Iniziative ed Eventi - Centro Studi su Asia Centrale, Tibet e Iran

CSACTI WEBINAR SERIES (7 October- 16 December 2021)

Pubblicato il 28/09/2021

7 October 2021

Tommaso Trevisani (University of Naples L’Orientale)

Pastoral Proletarians: how rural Oralmans turn into steel workers in Kazakhstan

The Oralmans, Kazakh rural migrants from Mongolia, have filled the demographic void left by out-migrating Russians in the deindustrializing cities of the Kazakh steppe belt. Officially privileged by a governmental repatriation program and in the nation-building rhetoric of the government, Oralmans struggle to integrate in Russianized Soviet-built cities, where they often end up taking the lowest jobs in factories. By discussing ethnographic evidence of a rural person turning into a precarious steel worker and on his struggle to get by in an economically challenging and culturally hostile urban environment, the paper explores how Oralmans’ work experience transforms knowledge, values and social relations in a formerly pastoral community transplanted to a mono-industrial town.


21 October 2021

Thomas Loy (Czech Academy of Sciences)

What is Ethnography and how to do it properly? Introducing a new science in early Soviet Tajikistan

After the founding of the ASSR Tajikistan, the need for knowledge about the culture, language and history of the people living on its territory was great. But how should this information be collected, processed and transmitted? This lecture introduces some considerations and first attempts in this context and follows the protagonists of this early (Soviet) Tajik knowledge production.


4 November 2021

Andreas Mandler (Centre for Development Research/University of Bonn &

Free University of Bozen-Bolzano)

Writing to authorities: Petition letters to manoeuvre rural transformation in Tajikistan

Some 30 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and national independence, the agricultural sector in Tajikistan appears still in transition from collective to individualised production. Establishing individual farms and generating income from agricultural businesses is a major challenge due to local conflicts and administrative ambiguities. Petition letter writing is a pre-Soviet practice to demand redress and trigger decision-making. This paper looks at petition letter writing as a way to claim and influence local decision making in mountainous communities in northern Tajikistan. The paper discusses how farmers use petition letters to secure agricultural livelihoods in an uncertain governmental and administrative environment.


18 November 2021

Jesko Schmoller (Humboldt University Berlin)

Cohesion through shared beliefs: Iman in the Naqshbandiyya Mujaddidiyya between Russia and Kazakhstan

The branch of the Naqshbandi Mujaddidi brotherhood headed by Qurban Ali hazrat from Taraz in Kazakhstan extends to various neighbouring countries and even beyond the region. Certain forms of polite behaviour and social conduct (adab) move from Kazakhstan to the Russian Urals, where they impact the religious practices and moral outlook of Sufi murids from the same brotherhood. In this presentation, however, our focus lies on the metaphysical components (iman) of a belief system regarded by some scholars as “neo-Sufism”.


2 December 2021

Jeanine Dagyeli (University of Vienna & Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Ethnography in the archive: Central Asian material culture between heritage politics, knowledge transformation and collective forgetting

The Central Asian labour sphere has experienced fundamental ruptures between the late 19th century and today. In the wake of independence, allegedly autochthonous craftsmanship, craft practices and products were rediscovered and valued as tokens of the "national" pre-colonial history. Yet, what is remembered and what is (collectively) forgotten is an active, often political process. In this webinar, I want to look at archival sources from the perspective of a historical anthropology of labour, explore what these sources tell us about past and present labour, and why collective memory remembers some types of past work but not others.


16 December 2021

Weronika Zmiejewski (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

The Traces of the Unheard: Central Asia in WWII Recordings at the Viennese Phonogrammarchiv

The history of the World War II haunted the living memories of millions of Central Asian Soviet citizens. It became a myth of triumph and unification for the postwar USSR, denying individual memories of the alleged perpetrators of the war. The narratives of those, who did not fit into the narration of triumph, such as the prisoners of war and Nazi collaborators, had been denounced or silenced and thus only partially persisted in families’ commemoration practices. For decades sound recordings of Central Asian Red Army soldiers, who appear to have turned into members of SS and Wehrmacht had been stored and remained almost untouched in the Viennese Phonogrammrchive. What do they transmit and tell about the lives of Central Asian Nazi collaborators? And what can we learn from these archival recordings about Central Asia during the course of World War II?


Everyone is welcome. Registration is mandatory.

All sessions will be held on Zoom and will start on 5 p.m. (CET).

Abstracts, link and password to the event will be sent upon registration a few days before the beginning of the first session.

Please register by sending your name, email contact and affiliation to this email: