure

This project explores the simultaneous attraction and contention surrounding new road and border infrastructures in southern Kyrgyzstan. In the Isfara valley, where I have been conducting research since 2004, new so-called ‘independent roads’ promise connectivity, modernity and territorial integrity in a region where the juridical and geographical limits of the Kyrgyzstani and Tajikistani nation-states are contested.
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Ethnographies of the State in Central Asia

Ethnographies of the state_cover-

Ethnographies of the State in Central Asia: Performing Politics

(co-edited with Johan Rasanayagam and Judith Beyer). Indiana University Press, 2014.

This volume brings ethnographic research in Central Asia into long-overdue conversation with recent political anthropological debate on the state. By attending ethnographically to the various ways in which the state in Central Asia is practically enacted, morally navigated, remembered, invok Continue reading

Current doctoral students

Current PhD supervision (University of Manchester)

For doctoral projects supervised to completion please see here

Therese (Tree) Kelly (2015, in progress): Anarchist activism in Bristol (second supervisor, with Katie Smith)

Phaedra Douzina-Bakalaki (2013, in progress): Situating the discourses and practices of Islamic charity in contemporary Greece (second supervisor, with Michelle Obeid)

Rachel Smith (2011, in progress): The ‘Good House’: the domestic moral economy of migration and development in Vanuatu (second supervisor, with Karen Sykes)



Movement, Power and Place in Central Asia and Beyond

MovementMovement, Power and Place in Central Asia and Beyond: Contested Trajectories

Special Double Issue of Central Asian Survey (Vol. 30, issues 3-4, 2011), subsequently published as a volume in Routledge’s Third Worlds series (2012).

Drawing together established scholars and a new generation of historians, geographers and anthropologists, this volume brings empirical specificity and theoretical depth to debates about the politics of place-making in this diverse region, making an important contribution to Central Asian studies and a distinctive regional comparison to the ‘spatial turn’ in social analysis.
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International collaborations

Membership of doctoral committees outside Manchester

Takhmina Shokirova (2013, in progress, Wilfrid Laurier University), Gender Relations among Tajik Migrants in Russia (external committee member)

Aminat Chokobaeva (2011, in progress, Australian National University), The 1916 ‘Great Revolt’, History and Memory in Kyrgyzstan (external committee member)

Jake Fleming (2012, in progress, University of Wisconsin-Madison), Building Plant Bodies: People, Trees, and Grafting in the Walnut-Fruit Forests of Kyrgyzstan (external committee member)

Feeling for the State

Within political anthropology, considerations of the technologies of state governance have tended to be rather divorced from discussions of feeling and sentiment. I am interested in the affective force of the state, both in the mundane interstices of ‘ordinary life’ (the desire, for instance, to have a well-ordered, infrastructurally predictable, territorially integral state), and at times of dramatic political upheaval, as occurred in Kyrgyzstan in March 2005 and April 2010, when the country’s first and second presidents were unseated in popular uprisings. Continue reading

Surviving the Transition

Surviving the transition_cover-Surviving the Transition? Case Studies of Schools and Schooling in the Kyrgyz Republic Since Independence

(co-authored with Alan De Young and Galina Valyayeva). Information Age Publishers Series on International Perspectives on Educational Policy, Research and Practice, 2006.

Drawing on ethnographic and case study methods, this book explores the everyday navigation of radical economic and political transformation within four school communities in rural Kyrgyzstan. The case study that I contribute, from Ak-Tatyr village of Batken district, Continue reading

Completed PhD supervision

Completed PhD supervision

Deana Jovanović (2016 completion, University of Manchester), Ambivalence and the Work of Hope: Anticipating Futures in a Serbian Industrial Town (Second supervisor, with Stef Jansen)

Medina Aitieva (2015 completion, University of Manchester), Reconstituting Transnational Families: An Ethnography of Family Practices Between Kyrgyzstan and Russia (First supervisor, with Nick Thoburn)

Ivan Rajkovic (2015 completion, University of Manchester), Struggles for moral ground: problems with work and legitimacy in a Serbian industrial town (Second supervisor, with Stef Jansen)

Hannah Wadle (2014 completion, University of Manchester), Good Tourismship in Transformation. Moral Stories from the Masurian Lake District in Poland (First supervisor, with Rupert Cox)

Till Mostowlansky (2013 completion, University of Berne), Azan on the Moon: Entangling Modernities along Tajikistan’s Pamir Highway (Co-supervisor, with Karénina Kollmar-Paulenz)

Past and on-going collaborative projects

Moral markets and Islamic finance in Kyrgyzstan (2013-)

I currently serve as International Mentor to Aisalkyn Botoeva (Brown University) for a research fellowship awarded by the Central Asia and Afghanistan Research Fund of Aga Khan Development Network. Botoeva’s research explores the cultural and political means through which the “run-by-Muslims” market niche is being created and legitimated. Continue reading