In 2008 I began work on a postdoctoral research project entitled Black Work, Green Money: Navigating the Bounds of Legal Labour in a Moscow Migrant Community, funded by an RCUK Research Fellowship, a small grant from the Nuffield Foundation and a Gibbs Travelling Fellowship from Newnham College, Cambridge. This project is an ethnographic exploration of the Russian migration regime as it is encountered, negotiated and co-produced by state officials, migration brokers and migrant workers from southern Kyrgyzstan. Continue reading
This project explores the everyday materialisation of new international borders between Kyrgyzstan and its two Ferghana valley neighbours, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. In a context where the territorial and institutional coordinates of state sovereignty are contested, how and when does a border come to materialise in daily life? How do herders, traders, border guards, taxi drivers and others negotiate what and where a border is, and what kinds of mobilities it should filter or limit? How do borders work and get worked when the border is encountered as a ‘chessboard’ rather than a line? I began work for this project for my doctoral dissertation, conducting research in the Isfara valley along the borders of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and the Sokh valley on two sides of the Kyrgyzstan/Uzbekistan boundary in 2004-5. Continue reading
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.
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
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