Negotiating Modernity: Places and Objects in the Context of Kyrgyzstan

Negotiating Modernity: Places and Objects in the Context of Kyrgyzstan

June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012

Jennifer WebsterUniversity of Washington, USA, Visiting Research Fellow at CASI, AUCA

Maureen PritchardSchool of Oriental and African Studies, London, Visiting Research Fellow at the Tian Shan Policy Center (TSPC), AUCA

A joint research presentation of two visiting fellows was held.

Maureen Pritchard presented on a case study within a larger topic that focuses on suffering in and catharsis through music. This particular case study will focus on issues of identity, ancestry, and spirituality from both the perspective of traditionalism and innovation.

Jennifer Webster discussed her dissertation chapter on Arslonbob Ata and the changing perceptions of pilgrimage in southern Kyrgyzstan from the 1960s to the present day. Her topic traces the different ways that people have understood the sacred sites in Arslonbob through legends, changing political views, and negotiations with modernity. The presentation was followed be questions and comments from the listeners.

Bio of presenters:

Jennifer Webster is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington. She joins CASI from April to August 2012 to conduct dissertation research pertaining to pilgrimage and shrines in Kyrgyzstan. Her work seeks to understand the evolution of several major shrine locations from the time of the Soviet period to the present day through an analysis of both oral and written sources. Jennifer holds a master’s degree in International Studies—Comparative Religion from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Reed College. She has designed and taught several courses on the Silk Road, the early modern Middle East, and pilgrimage and shrines in the Islamic world.

Maureen Pritchard is Visiting Research Fellow at the Tian Shan Policy Center, American University of Central Asia. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Her dissertation project focuses on processes of inter-illumination in the arts in Kyrgyzstan. Her work focuses on individuals whose creative practices spans more than one medium and genre, and includes both folk and fine art. Maureen holds an M.A. in ethnomusicology from The Ohio State University. Maureen spent several months in Talas for as part of her research for a Master's thesis focused on funeral and lamenting practices. A segment of this research was published as an article entitled "Creativity and Sorrow in Kyrgyzstan" in the Indiana Journal of Folklife Research. Prior to graduate studies, Maureen served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Naryn Region.

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